All photos courtesy interviewees
Drake, Drizzy, the 6 God, whatever the fuck you want to call him, has one of the strongest brands in hip-hop right now. So strong, in fact, a not insignificant number of people are branding their bodies with homages to him.
A few years ago, one woman even inked her forehead with Drake's name (in really tragic block letters)—an act that prompted the internet to collectively go "WTF?" and caused Drake himself to confront the LA tattoo artist behind it in person.
But, as a quick search of the hashtag #Draketattoo on Instagram will reveal, people aren't shying away from getting ink of Drake's face, lyrics, and even the logo for his record label, OVO.
VICE reached out to a bunch of them to get the stories behind their (apparent) lifelong commitments to Drake.
Richy, 20, Brighton, UK
Mike Bage, 29, Aycliffe, UK (tattoo artist)
VICE: How'd you guys decide on this tattoo and its location?
Mike: He always gets daft stuff, so I wasn't surprised, just keen to do it. He got a Miley Cyrus one before that. Richy's class.
Did you try to talk him out of it?
Mike: Nah. He was going to get it on his chest and then changed his mind to the back of his neck. Wise.
Aside from an appreciation for the mixtape, was there a deeper reason for this bold choice?
Richy: No. I just liked the artwork really, and I thought the back of the neck would look cool.
What do people say when they see it?
Richy: I get a lot of people stopping me for pictures of it, mainly drunk people in clubs. I've gotten into a few fights over people taking the liberty to just grab my hair and move it around, so they can take the picture, but if they ask nicely, I usually oblige.
You mentioned a photo of your neck ended up on an ad for a tattoo removal cream. That's kinda insulting, no?
Richy: I thought it was funny. I've never taken anything said about it personally. I've always laughed it off.
Taylor Semrow, 25, Detroit
VICE: Describe the tattoo for me.
Taylor: Cartoonish baby Drake who is crying.
How obsessed are you with Drake?
I would like to think that I'm one of Drake's biggest fans. I have so many Drake-themed things in my life: three sacred Drake candles, a few pins, air freshener, the tattoo obviously, and my favorite—a Drake jumpsuit. I'm such a huge fan just because I've always loved his music, he is such a babe, and I feel like I can relate to him so much, especially on his emotional levels.
Is there anything you don't like about him?
Other than the fact that we aren't dating, no. There is nothing that I don't like about Drake.
Heather Demele, 28, Tampa
VICE: What's the story here?
Heather: I got the "Hotline Bling" tattoo before anyone had really even heard the song, and the "No New Friends" a month or two before that. My best friend and I got the "No New Friends" tattoo in the palm we use to shake hands with because it's a sign that we don't really need new friends. We have our own circle. The "Hotline Bling" one because everyone loves when his or her hotline blings.
Would you get another Drake-themed tattoo?
Of course, "Summer Sixteen" is coming up!
Antonio, 27, Milan
VICE: This woman was ridiculed for getting the word "Drake" tattooed across her forehead—and you got a tattoo of her?
Antonio: First of all, I made this tattoo on myself. The reason is that everyone in my studio is a huge fan of Drake and also because of the crazy image of that girl being viral on the internet! I chose that design because it fits my trash style of tattooing and because it's funny!
Cortana Blue, 24, Toronto
VICE: Why this particular tattoo?
Cortana: I wanted a Drizzy tattoo for the LONGEST time. I didn't want the OVO symbol, and I wanted to get something that people who were TRUE Drake fans would understand. Not just typical lyrics, not something cliche. You look at this tattoo and go, "Yep, that girl is for real."
How big of a Drake fan would you say you are?
I'm a huge Drake fan. I just spent $2,500 on the 6 God Meet and Greet in Buffalo, AND I scored floor seats for Toronto (best part? I'm going alone, ha). I'm well known on social media as the "6 Goddess." Drake is Toronto. I feel like I live and breathe Toronto. It's an amazing feeling to be so connected with an artist who musically connects with the city on such an intense level.
Are you getting another Drake tattoo?
I actually have one in the works—"6 goddess" under my other boob.
Marisa Quin, 23, Baltimore
VICE: What meaning does the 6ix have to you, since you're not from Toronto?
Marisa: It was also the album art for "Summer Sixteen." I thought it would be this intricate ode to his music and the city Views is about, without necessarily knowing it was tied to him if you don't know much about him.
So wait, what happened with Drake on Instagram?
Drake was one of the first one hundred people to like. It kind of blew up after that.
Did you lose your shit?
It was insane. But it's also social media, It would have been so much more insane if he had like given me free tickets or something.
Were you kinda pissed he didn't?
I mean, there's still time right! No, it's fine. I didn't get the tattoo for the possibility of his attention. I got it because I love his music and how I connect with his lyrics.
Chase, 30, Tampa (who answered all questions in the form of Drake lyrics)
VICE: How'd you settle on this tattoo?
Chase: I don't really give a fuck, and my excuse is that I'm young.
What kinds of reactions do you get?
Jealousy is just love and hate at the same time.
Nah, started from the bottom now I'm here.
And here are a few more tats of the Sad King for you:
Interviews have been condensed for style and clarity.
Follow Manisha Krishnan on Twitter.