Kanye West appears to have shortened his stage name to the simple ‘Ye’, ahead of the release of his new album.

Way back in 1993, Prince ignited a storm of controversy by changing his stage name to an unpronounceable symbol. Done as an act of rebellion towards Warner Bros., from 1993 until 2000 Prince was known only as ‘The Artist Formerly Known as Prince’, and generated a pretty hefty amount of controversy and publicity in the meantime.

Now, 25 years later, one of the biggest names in the world of music has ostensibly done the same thing, switching his well-worn moniker for something a little bit different.

Earlier this month, Kanye West shocked everybody by announcing that he planned to release a new album at the end of the month. Supposedly titled Yandhi, the record bears a titular and aesthetic resemblance to West’s 2013 record, Yeezus.

While Kanye West didn’t really drop any more hints about what the record was set to contain, it was announced that the record would be dropping during his appearance on Saturday Night Live on September 29th.

However, it appears that the record will be accompanied by some more huge news as well, with the rapper announcing a change to his stage name from here on.

Taking to Twitter earlier today, Kanye West released a simple Tweet referring to himself as, “The being formally known as Kanye West. I am YE.”

While there’s no reason that has been given for his decision to change his name, fans are heavily speculating that this new moniker is related to the release of his new record.

However, it is worth noting that we should be taking Ye’s Twitter announcements with a grain of salt. While he hinted recently that a follow-up to 2011’s Watch The Throne is on the way, he also revealed that he had plans to teach art courses at a Chicago college. Sadly, this plan was soon shot down by officials of the institution.

“We’re flattered that Mr. West would have an interest in teaching emerging artists and designers at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago,” explained Bree Witt, the school’s public relations director.

“However, Mr. West is not currently teaching at SAIC, and at this time, there are no plans for him to do so.”

So while it remains to be seen if this new name change is indeed a permanent thing, let’s wait and see if Yandhi is in fact such a banger that we all become inspired to change our names.

Check out Kanye West’s ‘Yikes’:

YouTube VideoPlay

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine