An Investigation Into Hologram Drake

Drake started his tour by performing next to a childhood version of himself. But is it a hologram, a lookalike, or a Deepfake? We investigated. Here’s what we found.


Is it a hologram or a lookalike of a young Aubrey Graham? 

That’s the question everyone’s asking after the opening Chicago stops of Drake’s It’s All A Blur tour. To begin the show, he performs “Look What You’ve Done” while sitting alongside what appears to be a younger version of himself. Fans immediately speculated that the kid is a hologram (or “holograham,” as Drake joked on Instagram) until more video footage surfaced. In one video, you can see the kid handing a book to Drake. I don’t know much about holograms, but I know they can’t hold physical objects, so it must be a real person. What’s going on here?

In 2023, we’re in an era where you can’t be too sure whether something is real, fake, or deepfaked. So we went down a rabbit hole and investigated who young Aubrey Holograham is.

Is it a real person?

How does he look so much like Degrassi Drake?

Drake performs next to a hologram of his younger self at his #ItsAllABlur Tour.

— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) July 6, 2023
Fans keep taking photos with Brooklyn Cox at shows, but he doesn’t look quite like the image that was being projected on arena monitors during the show. So if Cox is sitting right next to Drake, but he doesn’t look exactly like a Degrassi-aged version of him, what’s happening here? That answer might be more complicated than we first thought.

Let’s bring in an expert…

People seem to be confused on how the hologram is handing the book to Drake.🤔

— HipHoppplug (@HipHoppplugg) July 6, 2023
Brooklyn Cox’s face looks just like childhood Drake when it’s being displayed on the large screens at the venue, but it doesn’t look as much like him in real life (see a fan photo here). 

So our leading theory is that Cox’s face is being altered, using deepfake technology, to make him look more like Degrassi Drake for the audience when they’re looking at the screen itself. We tapped a faculty expert on deepfake technology at the University of Buffalo, Siwei Lyu, who told us, “I agree it’s possible” that the technology was being used on the screen to make the lookalike more believable. But Lyu ultimately concluded that he doesn't have enough information to give us a definitive answer. So we spoke with an in-house AI expert at Buzzfeed, who told us that it likely isn’t a deepfake, because it can't be done in real time, but Drake’s team might be using an AR face swap, which is technology that would allow them to swap faces with someone on camera in real-time.

In conclusion, The Boy does it again

We reached out to Brooklyn Cox for comment, but he unfortunately hasn’t agreed to comment. So at this point, it seems clear that something is being used to alter his face on screen (based on discrepancies in IRL photos, plus the fact that his face looks more processed compared to Drake’s) but it’s still yet to be confirmed exactly what technology they’re using to accomplish this. 

So based on the evidence, it appears Drizzy was able to find a teenage actor who looks somewhat like him, then used AI technology to alter his face on the arena projectors and make him look exactly like him. The Boy has done it again and found a new and unique way to get his fans talking and coming up with wild new theories online (like this one). 

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