If you're a follower of pop culture, the hip-hop scene or just spend a decent amount of time on the Internet, you're probably well-versed in all things Drake. Aside from the recent tabloid fodder — he's Serena Williams's rumored love interest and had a highly publicized feud with fellow rapper Meek Mill that's launched a thousand memes — he's currently sitting at the top of the charts with his latest single "Hotline Bling," a joint mixtape with Future called "What A Time To Be Alive," and one of his own, "If You're Reading This It's Too Late." He even made a couple of strategic appearances during Fashion Week: at Kanye West's Yeezy Season Two presentation, and Williams's show for her HSN collection, where he sat next to Anna Wintour. Adding to his fashion cred, he's been revealed as the cover star and muse of W magazine's upcoming art issue, for which he collaborated with Editor-in-Chief Stefano Tonchi on choosing five artists to create works incorporating his likeness.
"We wanted somebody who could bring the 'entertainment' idea to art," Tonchi told us about his decision to put Drake — who's never appeared on a traditionally women's fashion magazine before — on the cover of the biannual special edition. "Art in itself can be very elitist, so we always like to amplify the power of art with a collaboration with someone who has a lot of mass appeal." Despite Drake's superstar status, he still remains relatively private, which is something else that drew Tonchi to the 28-year-old rapper. So, it seems fitting that many of the artists he picked for the W Art portfolio don't go by their given names in favor of anonymity, like the popular New York-based artist, Kaws, who designed the cover and the logo, as well as Jim Joe, a graffiti writer who Drake called upon to create the cover art for "If You're Reading This."
Tonchi's first Art Issue for W back in 2010 is without a doubt the most famous of them all, starring none other than a very naked Kim Kardashian. "First she loved it, then she said she never wanted to be naked, then she was naked everywhere, then she said it was the best thing she ever did," Tonchi explained, and at the time, it was a particularly controversial cover choice for a magazine known for its highbrow, cultured content. (Plus, her fashion choices were not nearly as chic back then as they are today.)
But the editor is a fan of taking risks, and can be credited with giving some of Hollywood's leading ladies their first major cover moments, including Rooney Mara, Lupita Nyong'o, Alicia Vikander and Jessica Chastain. In fact, Chastain is a former W Art cover girl, and posed for a punk-meets-Victorian-meets-Teddy Boy-inspired shoot by Steven Klein for the November issue of the magazine. Aside from her loyalty to the magazine, her willingness to get a little "out there" in editorials is something that Tonchi particularly appreciates. "[On the November shoot] she said, 'I don’t need to be beautiful, I'm an actress. Not a model.'"