I’m eating pre-cut pieces of pineapple and drinking coconut water while writing this to get in the right frame of mind. First things first—Drake, since puberty (and perhaps beyond) has, more or less, always looked the same—similar hair cut, similar beard length.
This increases the importance of the admittedly slight permutations of his hair exponentially. Decisionz require precisionz. Everything Drake does to his hair has to be calculated fully down to several decimal points. He knows how his locks look in totality at any given moment but also is brutally aware of its Platonic Ideal (which we’ll get to later). Each variation of Drake’s hair ripples across RoD (Rest of Drake) and vice versa. However, no one can confirm or deny the existence of body hair.
Drake is practically ordering us to talk about his hair. The Nothing Was the Same's double cover is, essentially, just two pictures of his hair. But it is also a message about his hair from his hair to his hair. It’s his hair looking at his hair—a message cutting through time. I like that Baby Drake is looking up at now-Drake, but now-Drake isn’t paying attention to Baby Drake. He’s looking right at Baby Drake’s hair. That’s the Alpha and the Omega. See that look in Baby Drake’s eyes? He knows he’s going to lose that hair and not going to get it back for at least 25 years.
He’s still talking about kids in high school and that time he embarrassingly screwed his knee up (which he’s successfully mythologized as some major ACL/MCL tear a la Derrick Rose) so it follows that there is probably some originary pain. The NWTS cover is clear throwback to Peacoat Drizzy, part of his career-long F**k You to everyone. Like his apocalyptically emotive music, Drake’s hair is an expression of his state of mind at any given time.
Let’s walk through some classic Drake looks.**
The N(ex)t Girl
The Ordered State of Drake. The original, natural, Drake cut. His entire career can be viewed through the recreation of the traumatic loss of these locks. Never since had Drizzy’s hair reached such heights. He’ll always be striving to get here again, but he knows that he’ll never get there because if he does he’ll start getting slept on. He can get there in spirit, if only for a moment, then it’s right back to work.
Perfect For: Memories. Drake’s gonna rock this look only in the past-tense. It’s a historical cut kept in conversation with the present when you’re texting baby pictures to strippers.
The Ski Jump
No one really talks about Comeback Season and Room For Improvement for a variety of good reasons. Heartbreak Drake doesn’t really rap with air in his lungs so he sounds exasperated in all his earnest songs. That’s fine—we’ve all been there. It’s more of a production thing than anything, and you realize how important 40 is. Haters love to imagine some world Drake is lame and a faker and what-is-he-even-without 40, but it’s misguided to try to isolate them. It also ignores the influence of peak-Wayne.
We’ve come to know Drake’s DGAF face well, most recently reappearing while debuting “Too Much” on Jimmy Fallon, but this is still an unfamiliar Drake. He actually had to be made fun of more in order to be more cool, if that makes sense. The NWTS cut seems to have something to say about “Replacement Girl” period Drake. The top-left raised in-cut looks perfect for a Tech Deck ollie or whatever the hell we all played with in middle school.
Perfect for: writing letters to Dan Savage, Trey Songz, <3<3<3 fall="" season="" and="" pumpkin="" spice="" lattes!!!!="" <3<3<3<="" p="">
Late Phase II (08-10) Drake dropped "Best I Ever Had" as a single in the summer of 2009. This is straight up-Drake, how most people who don’t like him choose to remember him—clean cut, uncontroversial, corny. Like most robots know to well, the most important thing about hair is the illusion of hair, so Drake’s got it pretty much on lock. This is sort of the time-honored slice—professional, utilitarian. Whenever Drake’s working hard and laser-focused, you’ll see variations on this theme (most recently, see the insane Grammy video). Totally flat cut line straight across, tiny dollops of black hair dotted about the cranium with Magritte-like precision. Sometimes the slight left temple slice makes an appearance, but that’s not a rule. Approaches, but never falls into, the Uncanny Valley. Another win for Drizzy.
Perfect for: Clowning around with other people’s kids, hanging out with OVO Ryan.
Simple wish fulfillment. In a perfect world, his unfettered id gets free reign, total control over everything. It would naturally lead Drake back to the womb. Maybe it’s supposed to be funny that his wig on the Anchorman 2 set is some kind of 70’s joke. Clearly the size and cut was Drake’s call—you don’t just not give him creative control over his (fake) cut. The reality is that this is probably Drake’s actual hair. Swangin’.
Perfect for: Drinking an unreleased flavor of Vitamin Water while watching Serena Williams practice tennis on the moon, wearing white.
Also known as the Awards-Show-Fro, Drake generally lets his hair ride out when he’s feeling untouchable. It’s reserved for the victory laps and the vacations. The only thing Drake loves more than titling all his albums increasingly passive-aggressive/existential variations of e-mail sign-offs is the 1990s. Those 90s fantasies on his mind truly have come true—he looks like Cory Matthews. This is the ultimate look—‘skin tan, hair long’—the “I’m On One” classic. The only thing missing is some glasses with colored lenses. This one is undoubtedly the work of 40 and, as such, is perfect.
Perfect for: Sleepovers, BBMing DJ Khaled links to articles on the harmful effects of Four Loko.
The John McClane
One gossip rag actually described some pictures of bearded Drake as follows: “not a chick, his actual beard.” The “beard” hyperlinks to an advertisement for some shitty clothing website. It should be obvious that Drake keeps his facial hair because Lil Wayne doesn’t have any and Rick Ross has too much and DJ Khaled keeps trying to FaceTime him. Drake’s beard is basically an extension of his hair. I think his hair grows at the same rate as his beard and when he cuts one the other automatically reduces itself to the new length. There is a directly proportional ration between DH (Drake Hair) and DB (Drake Beard).
Totally clean-shaven Drake is a thing of the past. That we know of currently, there are three degrees of DB. To be fair, though, its more or less like a grayscale—a steady, fixed gradient of darkness and thickness. 1. DBL (light) 2. DBM (Medium) 3. DBD (Dark).
Perfect for: 1. Working into conversation that you’re only one of two actors on Degrassi that exist in the show’s universe as both your character and your real self 2. Running out to buy more Styrofoam cups 3. Self-awareness
There's this one picture from the cover of XXL a couple of years back where Drake looks like the Sprite Robot that he actually was at one point. That or a wax figure. This isn’t a stand-alone look, I just wanted to put it in here because it’s so weird. His hair looks like a little helmet.
**What you are probably not surprised to hear is that google-ing 'Drake haircut' produces an inordinate amount of Drake Bell pictures, mostly of him with different hairstyles, and the occasional picture of Josh Peck.
Marc Yearsley loves hair in general. He's on Twitter — @marc_yearsley
[Editor's Note: So, it is the end of Drake Week. We've had The Kid Mero and @Seinfeld2000 talk about him, made a dude listen to him for the first time, thought about his clothes, his hair, his music videos, and his sheer Canadian-ness. The week culminated in Grand Theft Aubrey, Drew Millard's profile of him. But we haven't heard the case against Drake. For this, we turn to Barry Schwartz, a man living in Long Island who once told us, "If Drake is the voice of your generation, then everything terrible people say about your generation is true." Here is why one man thinks Drake is poison.]
Style Stage is an ongoing partnership between Noisey & Garnier Fructis celebrating music, hair, and style.