Here’s the Story of How Drake Chose an Ironic Painting by Formerly Homeless British Artist Richie Culver for His New Album’s Merch
On the heels of his latest album, Honestly, Nevermind (2022), the Canadian hip-hop star Drake has released a new merchandise collection featuring several of his best-known album covers, overlaid with graffiti-like text that says: “huge fan of your old stuff.”
The text originally appeared on an artwork by British artist Richie Culver, which was shown at Untitled Miami in 2021 on the booth of Galerie Kandlhofer from Vienna. Drake reportedly stumbled on Culver’s work at the fair and found the piece inspiring, prompting the OVO label boss to reach out to the gallery.
Culver told Artnet News that he is a big fan of Drake’s, discovering his music during a particularly tenuous time in his own life.
“I remember being homeless and in a really difficult spot around 2013,” Culver said. “I managed to get into a rehab […] and someone lent me an iPod for my time in there. It only had a few albums on it. One of them was Drake’s Nothing Was the Same. I literally had it on repeat for months as I made my way through treatment and built my life up again. I had not listened to music or connected to it in such a long time. I know it’s a kinda clichéd story, but when Drake reached out, that was all that was in my mind.”
Culver added that he made the artwork as a kind of tribute to all the artists who, after early success, suffer from being pigeonholed into one particular style.
“The painting itself has instant connections to music straight away,” the artist said. “I felt a connection to that feeling myself, as I have often had these comments said to me. It always interested me to look at the two-sided nature of the meaning [of the words themselves] and the need to push beyond the risk of these opinions as an artist.”
Culver’s text work can also now be viewed as a cheeky response to some of the vitriol Drake has faced since releasing his new album last week, a departure from some of his earlier rap-focused sounds. Honestly, Nevermind leans heavily into dance music, prompting a number of questions and comments from fans eager to hear something familiar from the 6ix-God.
Reaction to the album has so far ranged from confused, to awkward, to just plain funny. According to Instagram user @moma.ps5: “New Drake sound like he hooked up wit an Albanian baddie with breast implants and lip fillers after meeting in an after hours in Ibiza.”
As Complex reports, someone caught Drake on camera at his album release party and in the video, Drake seems to address his critics. Talking to the camera, Drake says: “It’s all good if you don’t get it yet. It’s all good. That’s what we do. That’s what we do. We wait for you to catch up. We’re in here, though. We’re caught up already. On to the next. My goodness.”
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