Late last week, Chrome Hearts announced that Drake’s custom Cullinan would be on display at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Miami, Florida, between May 1 and May 15. Chrome Hearts has nothing to do with the automotive industry: it’s a well-known luxury brand that does everything from jewelry to apparel and interior design. It dressed the Sex Pistols in the ‘80s and then, on through the ‘90s, every other legendary rocker.
As of late, Chrome Hearts has branched out into a different community of music lovers, pairing with rappers like Lil Wayne, Travis Scott and Lil Uzi Vert. Chrome Hearts, with its deeply Gothic cross motifs, is still very much rock ‘n roll, but now with a different audience and vibe, thanks to its association with high-profile rappers.
Drake is also one of them. His Cullinan, repackaged by Mansory, was then shipped over to Chrome Hearts for the final customization touches, the brand’s co-owner Laurie Lynn Stark explains in an interview with GQ. The interview is meant to promote the Cullinan’s time in the Contemporary Art Museum, but also Drake’s upcoming sixth album, Certified Lover Boy, and assorted Chrome Hearts merch that accompanies the launch.
Drake might have gotten the Cullinan because he loves the idea of owning custom cars, but make no mistake about it, him showing it off to the public is part of the promotional tour for the album.
Not that this takes anything from the extra-ness of the vehicle. It’s a literal assault on the eyes, either in the best or the worst possible way, depending on the individual taste of whoever owns the eyes looking at it. From the outside, it doesn’t seem like much, though its lowered stance does offer hints that something drastic and dramatic has been done.
The first major hint comes with the hood ornament: the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy has been replaced by three crosses. Then, there’s the wheels: bespoke aluminum rims bear the Chrome Hearts logo and, if you look closely enough, you might be able to make out the words “F**k You” in Gothic script.
If you find this blasphemous, wait until you see what Drake has had done inside. Stark says the customization took one year to complete and that it was the most difficult project Chrome Hearts has ever undertaken.
That’s because the interior has been changed completely: everything but the starry roof has been decked in plush, quilted leather with stitching and inserts. The center console, the seats, the dashboard and the door panels are rife with crosses, fleur-de-lis motifs, diamonds, and silver accents. It’s all very Gothic, very excessive and, again, depending on perspective, either awesomely extra or an eyesore.
Stark says that the biggest challenge was in keeping the car road-legal. To that end, they had to find fire retardant leather, and ensure that the airbags still deployed, and everything functioned accordingly, once all the modifications were done.
Drake was very involved in the customization process, Stark explains, and he’s awfully proud of how the Cullinan turned out. As for getting to enjoy it, well, that’s a different story. “He hasn’t been able to drive the car for over a year because the minute it’s on the road it’s photographed,” she says. Poor guy.