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I Got Ripped Off By Drake’s Pop-Up Shop, and I Liked It

What it’s like to overpay for the rapper’s tour merchandise, now available in New York City

Daniela Tijerina
August 08, 2016
Paras Griffin/Getty Images
Rapper Drake performs on stage at Gucci and Friends Homecoming Concert at Fox Theatre on July 22, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. Paras Griffin/Getty Images
Paras Griffin/Getty Images
Rapper Drake performs on stage at Gucci and Friends Homecoming Concert at Fox Theatre on July 22, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. Paras Griffin/Getty Images

After seven months of being unemployed, I finally got a job last week. I worked two whole shifts. Then, I quit. The very next day, I dropped $50 on a terrible T-shirt at Drake’s pop-up shop.

I’m well aware of how this makes me sound. Except I’m really not a brat and despite turning 21 just four months ago, I have not started wearing less or even going out more; I’m what Drake would describe as a “good girl.” I’m also not a diehard fan of the “Views” rapper, who is in the city for a string of Madison Square Garden shows. So venturing to 208 Bowery, his Lower East Side storefront this weekend, on a Saturday afternoon in 84-degree weather, meant going to a place that I probably did not belong.

But that did not stop me from waiting in a line for two-and-a-half-hours—or from wearing eyeliner, which I never do, on the off-chance that Drake would pop-in, be struck by my glistening brown eyes beaming through my lined eyelids, fall in love with me, and trade RhiRhi in for a broad on Bowery drenched in sweat.

So, there I was, alongside New York City’s sharpest tools, garbed in their bomber jackets, strategically ripped at the knee jeans, and knock-off Yeezys. I was officially no better than these guys, we all know the type—the ones who avoid texting you back more than they avoid running into their landlord on the first of the month. The same guys who don’t mind racking up a credit card bill bigger than their egos in the name of dressing like Kanye and Bieber.

Shelling out cash and time for overpriced tour merch is a drill all too familiar for music fans in New York, although it was new to me. When Kanye dropped “The Life of Pablo,” people lined up on Wooster street overnight to pay $95 for a hoodie for the sake of feeling like Pablo. Now, Bieber, on his “Purpose” tour, has them crawling uptown to Barneys to spend $195 on a sleeveless shirt with Marilyn Manson on the front and “Bigger Than Satan” written on the back. (It’s only another $1,250 to complete the look with chambray drawstring pants.)

Completely aware of the fact that Drake, following in the footsteps of Yeezus and the Biebs, was about to rob me of both my money and my integrity, I finally walked into the shop. Before I could scan the rather unimpressive space—a slightly dirty room with four garment racks—a man with a gold tooth asked if he could get me a size in “that” (“that” being a black t-shirt with Drake’s face on it and the phrase “the boy” stamped underneath it). But I needed some time to decide. Did I want the $205 baseball jersey with “revenge” written across the chest? Wait, what about the “no crying, no lying, no dying” tank, priced at a modest $95? Did I need both?

Unsure of what came over me, a sensible “good girl,” I walked out of the shop under Drake’s sad boy spell. Here I was, $50 poorer (I opted for a cheaper item) sitting on the L train, actively listening to “Controlla” for the first time, learning lyric by lyric, that, go figure, it’s a song about sex. Which probably explains why the sleeve of my shirt says, in bright but elegant neon green lettering: “Go faster, go slower.” So, Mom, Dad, if you’re reading this, I’m so sorry, it’s too late, I’ve already spent your hard-earned money on a baby pink sex shirt, but I couldn’t say no—a nice Jewish boy made do it.

Daniela is a journalist based in Brooklyn, originally from Texas. You can follow her on Instagram if you like.