Is Kanye West Really Trying to Rename Rye?

Kanye West performs at the MoMA, 2011
Jason Persse | Flick

The eccentric music mogul is reportedly setting his sights on moving to the Sound Shore, and is offering up a chunk of his fortune if the city changes its name to ‘Ye.’

It feels like an early April Fools joke. It has to be an April Fools joke. Right? At this very moment, someone in the New York City offices of The Onion is kicking themselves for not thinking of this first.

The Rye Record, a bastion of local news for the small Sound Shore community, recently reported that Kanye West is looking at Rye properties, but in typical Yeezy fashion, he can’t do anything small.

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The 21-time Grammy winner is apparently looking to purchase three properties in Westchester County, including one of Forrest Ave. and another on Manursing Way, plus the site of the former Mrs. Green’s on Boston Post Road, with plans to transform the three locations into a home, a “music studio/creative think-tank,” and a church for his famed “Sunday service” performances.

Citing a source close to West who prefers to remain anonymous, West is looking to move east, disenchanted with the “fakeness” of Los Angeles. “People are so quick to judge him and he’s a really sensitive dude. He wants to live somewhere that people don’t care about material goods. Somewhere that’s not all about fancy cars and keeping up with the Joneses. And Rye is the low-key, down-to-earth place where he feels comfortable right now.”

As the artist goes through undoubtedly messy divorce proceedings from soon-to-be-ex-wife Kim Kardashian, “Kanye wants to move somewhere low-key where people will be receptive to the impact he can make. He has big, big plans for Ye and is highly motivated to make this happen. He’s also a Longford’s man,” they say.

Setting aside the perception of Rye as not an affluent city — how many of us have Kanye dollars, really? — this wouldn’t be an unreasonable place for a celebrity to put down roots. Between Martha Stewart, the Clintons and Trumps, and others, Westchester offers an idyllic getaway from city life for many of the rich and famous. Rye does, however, have one thing West would rather drop: its R.

Yes, this is where the story goes full “Kanye 2020” bonkers: After noticing the similarity between his nickname “Ye” and the spelling of the four-century-old city “Rye,” West is reportedly offering to dedicate 10% of his vast wealth — about $1 billion, as estimated by Forbes — to pay off the city’s municipal and school bond debts in full if the town changes its name to Ye.

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This can’t be real, can it?

The Rye Record website was still overloaded by high traffic less than a day after posting the news. Reddit and social media postings led to a flurry of sharing activity, but can this really, truly, be the world we live in? Westchester Magazine has confirmed that the Rye City Clerk’s office is not confident a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request would return any results. City of Rye Mayor Josh Cohn was much more forthcoming when we reached out for comment:

“Sad to report that negotiations with West have stalled, with the City Council split over the proper spelling of ‘Ye.’ (‘Yee?’) Reduced to an even number by pronoun-sensitive abstainers, the Council deadlock is expected to continue. West is reported as ‘patient, but not without limit.'”

Kanye West, so far, not responded to our request for comment. (Shocker.) We’ll update this story if and when more information becomes available, but right now, ye(s), it seems a little early to celebrate the new neighbor.

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