Good ol’ Champagne Papi has never shied away from declaring his love for the Dominican Republic to the heavens. From his David Ortiz shoutout in Nicki Minaj’s “Moment 4 Life” (“I’m in the Dominican/Big Papi Ortiz”) to his cocky bars in “The Motto” (“Them Spanish girls love me like I’m Aventura”) to calling himself “papi champú, young pablito de seis Dios” on What A Time to Be Alive, it’s pretty clear that Drake is a lover of all things Dominican. But beyond his appreciation for quisqueyanos far and wide, it seems like the rapper is starting to resemble a Dominican tiguere more and more every day. The Latinternet hasn’t slept on the resemblance, as a quick Twitter search will yield thousands of observations, jokes, and straight up revelations about his transformation over the years. So we decided to put together a semi-definitive history of the artist’s metamorphosis into a millionaire charlatán.
Your Cigar-Smoking, Linen-Wearing Viejo
From 2011-2012, Take Care-era Drake loved sporting huge frames, gold chains, and low-cut shirts that showed off his chest hair. Exhibit A: the video for “Headlines.” Drizzy gives us a taste of his love for the D.R., smoking a cigar and rocking gold-tinted shades. The full-on caribeño look isn’t there yet – probably because of the Cosby sweater situation – but it’s a start.
Enter the summer of 2012, when we get the video for “Pop That.” The gold frames and cigars are back, but the shirts are low-cut. He’s got an all-white, linen yachtwear ensemble that rivals some of my dad’s own outfits. It’s proof that he’s ready to smoke with his tigueres from Inwood. All he’s missing at this point is a chacabana and a daiquiri. It’s official: Dominican Drake emerges.
The Casa de Campo-Visiting Jevito
Stage two of the metamorphosis of Dominican Drake happened when Drizzy paid a visit to mi país in the “Started From the Bottom” video back in 2013. In the clip, the rapper turns up at a Casa de Campo villa with his crew. At the crucial 4:11 mark, Drizzy flashes the Dominican flag, later donning it as a bandana. While it’s safe to say that most dominicanos haven’t partied at Casa de Campo, we all know the Boy lives a life of luxury, and his choice to proudly display his newfound heritage is a landmark moment in his transformation.
Champán Papi Becomes Brugal Papi
When Romeo Santos and Drizzy teamed up for “Odio,” the floodgates of the world’s greatest thirst trap opened. I fondly remember when Romeo dropped the track, as it marked the Day We Got Drizzy on Our Team. It inspired an age-old question, which remains unanswered: would Romeo and Drake ever team up for a live performance of the song? The day has yet to come. Either way, Champán Papi became Brugal Papi on that fateful day, as “Odio” features Drake singing a couple lines in Spanish and rapping an entire verse – on a bachata song.
El Tiguere Del Resort / Your Dominican Uncle
Earlier this year, Drake made a stop in Perth during his Australian tour. So of course, he spent some time by the pool. Even though he was taking a dip halfway across the world, this could be a pool at any resort in the D.R. Everyone’s tío or tía knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who could get them a couple nights at a hotel in Punta Cana. Here he is in action, splashing away to his heart’s content.
The trip inspired the Internet to create this world-renowned meme, which pretty much sums up Dominican Drake in this stage.
He’ll probably ask you to save him some tostones next.
Juan Luis Guerra and Alex Sensation's Primo
The floodgates of the world’s second greatest thirst trap opened when Drake debuted his new beard a couple months back. Here he is watching Serena at Wimbledon back in July, looking like a combination of Juan Luis Guerra and Alex Sensation. Are we sure they’re not cousins? I mean, look at this shit:
A Dominican Bouncer
And finally, Dominican Drake in full form: the buff, weightlifting papi we now know and love. At this point, he basically looks like he has the power to decide whether or not you’re getting into that grimy Manhattan nightclub. And rather than looking like your dad, or your uncle, or a chubby bachatero with a beer belly, he looks fine as hell. This is Dominican Drake in his beautiful adult stage, ready to take on the world. Only time will tell if Drizzy continues his transformation into a Dominican abuelito. For now, I’m content with seeing this face on my social media timelines every day.