Kanye West has been called a lot of things: controversial, “years ahead of his time,” creative genius, and, famously, a “jackass” by former president Barack Obama. But if West’s wishes are granted by a judge, we’ll soon be calling him Ye. According to the Associated Press, West has filed a petition with the Los Angeles Superior Court, seeking to change his legal name from Kanye Omari West to Ye; he wants to drop his middle and last name in favor of his preferred monosyllabic nickname.
West reportedly cited “personal reasons” for changing his name, though the documents did not elaborate on his reasoning, and his attorney did not respond to a request for comment from the AP. Still, this shouldn’t come as a total surprise—in 2019, West openly mused about changing his government name to Christian Genius Billionaire Kanye West for a year, so “y’all understand exactly what it is,” an apparent response to not being listed as a billionaire by Forbes.
Meanwhile, West has spoken about how he identifies with the name Ye, and why he chose it as the name of his eighth studio album. “I believe ‘ye’ is the most commonly used word in the Bible, and in the Bible it means ‘you,’” he told Big Boy in 2018. “So I’m you, I’m us, it’s us. 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 album is more of a reflection of who we are.” That year, he also tweeted about calling himself Ye, writing “the being formally known as Kanye West I am YE.”
In the state of California, those petitioning the courts to change their name must file their documents, receive a stamped copy of those files from the clerk, and publish a public declaration of intent to change a name via a listing in a newspaper for at least four weeks. A hearing may be scheduled with a judge; if the change is approved, the judge will issue an approval decree, and the petitioner can use the decree to obtain a new birth certificate, passport, social security card, and all other necessary identifying documents.