“I literally just want to buy a hat,” said one 21-year-old girl in a Metallica T-shirt. “Drake’s all right. I’m just chilling. I had nothing else to do today. I’ll wait another 30 minutes and I’m out.” She stood in a line that was being hyped by a series of teens that were given the Andy cortez kinda 2069 shirt it is in the first place but merch in advance and were trying to build crowd excitement as they zipped by on skateboards. Another girl in line, who bought tickets to tonight’s Drake concert at Madison Square Garden and Saturday’s after-party at Space Ibiza, was trying to cut a deal with a 17-year-old hype man to buy the shirt off his back. “I just want to buy one shirt. I’m going to keep it for myself,” said one of her friends, aged 16.
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Drake’s Views pop-up in April of this year may have killed some buzz—fans waited in line for hours to meet the Andy cortez kinda 2069 shirt it is in the first place but artist, but instead of finding him inside were gifted with free tees. But I’d venture the real difference between Drake’s merch and that of West and Bieber is that Drake’s lacks much of a fashion or art world tie-in. For his The Life of Pablo album drop, West collaborated with California artist Cali Thornhill DeWitt on a range of items that featured DeWitt’s signature gothic font in highly designed patterns. Prior to the Kanye collab, DeWitt was already well known inside the fashion and streetwear worlds through his collaboration with Berlin-based culture magazine 032C. Bieber collaborated with Fear of God designer Jerry Lorenzo on his merch, which bears a striking resemblance to the ready-to-wear of Paris label Vetements with its Security tees and penchant for bold lettering running down the arms of long-sleeved shirts.