At this point, virtually everything Kanye West does is met with some level of media scrutiny. Ever since he came into the spotlight in the early 2000s, the rapper has been faced with both praise and criticism for most of his actions.
Be it a polarizing shoe release or a presidential run, Kanye has proven time and time again that he is a master of drumming up attention around his name.
The latest bit of news surrounding the star actually focuses on just that: his name. Reports are emerging that the Atlanta-born artist has, after months of hypotheticals, officially changed his name, which has predictably provoked divisive reactions among fans. Keep reading for a breakdown of everything we know.
Did Kanye West change his name? The rapper is now legally known as "Ye."
Per official court documents obtained by TMZ back in August 2021, it appeared that the billionaire artist was looking to legally change his name. He asked a Los Angeles court to grant him permission to make the switch from Kanye Omari West to simply "Ye."
In California, the only reason a court would deny a name change would be if the change was meant to help someone commit fraud. So there were seemingly no issues in making the change official. On Oct. 18, CNN reported that Kanye West is no more — Ye has entered the chat and is presumably here to stay.
In the documents previously shared by TMZ, Kanye wrote that the name change was for "personal reasons" and gave no further elaboration to the court. However, devout fans of the artist aren't shocked by the move, considering that Kanye has gone by just "Ye" on numerous occasions throughout his career.
Take "Ye," Kanye's eighth studio album, released in 2018, which bears the same name he is legally known as now.
Back in June of 2018 during an interview with Big Boy, Kanye opened up about what the name "Ye" means to him and gave some context into the biblical significance it holds in his mind.
"I believe 'Ye' is the most commonly used word in the Bible," he explained during the interview. "In the Bible, it means 'you.' So, I'm you, I'm us, it's us. It went from being Kanye which means 'the only one' to just 'ye,' just being a reflection of our good, our bad, our confused, everything! Now I'm just more of a reflection of who we are, this being."
On an early unreleased version of "Selah," a song off of his 2019 album "Jesus Is King," Kanye raps in part about how he feels about his name and the evolutions it has gone through over the years.
"Kanye gave up the West / Kanye to Yeezy / Maybe just Ye / F--k a slave name," he raps. From these lines alone, it can be inferred that the idea of changing his name is not a new one, and that he wants to get rid of his last name too, which he refers to as his "slave name."
On another 2019 unreleased track, explicitly dubbed "Slave Name," Kanye yet again references his desire to escape the West moniker. "Givin' up, I'm givin' up my slave name / Oh no no, I'm givin' up my slave name, " he begins, later bringing up his children.
"Saint, you don't really need a last name / North, you don't really need a last name / And Chicago, yo, and Chicago," Kanye concludes the track, alluding to his belief that none of his children need the last name West either.