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Is Drake still obsessed with Italy?

Yes, but don't compare him to an 'Italian grandma'

Is Drake still obsessed with Italy? Yes, but don't compare him to an 'Italian grandma'

"Uh, after hours at Il Mulino, or Sotto Sotto just talkin' women and wino", quotes the track Pound Cake / Paris Morton Music 2, included in Nothing Was The Same, the fourth studio album by Drake. At the time (the album was released about ten years ago), the scenario described by the rapper didn't arouse much curiosity because, after all, Il Mulino and Sotto Sotto are names that resonate only with the most knowledgeable connoisseurs of Toronto's dining scene. These are two Italian restaurants where Drake often goes, either alone or with his friends. Despite their culinary offerings, these establishments don't conform to Italian clichés: no white and red checkered tablecloths, no host with carafes of red wine in hand. They are simply the Canadian's "buen retiro", refined yet anonymous venues with an exposed cellar and qualified sommeliers. This is why we can imagine Drake, then and now, walking through the doors of such places wearing a tweed coat and leather boots. In fact, he recently sported a similar look to visit Mamo, an Italian restaurant in New York that, according to an article by Highsnobiety, reportedly denies access to anyone wanting to dine when Drake is present. The same magazine also emphasized how Drake's outfit is another testament to the rapper's strong fascination with Italian culture.

While it's reasonable to consider that "Italianesque" style, it would be a bit forced to say, "Drake is dressed like an Italian grandma," as if the beautiful coat gracefully falling on his body makes him the Lucky Luciano of today. Formal wear certainly doesn't approach the rap scene in 2023. Brands epitomizing quiet luxury and tailored suits have been symbols of empowerment and social triumph since the inception and mainstream integration of this musical genre. We remember The Notorious B.I.G., known for pairing fur coats and leather jackets with jewelry and Coogi sweaters, or Snoop Dogg, captured in a white fur coat on the stage of the Aire Crown Theater in Chicago in 2006; it was a way to show themselves and the world that they had made it. Besides being synonymous with a certain social triumph, elegant garments are often associated, especially within the US rap circuit, with the imagery of Italian-American mob life: a recurring theme in the discography of many artists, inevitably influencing their aesthetic, even in their stage names - Yo Gotti, French Montana, Capone N Noreaga are just a few examples. It's a fact that Drake, as much as or perhaps more than his colleagues, loves Italy: he has demonstrated this several times, wearing football jerseys from Napoli and Juventus, and even custom-made pieces inspired by the aesthetic of Valentino Rossi.

However, it's also reasonable to move away from the stereotype of formal wear as the uniform of 1980s Little Italy. In 2019, in front of the cameras of How Much is Your Outfit?, Drake wore a custom-made coat from Brioni. The value? $11,000, in addition to the $2,000 high-neck sweater from Tom Ford. The Canadian has appreciated formal wear for a long time, and there is absolutely nothing, not even in that outfit worn almost five years ago, that can be attributed to any Italian canon. Quite simply, it's likely that Drake is showing a more pronounced interest in elegant clothing than in the past, symbolizing a transition to a new phase of his career. A tired Drake after years of intense discography, a business-oriented Drake, a Drake who increasingly prefers to sit and reflect in a corner of Sotto Sotto or Il Mulino, where it's more fitting to wear tailored suits than oversized leather bombers with a "Vaffanculo" sewn on the back. It's a fact that the Canadian rapper loves the tricolor, but don't call him an "Italian grandma."