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Kanye West has made headlines over the years for countless reasons. In 2021, amidst his divorce from Kim Kardashian West, the Grammy-winning rapper announced that he was legally changing his name to Ye.

Kanye West attends the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
Kanye West | Rich Fury/VF20/Getty Images for Vanity Fair

Kanye West filed to change his name to ‘Ye’

In August 2021, West filed a petition with the Los Angeles Superior Court to change his name. His legal name would go from Kanye Omari West to simply “Ye,” with no middle or last name.

Over the years, West has been known to go by “Ye” as a nickname. He even released an album titled ye in 2018. The album, which was recorded where he lived in Wyoming, was a snapshot of his personal life at the time. The album cover even read, “I hate being bi-polar; it’s awesome.”

When he filed the petition to change his name, West cited “personal reasons” as the driving force behind the move.

Kanye West is seen at ‘DONDA by Kanye West’ listening event at Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Kanye West | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Universal Music Group

Deadline reported in October 2021 that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michelle Williams Court approved West’s request to have his name legally changed.

It’s not yet known how West’s new name will work with legal and other requirements for a last name.

West isn’t the only artist in history to change his name. Prince famously changed his name to a symbol and was referred to as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.


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‘Ye’ comes from the Bible

West explained in an interview with radio host Big Boy in 2018 what led him to the name. And surprisingly, he didn’t choose the name because it’s a shortened version of “Kanye” that he had been known by for years.

“I believe ‘ye’ is the most commonly used word in the Bible, and in the Bible it means ‘you.’ So I’m you, I’m us, it’s us,” he said. “It went from ‘Kanye,’ which means ‘the only one,’ to just ‘Ye’ – just being a reflection of our good, our bad, our confused, everything.”

The name Kanye originally comes from ethnic groups in West Africa. In Yoruba, it means “next in line to the chieftaincy”; in Igbo, it means “let’s give.”

Kim Kardashian West hasn’t changed her name

One person in West’s life who has been speculated to undergo a name change is his wife, Kim Kardashian West. She filed for divorce from the superstar rapper in early 2021, but things have remained amicable between the two throughout 2021. She appeared in a wedding dress at one of his infamous Donda shows in the summer, and referenced their relationship in her Saturday Night Live opening monologue.

Their divorce continues to move forward, with Kardashian West recently getting their California mansion in the negotiations. But she hasn’t dropped the “West” from her name, despite West no longer even being her husband’s last name.