Considered one of the greatest hip-hop artistes ever, Kanye West, now known as Ye, is an American rapper, producer, and fashion icon whose contributions to the respective industries have seen him in high regard as a creative genius.
Born in Atlanta on June 8, 1977, the Chicago-raised West would go on to have a rollercoaster of a career filled with highs and lows and more than its fair share of controversies. His achievements include being the joint-most winner of Grammy awards for a rapper—alongside Jay Z— with 24, one of the best-selling recording artistes of all time with 160 million units sold, and according to Forbes, the richest musician in the world with a current net worth of $2 billion.
Did you know that West once considered becoming a pornstar? That doesn’t sound all too shocking for a man of many talents and controversial views. In an interview with The Sun in 2007, he said, “That career choice popped into my head once or twice. Which guy doesn’t want that? Just sometimes in their life. This was my mentality before I was engaged to (former fiancé) Alexis Phifer.”
In this article, we will be exploring some of the nicknames that Ye has accumulated throughout his fruitful career and the stories behind them. So sit tight and keep reading on to learn more.
Table of Contents
Famous Kanye West Nicknames
Let’s take a look at the most popular nicknames for Kanye West:
West has had the “Ye” moniker for some time, which he also named an album of his in 2018. In a 2018 interview where he goes into the origin of the name, West remarked, “I believe ‘ye’ is the most regularly used word in the Bible, and in the Bible it means you, therefore it’s I’m you, I’m us, it’s us.” “It went from being Kanye, which means the only one, to just Ye being a reflection of our good, our bad, our confused, our everything.” In 2021, West officially filed to have his name changed to Ye, a rare example of a nickname becoming one’s real name.
A couple of explanations exist for West’s nickname “Yeezy.” One is that it is a shortening of “Kanyeezy,” a nickname that fellow rapper Jay-Z gave him in the intro to the song “Lucifer” on the 2003 album, The Black Album. Another is that it is derived from Jesus, which explains the “Yeezus” moniker, which West began using as a nickname to position himself as a “god” of rap, much like Jay-Z’s “Hov” nickname.
This comes from his 2016 album “The Life of Pablo.” West has explained that he named the album after 3 iconic men, Saint Paul from the Bible, Pablo Escobar, and Pablo Picasso. His words: “Saint Paul inspired and was the strongest influencer of Christianity. Pablo Escobar was the biggest mover of product, and Pablo Picasso was the biggest mover of art. And that mix between message, art, and product is The Life of Pablo.” West feels that his life draws parallels with these men and his fans certainly think so too hence the nickname, “Pablo.”
4. Malcolm West
“Malcolm West” is a nickname that West ascribed to himself. From the song “Gorgeous,” West raps, “Is Hip Hop just a euphemism for a new religion/The soul music for the slaves that the youth is missing/This is more than just my road to redemption/Malcolm West had the whole nation standing at attention.” For a man famous for his bombast, it is no surprise that he molds himself in the likeness of Malcolm X.
5. Louis Vuitton Don
West’s excellent taste in fashion is well known, which is reflected in his nickname “Louis Vuitton Don.” In the song Last Call, from his first album College Dropout (2004), West refers to himself as “Kan, the Louis Vuitton Don.” In Janet Jackson’s song “My Baby” (2004), which features him, he again refers to himself as “Kan, the Louis Vuitton Don.” A line of shoes by the same name was released by him in 2009.
6. Evel Kanyevel
In the music video for “Touch the Sky,” West assumes the persona of “Evel Kanyevel,” after the famous American stunt performer and daredevil, Evel Knievel. The video got West in deep trouble with Knievel, who described it as “the most worthless piece of crap I’ve ever seen in my life.” We’ll let you be the judge of that by providing a link to the video here.
7. Martin Louis the King
Following the release of his Louis Vuitton shoes on a Paris runway in 2009, Kanye West announced online that he wanted to be addressed as “Martin Louis the King.” His words: “Due to the transactions earlier this week I have some very grim news. I’ve been called a lot of names, mostly the’ Louis Vuitton Don’, and due to what has happened so severely, when the red shoes hit the runway, I was forced to change my name to ‘Martin Louis the King Jr.’ Address me as such.”
To which we say, yes, sir!
8. Swag King Cole
In the 2012 song “Theraflu,” which features DJ Khaled, West introduces himself as “Swag King Cole,” an evident play on Nat King Cole’s name in which the rapper goes on his typical bragging spree. By now, it should become clear that many of West’s nicknames are self-initiated.
9. LeBron of Rhyme
In the song “Devil in a New Dress,” West refers to himself as the “Lebron of Rhyme,” in which he rapped, “Hood phenomenon, the LeBron of rhyme. It’s hard to stay humble when you’re stuntin’ on a Jumbotron.” As one Reddit user would later observe, the two stars share a lot in common which you can read up here.
10. Black Zac Efron
In 2010, West was on “The Cleveland Show,” where his animated character boasts, “The school been high, I’m the black Zac Efron/ And when I meet a shorty, you know we going backwards/Pulling more tail than my man John Edwards.” It’s a nickname not many people have forgotten.
11. Omari / ‘Mari,
His middle name.
From the song “Drive Slow.”
13. Mr. West
For obvious reasons. You can hear it referenced in the song “Good Morning.”
14. Kanye to the
Also heard in his songs.
15. The Don
That brings our list to a close. Are there any other nicknames for Kanye West that we omitted? Tell us in the comments below.