In Drake’s eyes, there is very little that can’t be improved by the signature crosses of hardcore Hollywood jewelry brand Chrome Hearts. The rapper customized his Rolex with a gnarly CH band. He wore 10 of the brand’s looks for his “Laugh Now Cry Later” video, co-owner Laurie Lynn Stark says. And now there’s a Rolls-Royce. Yes: Drake and Chrome Hearts teamed up for custom Rolls-Royce Cullinan with quilted leather seats in a cross pattern and rims engraved with the words “Fuck You.”
The car itself is the result of over a year of work between Chrome Hearts and Drake, and the crown jewel of an album rollout with no real precedent. An exclusive collection with Nike already broke new ground. His “Lemon Pepper Freestyle”-featuring Scary Hours 2 was gratuitous. And now there’s a Rolls-Royce—oh, and a small collection of Drake x Chrome Hearts gear, too.
The collaboration is the culmination of what Stark describes as a long friendship between Drake and the brand. And even though Chrome Hearts has been tied to arena-packing musicians since the band started dressing members of the Sex Pistols in the ‘80s, it’s still a surprise when someone of Drake’s magnitude reaches out. Such a shock, in fact, that Stark thought she was being pranked by a friend at first. She got the head’s up Drake planned to reach out because he wanted a pair of jeans, but was so convinced it was a joke she “wouldn’t call [Drake] back,” she says. Eventually, they started texting, had a laugh about it—“We thought it was hysterical,” says Stark—and became fast friends.
Friends turned into collaborators: “Drake is intense, works late hours,” she says when I ask what it’s like to work with him. The rapper basically turned Stark’s schedule upside-down and she began maintaining a standing 12-to-2 appointment with him, she jokes. That doesn’t sound irregular until you realize she means midnight to 2 a.m. “He’s extremely creative, and like any artist when the creative flow is happening, you have to drop everything.”
Stark says she’s made plenty of custom items for private clients over the years, including stethoscopes for horns-up doctors, but nothing was more complicated than this car. “The technical side is extremely complicated,” she says. “You have to be up to standards and all that was difficult to pull off.” A car isn’t a leather jacket or piece of jewelry that merely needs to look good; Stark needed to ensure that the wheels would function properly, that airbags would deploy, and that the leather used was fire retardant.
And while the world’s first and only Chrome Hearts Rolls-Royce will deservedly get much of the attention here, the clothing collection might be as cool as Drake’s new wheels. There is a whole assortment of Chrome Hearts Certified Lover Boy merch that includes the brand’s signature cross-patched denim, and a trio of hand-dyed hoodies in grape, light blue, and a dusty red. There are also cutesy CLB-themed items like a teddy bear, day planner, a sterling silver jade face roller, and a gold keyring. Stark says Drake had colors and items he wanted, naturally, but he was most insistent on the broader mission of the collection.
“He wanted things to be heirlooms and have them be coveted,” she says. “He was very specific about having things that have longevity. Like, in 10 years, if someone says, ‘Oh, remember they did that Drake project? What were those few pieces that were made? How do you have one?’ It’s like a piece of art—he’s very concerned about that.” One step to making that a reality: choking supply. “There’s only a limited amount which makes it prestigious to own,” Stark says. Accordingly, the already-small supply will be available only at the brand’s Miami boutique.
For a brand like Chrome Hearts, the Drake collab represents something new. Despite its rock and roll pedigree, the brand has picked up heat among fashion heads like Virgil Abloh, Lil Uzi Vert, and Travis Scott. A collab allows Chrome Hearts to endear itself to a whole new generation of customers who are more interested in five-minute freestyles than long guitar solos. “The music of the moment…he’s the king of that,” Stark says. “I always say to him, ‘You made me cool again to my kids.’”
If you’ve got your eyes on a hoodie but can’t make it to Miami, you’re in luck: this sounds like it’s only the beginning of a fruitful engagement. Stark calls the relationship between the two parties “a lifetime partnership.” “We’re always sharing ideas,” she says, “some come to fruition and some don’t.” As Drake might put it: “What’s Next”?
The Rolls-Royce will be on display at Miami’s Institute of Contemporary Art museum until May 15th. But make no mistake—this is Drake’s Rolls. That is, if he can manage to drive it without interruption. “He hasn’t been able to drive the car for over a year because the minute it’s on the road it’s photographed,” Stark says.