Aubrey Drake Graham and Sufjan Stevens are in love.
That's the premise of a Tumblr fanfiction by two writers known together as Rivyoncé Cuoknowles, who wrote a 31-chapter story and created a twelve-track album of Drake-Sufjan mash-ups.
The story paints Sufjan Stevens as a mystical, scripture and carrot-loving sweetheart who capitalizes the first letters of all his words, and Drake is his deeply supportive and enthusiastic partner.
The best way to understand Rivyonce Cuoknowles' work is to read it. Take Chapter 1, which begins:
drake: ay suf!!! where you been
sufjan: Aubrey My Dearest Lover I Wiled Away The Evening Gambolling Through The River Glen At Twilight And Communing With The Holy Spirits Of The Forest Elves While Enlightening Myself With The Ways Of Their Majjykks And Spiritually Cleansing Though The Experience Was I Am Overjoyed To Have At Last Returned To Our Nest
drake: aw babe that's adorable… communing with forest elves and sh*t… you're so creative i love that about you
sufjan: I Likewise Admire Your Substantive Artistic Innovation, Dearest Aubrey
As the fanfiction continues, it becomes clear that Stevens and Drake are in a committed domestic partnership. They propose to each other (after both plan intricate, multi-step proposals), get married, have a child (named The Untitled Stevens-Graham Project), and build a quotidian domestic life together.
The fanfiction also dives into the origins of their love affair, which began in high school. Drake and Rihanna are best friends, as are Sufjan and Annie Clark of St. Vincent fame. Drake struggles with his sexuality, but eventually the spirit of Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys is summoned to encourage him to face his fears.
And yes, this is all referring to indie musician Sufjan Stevens of Call Me By Your Name soundtrack notoriety and rapper Drake of "Hotline Bling" fame. The fanfiction is haunting precisely because it paints an image of a love affair so pure, so impossible, so absurd and romantic that it's almost painful to read.
Maybe the beauty of Drake and Sufjan Stevens' Tumblr fanfiction relationship is that it represents a kind of love, peace, and self-acceptance that neither of these people—nor most people in Hollywood—seem particularly capable of attaining. Its protagonists display a kind of radical genuineness and friendliness that seems to stretch far deeper than the typical shallow platitudes expressed by stars. Within the artifice, there's genuine care.
There are moments of strange, dizzying beauty—Sufjan Stevens discusses a night locked in a Soviet-era bunker with his former lover, Kanye West, for example. Then some moments are horrifying, like the poorly photoshopped, deeply awkward video of Sufjan and Drake's wedding.
Some moments walk a thin line between nauseating and glorious. For example, Sufjan quotes the Bible: "Song Of Solomon 5:2-4 Says, 'I Sleep, But My Heart Waketh: It Is The Voice Of My Beloved That Knocketh,' Sufjan says. 'I Have Put Off My Coat; How Shall I Put It On? I Have Washed My Feet; How Shall I Defile Them? My Beloved Put In His Hand By The Hole Of The Door, And My Bowels Were Moved For Him.'"
Drake, of course, replies, "haha and then what ;)"
While Sufjan Stevens and Aubrey Drake Graham may not actually be in love, wouldn't it be nice if they somehow were? If queer love and family could triumph over division? If Drake stopped texting teenage girls and Sufjan stopped being so sad? If capitalism could be replaced by care and compassion? If binaries could dissolve to be replaced by the sweet affection between a string instrument-loving woodland nymph and an enthusiastic Toronto dreamer?
Maybe the best thing to come out of the Drake-Sufjan fanfiction universe is the mash-up mixtape its writers created, entitled Six Swans. With its combination of Drake's beats and Sufjan's banjos, it reaches "Old Town Road"-esque levels of genreless euphoria. The first track, "Death Over Dignity," feels like it could be a real collaboration—the lightness of Stevens' gentle, devastating guitar-picking and Drake's inspiring lyrics work surprisingly well together, despite occasionally plummeting into the abyss of nonsense.
Ultimately, it's the story—and the dream—that matters in the end. Queer fanfiction has long created space for kids to explore their own queerness through the lens of imagining other unfulfilled partnerships that mirror their own desires. While it's all absurdist kitsch in the end, it's strangely beautiful to imagine a world in which it were real.