“Hidden Hills…a Norman Rockwell painting behind high-security walls.” 
—Mike Davis, City of Quartz

“I told y’all about goddamn takin’ them hoez to the Cheesecake Factory/Lettin’ them order strawberry lemonade and popcorn shrimp/They ain’t goin’ do nuthin’ but try to take all your motherfuckin’ cheese.”
—OutKast, “We Luv Deez Hoez”

You’re free to watch them vanish. A sneering speeding automotive parade disappears behind the walls: Teslas and Ferraris, hybrid Lexuses and Hummers, limousines and the occasional Escalade for nostalgia’s sake. Pick-up trucks tug cavernous movie star trailers and light rigs up the hill. Sulking fences cautiously swing open, offering entrance into Hidden Hills, the gated community protecting America’s most watched.

You aren’t wanted. The signs outside the private entrance leave little room for misinterpretation: “all pedestrians and bicyclists must check in at the guard house.” “No stopping.” If you park for 16 seconds, you’ll incur the wrath of the security detail picking their gums with paper clips.

The rent-a-cops boast the surliness of retired county sheriffs still irritated they never got cast on an episode of CHiPS. They’re armed minions, perfectly civil if you’re an almond-tanned, collagen-swollen, real housewife or blown-dry Cheesecake Factory executive vice president. But (6) God forbid you’re a tabloid interloper or ignorant hick who has only glimpsed a black card in Clipse videos and episodes of Newlyweds.

Welcome to Calabasas on Devil’s Night, 2015. It’s still broad daylight, and we’re idling in my car, handling reconnaissance work just outside the cultural vortex of America. I scroll through my contact list trying to figure out if I know anyone whose parents live in Hidden Hills. On cue, Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” comes on the radio.

For the purposes of self-preservation, I’ve brought my associate, Saul Santana. He’s been entrusted to tell the world my story in case my remains are mysteriously found in a Chatsworth natural reserve—limbs suspiciously arranged in “Hotline Bling” Bachata shimmy.

The deeper question is, why here? Why in all the Ambien enclaves across America did Calabasas and its even more exclusive Hidden Hills extension become the most famous residential brand since Beverly Hills 90210? Why would a Fort Knox of cultural capital opt for seclusion a solid 30 miles from downtown Los Angeles, in a place whose best civic attribute is an annual pumpkin festival? I’m trying to figure out the answer.

By the second Bieber single, we’ve decided on a course of action. Driving to the guardhouse, I lower my window and lock stares with a man with colorless eyes and a switchblade face.

“Who are you gentlemen here to see?” he smirks.

“Aubrey Graham.” I say, matter-of-factly. “His friends call him ‘The Boy’ though, so that may be what he’s listed as.”

“Who may I ask is visiting?”

“Majid Jordan.”

I’m aware that the odds of actually gaining entrance are nil, but since, at the time of my visit, no one has seen Majid Jordan in the last 20 months, it’s my best bet. He dials the number to Drake’s house, squinting at us with mild disdain.

This is dangerous territory. You might be lulled into Merlot numbness by the Arcadian mountains, tangerine dusks, and abundant space for miniature white terriers to roam with wanton disregard. But make the wrong move, use the wrong password, park in the wrong driveway, and you could be the next contestant on that TMZ screen.

“Is Mr. Graham expecting you?”

“Not technically, but we’re on his recording label, OVO Sound,” Saul Santana interjects. “We’re hoping to discuss when our record is going to get a release date.”

“Mr. Graham is currently not on the premises. I suggest that you return later…with prior notice.”

He closes his window and makes the hand motion for us to turn around. Our erstwhile Canadian R&B duo has made no headway. So we skulk back to our original hiding spot, hoping for a celebrity cameo to snap the deadening languor of Calabasas on a Sunday.