On May 15, Drake announced a partnership with the Canadian cargo company CarjoJet, and unveiled his own personal luxury plane, Air Drake. "No rental, no timeshare," the newly-minted CargoJet ambassador said in an Instagram video as he toured the opulent interior of his new, branded toy. Drake's arrival in this new echelon of wealth — hyper-rich Instagram influencer — was received as #inspiring and #goals in the comments section, as these kinds of things usually are.
But that wasn't the end of it. According to a TMZ report, CargoJet gave this man his jet for free. E! News put the value of Drake's 767 cargo jet at $80-$100 million, while TMZ's estimates $200 million. To put that in perspective, the Los Angeles Lakers gave LeBron James a $154 million contract in 2018 to play a lot of basketball games over four years. If TMZ's report is accurate, a freight company has given Drake a $200 million in-kind donation in the hopes of clout-by-association.
My threshold for ostentatious displays of wealth from rappers is very flexible, but at a certain point, you stop being a player in a broken game and become one of its dungeon masters. It's certainly not controversial to say that Drake has become a global icon outside of any specific culture, even as rap and pop become synonymous. He's a billion-dollar brand, and this status in capitalism (quite literally) affords him his own private plane. But because there's no class solidarity like the super wealthy's, Drake gets a new shiny bauble for (reportedly!) doing next to nothing.
On one hand, it's an incredible scam. Influencer marketing is a dubious form of advertising at best, and Drake's secured an unprecedented bag from that swamp. But the dream it's selling is a false one. The sight of Air Drake doesn't inspire awe or motivation — all it does is drive a stake into the idea of meritocracy a few inches deeper.