It's the end of an era for the HOVA hyphen.
Jay Z (formerly Jay-Z, formally Shawn Carter) has reportedly dropped the punctuation mark from his stage name, though it's unclear exactly when he made the switch — or how hard he is laughing that the world cares so much about this minor edit to his moniker.
The news broke late Wednesday when Billboard magazine editor Joe Levy tweeted, "Breaking: Jay Z has dropped the hyphen from his name, according to his label. I am not kidding. (Wish I was.) Copy editors: take note."
Levy went on to report, via a series of tweets, that the rapper seems to have quietly made the switch "several" years ago. He uses as evidence the covers of Jay's album "The Bluprint 3," released in September 2009 and his memoir, "Decoded," published in November 2010, both of which boast the hyphen — noting that it disappeared sometime between those works and "Watch the Throne," his collaborative album with Kanye West released in August 2011, which credits him as "Jay (no hyphen) Z."
So the mark wasn't exactly put to rest "several" years ago, but more like two. In any case, Billboard has begun calling him "Jay Z" in its articles. (Worth noting: The iTunes store credits him as "JAY Z" on his recent album, "Magna Carta Holy Grail" -- does that mean all caps are next?)
Mr. Carter himself has yet to clarify the hyphen hoopla, but maybe it will be the subject of one of his texting conversations with President Obama?