Announcing the change on Twitter on Saturday, he wrote: “The being formally [sic] known as Kanye West. I am YE.”
West, 41, has been nicknamed Ye for some time and used the moniker as the title for his eighth album, which was released in June.
The change came ahead of his appearance on Saturday Night Live, where he was expected to launch his new album Yandhi. He replaced singer Ariana Grande on the show who cancelled for “emotional reasons”, the show’s creator said.
As well as being an abbreviation of his current professional name, West has previously said the word has religious significance for him.
“I believe ‘ye’ is the most commonly used word in the Bible, and in the Bible it means ‘you,’ ” West said earlier this year, discussing his album title with radio host Big Boy.”
“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.”
He is one of a number of famous rappers to change their name.
Sean Combs has been variously known as Puff Daddy, P. Diddy or Diddy, but this year announced his preference for the names Love and Brother Love. A former West collaborator, JAY-Z, has also made do with or without a hyphen and capitals.
In 1993, Prince changed his stage name to an unpronounceable symbol after a dispute with record label Warner Bros, during which time he was commonly referred to as the Artist Formerly Known as Prince.
To keep up to date with Kanye’s latest exploits, feel free to give him a follow @Kanyewest. Yandhi was due to drop yesterday but Kanye is keeping us waiting, it’s now anyone’s guess when this project will be released.