Aubrey Drake Graham (born October 24, 1986) is a Canadian rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, actor, and entrepreneur. Drake initially gained recognition as an actor on the teen drama television series Degrassi: The Next Generation in the early 00s. Intent on pursuing a career as a rapper, he departed the series in 2007 following the release of his debut mixtape, Room for Improvement. He released 2 further independent projects, Comeback Season and So Far Gone, before signing to Lil Wayne's Young Money Entertainment in June 2009.
Drake in 2017
|Born||Aubrey Drake Graham
October 24, 1986
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Residence||Hidden Hills, California|
|Net worth||$100 million (Mar 2018)|
Drake released his debut studio album Thank Me Later in 2010, which debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 and was soon certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). His next two releases were 2011's Take Care and 2013's Nothing Was the Same, which were both critically and commercially successful; the former earned him his first Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. In 2015, he released two mixtapes—the trap-influenced If You're Reading This It's Too Late and a collaboration with Future titled What a Time to Be Alive—both of which earned platinum certification in the US
Drake released his fourth album, Views, in 2016, breaking several chart records in the process. The dancehall-influenced album sat atop the Billboard 200 for ten nonconsecutive weeks, becoming the first album by a male solo artist to do so in over ten years. The album's second single "One Dance" topped the charts in several countries, including the US, the UK, and Canada, where it became his first number one single as a lead artist. That year, Drake lead both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Billboard 200 charts simultaneously for eight weeks, coming close to a record held by Whitney Houston. Views achieved quadruple platinum status in the US, and earned over 1,000,000 album-equivalent units in the first week of its release. The album's lead single "Hotline Bling" secured him his second and third Grammy Awards, for Best Rap/Sung Performance and Best Rap Song, at the organization's 59th ceremony. Drake has sold more than 12 million albums (Including more than 9 million albums sold in the U.S) and 74 million singles globally.
Drake holds several Billboard chart records. He has the most charted songs (154) among solo artists in the history of the Billboard Hot 100, the most simultaneously charted Hot 100 songs in a single week (24), the most time on the Hot 100 (431 weeks) and the most Hot 100 debuts in a week (21). Drake also has the most number one singles on the Hot Rap Songs, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay and Rhythmic Charts. Alongside his Grammy Award wins, Drake has won three Juno Awards and six American Music Awards, as well as a record thirteen Billboard Music Awards, while also being one of the most acclaimed rappers of the 21st century.
Drake has developed other ventures, including his OVO Sound record label with longtime collaborator Noah "40" Shebib. Drake acts as a producer, producing under the pseudonym Champagne Papi. Using the "OVO" moniker, Drake has his own clothing line and his own program on Beats 1 Radio. He has also developed a whiskey, is a restaurateur, and is the global ambassador for the Toronto Raptors.
Aubrey Drake Graham was born on October 24, 1986, in Toronto, Ontario. His father, Dennis Graham, is an African American and a practising Catholic from Memphis, Tennessee, and worked as a drummer, performing alongside country musician Jerry Lee Lewis. Bass guitarist Larry Graham and the late songwriter Teenie Hodges are his paternal uncles. Drake's mother, Sandi Graham (née Sher), is a white Jewish Canadian who worked as an English teacher and florist. Drake attended a Jewish day school, and had a Bar Mitzvah ceremony.
Drake's parents divorced when he was five years old. After the divorce, he and his mother remained in Toronto, while his father chose to return to Memphis in order to find a way to supplement himself financially. As a child, he witnessed his father's arrest while visiting him in Memphis. His father later collaborated with Canadian music group Arkells for a song entitled "Drake's Dad", detailing the events that had occurred following his departure from Drake's early life.
Drake was raised in two polarizing Toronto neighbourhoods; he lived on Weston Road in the city's working-class west end, until the sixth grade. In his youth, he played minor hockey with the Weston Red Wings. Drake then moved to one of the city's affluent neighbourhoods, Forest Hill, in 2000. When asked about the move to Forest Hill, Drake replied, "[We had] a half of a house we could live in. The other people had the top half, we had the bottom half. I lived in the basement, my mom lived on the first floor. It was not big, it was not luxurious. It was what we could afford."
He attended Forest Hill Collegiate Institute, where he demonstrated an affinity for the arts, first acting while an active student at the school. He later attended Vaughan Road Academy in the city's multicultural Oakwood–Vaughan neighbourhood. Due to the economic status associated with the neighbourhood, Drake described the school as "not by any means the easiest school to go to. [It's tough]." Drake was often bullied in school for his racial and religious background, and upon realizing that his busy class schedule was detrimental to his burgeoning acting career, Drake dropped out of school. He later graduated in October 2012.
2001–2005: Degrassi: The Next Generation
At 15, Drake encountered an acting agent who was the father of a high school friend. The agent found Drake a role on Canadian teen drama series Degrassi: The Next Generation. Drake portrayed Jimmy Brooks, a basketball star who became physically disabled after he was shot by a classmate. When asked about his early acting career, Drake replied, "My mother was very sick. We were very poor, like broke. The only money I had coming in was off of Canadian TV". He would continue to appear on the show until 2007, returning for sporadic appearances until his character graduated from school. Overall, Drake appeared in a total of 145 episodes.
2006–2009: Early mixtapes and So Far Gone
After becoming musically inspired by Jay Z and Clipse, Drake self-released his debut mixtape, Room for Improvement, in 2006. The mixtape featured Trey Songz and Lupe Fiasco, and included vast production from Canadian producers Boi-1da, and Frank Dukes. When asked about the mixtape, Drake described the project as "pretty straightforward, radio friendly, [and] not much content to it." The mixtape was released for sale only, and confirmed to have sold over 6,000 copies. In 2007, he released his second mixtape, Comeback Season. Released from his recently founded October's Very Own label, it spawned the single "Replacement Girl", featuring Trey Songz. The song made Drake become the first ever unsigned Canadian rapper to have his music video featured on BET, with "Replacement Girl" being featured on the channel's "New Joint of the Day" segment on April 30, 2007. The song also saw Drake sample "Man of the Year" by Brisco, Flo Rida and Lil Wayne, retaining Lil Wayne's verse, and adjoined his own to the song's earlier half. This caused Jas Prince to gift Lil Wayne the song, which prompted the rapper to invite Drake to Houston in order to join his Tha Carter III tour. Throughout the duration of the tour, Drake and Lil Wayne recorded multiple songs together, including "Ransom", "I Want This Forever", and a remix to "Brand New". Despite the collaborations between the duo, Drake was yet to be signed by Young Money Entertainment.
In 2009, Drake released his third mixtape, So Far Gone. It was made available for free download through his OVO blog website, and featured Lil Wayne, Trey Songz, Omarion, Lloyd, and Bun B. It received over 2,000 downloads in the first 2 hours of release, finding mainstream commercial success due to the singles "Best I Ever Had" and "Successful", both gaining Gold certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), with the former also peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot 100. This prompted the mixtape's re-release as an EP, featuring only four songs from the original, as well as the additions of the songs "I'm Goin' In" and "Fear". It debuted at number six on the Billboard 200, and won the Rap Recording of the Year at the 2010 Juno Awards.
Due to the success of the mixtape, Drake was the subject of a bidding war from various labels, often reported as "one of the biggest bidding wars ever". Despite this, Drake was rumoured to have secured a recording contract with Young Money Entertainment on June 29, 2009. This was later confirmed following a planned lawsuit from Young Money, in conjunction with Drake, against an unauthorized album entitled The Girls Love Drake, which was released on iTunes under dubious means.
Drake then joined the rest of the label's roster the America's Most Wanted Tour in July 2009. However, during a performance of "Best I Ever Had" in Camden, New Jersey, Drake fell on stage, and tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He later underwent surgery on September 8, 2009.
2010–2011: Thank Me Later
Drake planned to release his debut album, Thank Me Later, in late 2008, but the album's release date was postponed, first to March 2010, and then to May 25, 2010. Young Money and Universal Motown had then released a statement that the album had again been pushed back three weeks, for a June 15, 2010, release.
On March 9, 2010, Drake released the debut single "Over", peaking at number fourteen on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as topping the Rap Songs chart. It also received a nomination for Best Rap Solo Performance at the 53rd Grammy Awards. His second single, "Find Your Love", became an even bigger success; peaking at number five on the Hot 100, and was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The music video for the single was shot in Kingston, Jamaica, and was criticized by Jamaica's minister of tourism, Edmund Bartlett. Bartlett condemned the portrayal of the island in the video, saying, "care has to be taken by all, including our creative artists, in [showcasing] images of our destination and people. Gun culture, while not unique to Jamaica, is not enhancing [the island's image]." The third single and fourth singles, "Miss Me" and "Fancy" respectively, attained moderate commercial success, however, the latter garnered Drake his second nomination at the 53rd Grammy Awards, for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. On April 29, it was reportedly announced that Drake had finished Thank Me Later during a show in Kansas City, Missouri.
Thank Me Later was released on June 15, 2010, debuting at number one on the Billboard 200 with sales of over 447,000 copies in its first week. Upon the album's release, 25,000 fans gathered at New York City's South Street Seaport for a free concert, hosted by Drake and Hanson, which was later cancelled by police after a near-riot ensued due to overflowing crowds. The album became the top selling debut album for any artist in 2010, and featured Lil Wayne, Kanye West, and Jay Z.
It was soon announced that Drake would have a prominent role in military science fiction video game, Gears of War 3. He was scheduled to play the part of Jace Stratton, but scheduling conflicts with his upcoming Away from Home Tour prevented Drake from accepting the role. He began the tour on September 20, 2010, in Miami, Florida, performing at 78 shows over four different legs. It concluded in Las Vegas in November 2010. Due to the success of the Away from Home Tour, Drake hosted the first OVO Festival in 2010. It would soon become a regular event during the summer, with the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto playing host to the festival on its annual cycle. Drake also had an eco-friendly college tour to support the album, beginning with Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois. It concluded in Plymouth, New Hampshire on May 8, and he had also performed at The Bamboozle on May 1.
2011–2012: Take Care
Beginning his second effort in fall 2010, Drake announced his intentions to allow for Noah "40" Shebib to handle most of the production and record a more cohesive sound than on Thank Me Later, which featured disparate production duties by Shebib and others. In November 2010, Drake revealed the title of his next studio album will be Take Care. In comparison to his debut album, Drake revealed to Y.C Radio 1 that Thank Me Later was a rushed album, stating, "I didn't get to take the time that I wanted to on that record. I rushed a lot of the songs and sonically I didn't get to sit with the record and say, 'I should change this verse.' Once it was done, it was done. That's why my new album is called Take Care, because I get to take my time this go-round." Drake sought to expand on the low-tempo, sensuous, and dark sonic esthetic of Thank Me Later. Primarily a hip hop album, Drake attempted to incorporate R&B and pop to create a languid, grandiose sound.
In January 2011, Drake was in negotiations to join Eva Green and Susan Sarandon as a member of the cast in Nicholas Jarecki's Arbitrage, before ultimately deciding against starring in the movie, to focus on the album. "Dreams Money Can Buy" and "Marvins Room" were released on Drake's October's Very Own Blog, on May 20 and June 9, respectively. Acting as promotional singles for Take Care, the former was eventually unincluded on the album's final track listing, while "Marvins Room" gained Gold certification by the RIAA, as well as peaking at number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100, and reaching the top 10 of the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, coupled with extensive play on contemporary urban radio. Drake would soon release the song's music video on June 28.
"Headlines" was released on August 9, acting as the lead single for Take Care. It was met with positive critical and commercial response, reaching number thirteen on the Hot 100, as well as becoming his tenth single to reach the summit of the Billboard Hot Rap Songs, making Drake the artist with the most number-one singles on the chart, with 12. It was eventually certified Platinum in both the United States and Canada. The music video for the single was released on October 2, and foresaw Drake performing the song during the second intermission of the 59th National Hockey League All-Star Game in January 2012. "Make Me Proud" was released as the album's second single, on October 16. It was the final single to be released prior to the launch of the album, and debuted at number 97 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song reached number nine the following week, tying the record for the largest jump on the Billboard Hot 100 for a male artist, with 88. "Make Me Proud" soon became Drake's fourth consecutive single to receive Platinum certification by the RIAA.
Drake had also planned to record a collaborative album with Lil Wayne, however, it was ultimately scrapped due to the success of Watch the Throne. Drake had also begun collaborations with Rick Ross for a mixtape entitled Y.O.L.O., but was decided against in favour of increased concern for their respective studio albums.
Take Care was released on November 15, 2011, and received generally positive reviews from music critics. John McDonnell of NME dubbed it "an affecting masterpiece" and commended its "delicate, mellifluous sound and unashamedly candid, emotive lyrics." Pitchfork's Ryan Dombal found Drake's "technical abilities" to be improved and stated, "Just as his thematic concerns have become richer, so has the music backing them up." Andy Hutchins of The Village Voice called it "a carefully crafted bundle of contradictory sentiments from a conflicted rapper who explores his own neuroses in as compelling a manner as anyone not named Kanye West." Chicago Tribune writer Greg Kot complimented the depth of Drake's "moral psychodramas" and stated, "the best of it affirms that Drake is shaping a pop persona with staying power." It was also certified quadruple platinum by the RIAA in 2016, with sales for the album marking 2.6 million in the US, as well as winning the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards.
The album's third and fourth singles, "The Motto" and Take Care", were released on November 29, and February 21, 2012 respectively. Each song was subject to commercial success, while also having large societal impacts, with "The Motto" credited for popularizing the phrase "YOLO" in the United States. The music video for "Take Care" saw widespread acclaim, with MTV stating, "None of his contemporaries – not even the ever-obtuse Kanye [West] - make videos like this, mostly because no one else can get away with it." The video received four nominations at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards, for Best Male Video, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, and Video of the Year. The song was also featured on the channel's "Pop Songs You Must Hear" list of 2011. "HYFR" was the final single to be released from the album, and became certified Gold. It would later win the MTV Video Music Award for Best Hip-Hop Video in 2012. Drake was soon ranked at number two on MTV's "Hottest MCs in the Game" list in 2011.
In promotion of his second album, Drake embarked on the worldwide Club Paradise Tour. It became the most successful hip hop tour of 2012, grossing over $42 million. Drake would also star in Ice Age: Continental Drift, providing the voice for Ethan.
2012–2015: Nothing Was the Same and commercial mixtapes
During the European leg of the Club Paradise Tour, Drake spoke in an interview stating that he had begun working on his third studio album. Revealing his intentions to remain with 40 as the album's executive producer, Drake spoke fondly about Jamie xx, hoping to include and expand the British producer's influence over his next album. Drake had also revealed that the album would stylistically differ from Take Care, departing from the ambient production and despondent lyrics prevalent previously.
In January 2013, Drake announced that he would release the first single off of his third album at the conclusion of the 55th Annual Grammy Awards. Despite an initial delay, it was released in the wake of his win for the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album at the event, and it foresaw Drake announcing Nothing Was the Same as the title of his third album. The album's second single, "Hold On, We're Going Home", was released in August 2013, becoming the most successful single off of the album, peaking at number-one on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Drake sought inspiration from the 1980s television series Miami Vice during the composition of the song's music video, incorporating the dramatic elements seen in the show en route to winning his second MTV Video Music Award in 2014 for the video. Drake appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, performing the album's third single, "Too Much", alongside featured artist Sampha.
Nothing Was the Same was released on September 24, 2013, debuting at number one on the US Billboard 200, with 658,000 copies sold in its first week of release. The album debuted atop the charts in Canada, Denmark, Australia and the United Kingdom. The album also enjoyed generally favourable reviews by contemporary music critics, commending the musical shift in terms of the tone and subject matter, comparing it to the distinct change showcased in 808s & Heartbreak. The album was also reported to have sold over 1,720,000 copies in the United States, and was further promoted by the "Would You like a Tour?" throughout late 2013, to early 2014. It became the 22nd-most successful tour of the year, grossing an estimated $46 million. Drake returned to acting in January 2014, hosting Saturday Night Live, as well as serving as the musical guest. His versatility, acting ability and comedic timing were all praised by critics, describing it as what "kept him afloat during the tough and murky SNL waters". Drake also performed in Dubai, being one of the only artists ever to perform in the city. In late 2014, Drake announced that he had begun recording sessions for his fourth studio album.
On February 12, 2015, Drake released If You're Reading This It's Too Late onto iTunes, with no prior announcement. Despite debate on whether it is an album or a mixtape, its commercial stance quantifies it as his fourth retail project with Cash Money Records. If You're Reading This It's Too Late sold over 1 million units in 2015, making Drake the first artist with a platinum project in 2015, as well as his fourth overall. Drake proceeded If You're Reading This It's Too Late with a collaborative mixtape with Future, which was recorded in Atlanta in just under a week.
|Drake's cover on Fader Magazine's 100th Issue from January 2015|
What a Time to Be Alive debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, making Drake the first hip hop artist to have two projects reach number one in the same year since 2004. It was later certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for combined sales, streaming and track-sales equivalent of over 1 million units. Drake also appeared on the cover of The Fader for their 100th issue.
2016–2018: Views and More Life
Drake announced in January 2016 that his fourth studio album would be launched during the spring, releasing the promotional single "Summer Sixteen" later that month. The album was originally titled Views from the 6, but would later be shortened to Views. "Summer Sixteen" debuted at number six on the US Billboard Hot 100, and proved controversial, with Drake comparing his standing in hip hop to more tenured artists. This move divided many contemporary music critics, describing his self-comparison as "goodly brash" or "conventionally disrespectful." It was also interpreted as a diss track towards Tory Lanez, who was unhappy at Drake popularizing the term "The Six" when referencing Toronto. Drake also crashed a Bat Mitzvah in New York City on February 20, performing at the event.
Drake soon released the album's lead singles, "Pop Style" and the dancehall-infused "One Dance", on April 5. Both debuted within the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100, however, the latter proved more commercially successful, with "One Dance" becoming Drake's first number-one single in Canada and the US as a leading artist. The single also became Drake's first number one single as a lead artist in the United Kingdom, and peaked at number one in Germany, France, Australia, Brazil, Sweden, Belgium, Norway and the Netherlands. During an episode for OVO Sound Radio, Drake confirmed the album's release date of April 29, through a tweet and various promotional videos. On October 15, "One Dance" became Spotify's most-streamed song ever, amassing over 882 million plays as of October 2016.
Views was previewed in London, before its premiere on Beats 1 a day later. It was released as an Apple Music and iTunes exclusive on April 29, before being made available to various other platforms later that week. Views would become Drake's most commercially successful album, sitting atop the Billboard 200 for ten nonconsecutive weeks, as well as simultaneously leading the Billboard Hot 100 and the Billboard 200 for eight weeks. It also achieved double-platinum status in the US, and earned over 1 million album-equivalent units in the first week of its release, as well as gaining over half-billion overall streams of the album. Despite its success, critical opinion towards the album remained much divided, drawing criticism for being overlong and lacking in a cohesive theme, while also claiming Drake was not challenging himself artistically, as opposed to his contemporaries. He would later plan to release a short film entitled Please Forgive Me.
Drake returned to host Saturday Night Live on May 14, serving as the show's musical guest. Later, Drake was named as a member of the Forbes Five, which ranks the wealthiest artists in hip-hop, placing fifth after Birdman, Jay Z, Dr. Dre, and Diddy respectively. Drake and Future then announced the Summer Sixteen Tour to showcase their collective mixtape, as well as their respective studio albums. This marked Drake's third co-headlining tour, which began in Austin, Texas on July 20. On July 23, Drake announced that he was working on a new project, scheduled to be released in early 2017, and was later named as the headline act for the 2016 iHeartRadio Music Festival. The latter dates of the Summer Sixteen Tour were postponed, however, due to Drake suffering an ankle injury.
During the 2016 OVO Festival, Kanye West confirmed that he and Drake had begun working on a collaborative album. Soon after, the music video for "Child's Play" was released, depicting Drake and Tyra Banks playing a couple encountering relationship issues at the Cheesecake Factory in a reference to one of the song's lyrics. On September 26, Please Forgive Me was released as an Apple Music exclusive. It ran a total of 25 minutes, and featured music from Views.
At the 2016 BET Hip-Hop Awards, Drake received the most nominations, with 10, winning the awards for Album of the Year and Best Hip-Hop Video. Drake later announced the Boy Meets World Tour on October 10, with twenty-six dates announced for the course of the tour in Europe. Seven additional dates were added a day later due to overwhelming demand. Soon after, during an episode of OVO Sound Radio, Drake confirmed he would be releasing a project entitled More Life in December, however he later pushed the date back to the new year. The project was described as a "playlist of original music", rather than being classified as a traditional mixtape or solo album. He was later revealed to be Spotify's most streamed artist for the second consecutive year in 2016, amassing a total 4.7 billion streams for all projects on the service, which is more than double the amount of streams he had in 2015. Drake later secured his second and third Grammy Awards, winning for Best Rap/Sung Performance and Best Rap Song at the 59th ceremony. Despite multiple setbacks, Drake announced More Life would be released on March 18, 2017, via a series of multiple video commercials released through Instagram. Upon release, More Life received mostly positive reviews, and debuted atop the Billboard 200, earning 505,000 album-equivalent units in its first week. It also set a streaming record, becoming the highest ever streamed album in 24 hours, with a total of 89.9 million streams on Apple Music alone. The album also garnered 61.3 million streams on Spotify, dethroning Ed Sheeran's ÷ as the highest opening on the service in a single day. He later won 13 awards at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards in May, which saw him breaking the record for the most wins in a single show. Billboard also reported Drake had been present on the Hot 100 chart for eight consecutive years, and has the most recorded entries by a solo artist.
He then released the single "Signs" on June 24, as well as reuniting with Metro Boomin on a single with Offset. The singles marked his first releases since More Life, with "Signs" was initially released as a collaboration between Drake and French fashion house Louis Vuitton, as part of the "Louis Vuitton Men’s Spring-Summer 2018" fashion show. The event also had a playlist exclusively from OVO Sound, curated by label co-founder Oliver El-Khatib. Drake later hosted the first annual NBA Awards on June 26, and starred in multiple commercials alongside his father in promotion of Virginia Black. Drake then appeared in The Carter Effect documentary, honouring the basketball career of Vince Carter, who was the first superstar player to appear for the Toronto Raptors since the franchise's inception in 1995. The documentary also featured NBA players Chris Bosh, Tracy McGrady, Steve Nash, and LeBron James.
2018–present: Scary Hours and fifth studio album
After rumours circulated of Drake possibly collaborating with various artists, including rapper Trippie Redd and producer Pi'erre Bourne, for his new studio album, multiple snippets of songs were leaked near the closing end of 2017. Two songs would later be released as members of a mini EP, titled Scary Hours, on January 20, 2018, marking Drake's first solo release since More Life, as well as his first appearance on any song after featuring on a remix of the Jay-Z song "Family Feud" with Lil Wayne, as the lead single of the latter's Dedication 6: Reloaded mixtape. Scary Hours also featured the top-ten singles "Diplomatic Immunity" and "God's Plan", with the latter breaking various streaming records as it debuted at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100. The song was Drake's second as a solo artist to reach number one.
Drake earned his 70th top 40 hit after the Migos song "Walk It Talk It" featuring Drake debuted at number eighteen. He also featured on Memphis rapper BlocBoy JB's debut single, "Look Alive", which was released on February 9, 2018. The song's entry at number six on the Hot 100 made Drake the rapper with the most top 10 hits on the Hot 100, with 23. He later featured on a remix to "Lemon", a song originally released as a collaboration between band N.E.R.D and Rihanna.
Drake has cited several hip hop artists as influencing his rapping style, including Kanye West, Jay Z, and Lil Wayne, while also attributing various R&B artists as influential to the incorporation of the genre into his own music, including Aaliyah, and Usher. Drake has also credited several dancehall artists for later influencing his Caribbean-inflected style, including Vybz Kartel, whom he has called one of his "biggest inspirations".
Drake is known for his egotistical lyrics, technical ability, and integration of personal backstory when dealing with relationships with women. His vocal abilities have been lauded for an audible contrast between typical hip-hop beats and melody, with sometimes abrasive rapping coupled with softer accents, delivered on technical lyricism. His songs often include audible changes in lyrical pronunciation in parallel with his upbringing in Toronto, and connections with Caribbean and Middle Eastern countries which include such phrases as "ting", "touching road", "talkin' boasy" and "gwanin' wassy". Most of his songs contain R&B and Canadian hip hop elements, and he combines rapping with singing. He credits his father with the introduction of singing into his rap mixtapes, which have become a staple in his musical repertoire. His incorporation of melody into technically complex lyrics was supported by Lil Wayne, and has subsequently been a critically acclaimed component to Drake's singles and albums. His rapping ability has been noted as "polarizing", and has contributed to him being named one of the most divisive rappers of his generation by multiple critics and media publications.
The lyrical content that Drake deploys is typically considered to be emotional or boastful. However, Drake is often revered for incorporating "degrading" themes of money, drug use, and women into newer, idealized contexts, often achieving this through his augmentation of the typical meaning of phrases in which he combines an objective and subjective perspective into one vocal delivery. His songs often maintain tension between "pause and pace, tone timbre, and volume and vocal fermata." Drake is credited with innovating what has been referred to as "hyper-reality rap", which is characterized by its focus on themes of celebrity as being distinct from the "real world."
The Washington Post editor Maura Judkis credits Drake for popularizing the phrase "YOLO" in the United States, with his single, "The Motto", which includes, "You only live once: that's the motto, nigga, YOLO." Drake later popularized the term "The Six" in 2015 in relation his hometown Toronto, subsequently becoming a point of reference to the city. Furthermore, the subject matter of his artistry often revolving around relationships, have had widespread impact on social media through photo captions commonly used to reference emotions or personal situations. However, his lyrical contents have had a negative reception from fans and critics deeming him as sensitive; a trait that is understood as being antithetical to hip hop culture. June 10 was declared "Drake Day" in Houston, Texas. In the aftermath of his highly publicized feud with Meek Mill, Drake was also endorsed by fast food restaurants Burger King and Whataburger. In 2016, Drake visited Drake University after a show in Des Moines, in response to an extensive social media campaign by students that began in 2009, advocating for his appearance.
The music video for "Hotline Bling" went viral, due to Drake's eccentric choices in dancing. The video has been remixed, memed, and was heavily commented on due to Drake's unconventional nature on the song, causing it to gain popularity on YouTube, spawning several parodies. Drake has also been critiqued for his expensive, product placement-heavy attire, exampled by the video for "Hotline Bling". Drake modelled a $1,500 Moncler Puffer Jacket, a $400 Acne Studios turtleneck, and limited edition Timberland 6" Classic Boots. This foresaw collaborations between OVO and Canada Goose, in which various items of clothing were produced. Drake had also released his own collection of Air Jordans, dubbed the "Air Jordan OVOs". Moreover, his style and dress sense have caused GQ magazine to describe him as "[one of] the most stylish men alive".
In 2012, singer Ericka Lee filed a lawsuit against Drake for the usage of her voice on "Marvins Room". Claiming to have provided the female vocals, Lee also alleged she was owed songwriting credits and royalties. Despite Drake's legal team countering by claiming that Lee simply requested a credit in the liner notes of the album, the matter was resolved in February 2013, with both parties agreeing to an out-of-court settlement. In 2014, Drake was sued for $300,000 for sampling "Jimmy Smith Rap", a 1982 single by jazz musician, Jimmy Smith. The suit was filed by Smith's estate, who stated Drake never asked for permission when sampling it for the intro on "Pound Cake / Paris Morton Music 2", claiming Smith himself would have disagreed as he disliked hip hop. Drake later won the lawsuit in 2017, with federal judge William Pauley ruling the content used was transformative, and there was no liability for copyright infringement. Also in 2014, it emerged that Drake was sued by rapper Rappin' 4-Tay, claiming Drake misused his lyrics on when collaborating with YG on the song "Who Do You Love?". He sought $100,000 for mistreatment and artistic theft, which Drake paid to the rapper later that year.
Drake and Chris Brown were allegedly involved in a physical altercation in June 2012, when Drake and his entourage threw glass bottles at Brown in a SoHo nightclub in Manhattan, New York City. Chris Brown tweeted about the incident and released a song criticizing Drake weeks later. Despite no response from Drake, he and Brown both appeared in a comedic skit for the 2014 ESPY Awards, and rehearsed the skit together prior to the televised airing, virtually ending the dispute. Drake also caused a nightclub in Oklahoma City to close down, due to his usage of marijuana and other illegal drugs being prevalent at the club.
In December 2014, Drake was involved in another altercation, being punched by Diddy outside the LIV nightclub in Miami, Florida. The altercation was reported to be over Drake's usage of the instrumental for "0 to 100 / The Catch Up", allegedly produced by Boi-1da for Diddy, before Drake appropriated the track for his own use. Drake was later rushed to the ER after aggravating an old arm injury during the dispute. Drake was also involved in a feud with Tyga, stemming from Tyga's negative comments towards him during an interview with Vibe. Drake would later respond on "6 God" and "6PM in New York", which has been interpreted as directly involved in Tyga's abrupt removal from Young Money Entertainment.
Further controversy arose in July 2015, when it was alleged by Meek Mill that Drake had used ghostwriters during recording sessions for "RICO", one of the lead singles off of Mill's second studio album. This proceeded further allegations that Drake did not help in promotion of the album, due to Mill discovering the ghostwriter, widely believed to be Quentin Miller. Despite Miller collaborating with Drake and receiving past credits, Mill assured that Miller had written Drake's verse for "R.I.C.O.". Soon after, Funkmaster Flex aired reference tracks in support of Mill's claims, notably for "R.I.C.O.", "10 Bands", and "Know Yourself". This prompted Drake to respond with two diss tracks, entitled "Charged Up" and "Back to Back", in the space of four days. Mill would later respond with "Wanna Know", before removing it from SoundCloud weeks later. Despite subliminal disses from either artist, the feud has not been officially reignited. Drake would further seek to denounce Funkmaster Flex during his Madison Square Garden shows on the Summer Sixteen Tour. Following Meek Mill's sentencing of two to four years for probation violation, Drake stated "Free Meek Mill" at a concert in Australia, while also seeming to end the feud on "Family Feud".
In 2016, Drake was embroiled in a feud with Joe Budden, stemming from Budden's derogatory comments when reviewing Views. Drake would allegedly respond to Budden through "4PM in Calabasas", prompting Budden to respond with two diss tracks in the space of five days, echoing the same sentiment Drake deployed during his feud with Meek Mill. Drake would later appear on "No Shopping" alongside French Montana, directly referencing Budden throughout the song. However, French Montana claimed that Drake's verse was recorded before the release of Budden's diss tracks. Despite Budden releasing two further songs in reference to Drake, he has yet to officially respond to Budden. In the same year, Drake mocked Kid Cudi for his mental health, drug use and suicidal urges on "Two Birds, One Stone" after Cudi launched an expletive-filled rant on the artist on Twitter. Cudi later checked into rehab following the release of the song, and continued to disparage Drake in further tweets.
Drake has purported to have been in reported feuds with DMX, Kendrick Lamar, Jay Z, Common, Pusha T, The Weeknd, XXXTentacion, Tory Lanez, and Ludacris, although the latter two have been reported to be resolved.
Businesses and ventures
Drake garnered an endorsement deal with Sprite following his mention of drinking purple drank, a concoction that contains Sprite as a key ingredient. Drake has also ventured into developing his own alcoholic whiskey beverage, titled "Virginia Black". In 2016, Drake spoke on the shooting of Alton Sterling, publishing an open letter expressing his concern for the safety of ethnic minorities against police brutality in the United States. Drake also hosts an annual "Drake Night" segment with the Toronto Raptors organization. He would also donate $200,000 in order to aid relief efforts in Houston as a result of Hurricane Harvey. Drake was one of the artists, alongside Pharrell and Katy Perry, to exclusively own an Apple Watch before the smartwatch saw public release. Business magazine Forbes later reported his pre-tax earnings at $94 million between June 2016 to June 2017, being one of the highest-paid celebrities during that period. In February 2018, following the single "God's Plan" debut at no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, Drake donated $50,000 to a Miami homeless shelter and giving a University of Miami student $50,000 to help with her tuition. Stereogum said Drake "kept up the spending spree" by then buying everyone's groceries at a Miami supermarket.
During the composition of Nothing Was the Same, Drake started his own record label in late 2012 with producer Noah "40" Shebib, and business partner, Oliver El-Khatib. Drake sought for an avenue to release his own music, as well helping in the nurturing of other artists, while Shebib and El-Khatib yearned to start a label with a distinct sound, prompting the trio to team up to form OVO Sound. The name is an abbreviation derived from the October's Very Own moniker Drake used to publish his earlier projects. The label is currently distributed by Warner Bros. Records.
Drake, 40 and PartyNextDoor were the label's inaugural artists. The label houses artists including Drake, PartyNextDoor, Majid Jordan, OB O'Brien, Roy Woods, dvsn, Plaza, and Kash Doll, as well as producers including 40, Boi-1da, T-Minus, Mike Zombie, Nineteen85, and Future the Prince. OVO Sound has released six albums, with two certified platinum or higher by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
On September 30, 2013, Drake was announced as the new "global ambassador" for the Toronto Raptors, thereby joining the executive committee of the NBA franchise, in conjunction with the announcement of the 2016 NBA All-Star Game being awarded to the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. This would also be the setting where Drake was given The Key to the City. In the role, it was announced that Drake would help to promote and serve as a host of festivities, beginning with the All-Star Game. He would also provide consulting services to rebrand the team, helping to redesign its image and clothing line in commemoration of the franchise's 20th anniversary. When attending the press conference hosted by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment CEO, Tim Leiweke, to formally announce Drake's hiring by the franchise, Drake stated, "obviously, I won't be able to be in the building every day but I am extremely dedicated to it. I do take it very seriously as a new job and a new chapter in my life."
Following the launch of Apple Music, a music and video streaming service developed by Apple Inc., the company announced Drake as the figurehead for the platform at their Worldwide Developers Conference in 2015, with the artist also penning an exclusivity deal with the service worth a reported $19 million. This saw all future solo releases by Drake becoming available first on Apple Music, before seeing roll out to other streaming services and music retailers. Drake had also developed the OVO Sound Radio station on Beats 1, which is utilized as the primary avenue for debuting singles and projects, with the station overseeing over 300 million unique users when it debuted More Life. Drake's partnership with Apple Music has largely been credited for the platform's sharp success, as it attained 10 million subscribers after six months, as well as giving birth to exclusivity from artists, with many independent and signed artists, such as Frank Ocean and The Weeknd, also brokering exclusivity deals with streaming services.
Two months prior to the release of Views, Drake announced the development of Virginia Black, a bourboun-based whiskey which was slated for release the upcoming months. This would be his second foray into selling foodstuffs, previously partnering with celebrity chef Susur Lee to open Fring's Restaurant in Toronto. The beverage was created and also distributed alongside Proximo Spirits, as well as with Brent Hocking, a spirits producer who founded DeLeón Tequila in 2008. The company described the partnership as "fruitful [as they] share a passion for style, music, and the pursuit of taste [on] a quest to redefine whiskey."
The product was officially launched in June 2016, and contained personally selected collections of two, three and four-year old Bourbon whiskies. The company's sole flavor sold over 4,000 bottles being in the first week of release, which was restricted to domestic sale. The brand was also promoted and marketed through Drake's music and various tours, such as being part of the "Virginia Black VIP Lounge" additional package available for purchase during the Summer Sixteen Tour. Virginia Black shipped a further 30,000 units when rollout was extended to select international markets in late 2016. The company later aired commercials with Dennis Graham which featured the tagline of "The Realest Dude Ever" (in reference toward "The Most Interesting Man in the World" tagline employed by Dos Equis) after extending the sale of the drink to various European countries in 2017.
- Away from Home Tour (2010)
- Club Paradise Tour (2012)
- Would You Like a Tour? (2013–2014)
- Jungle Tour (2015; six date promotional tour)
- Boy Meets World Tour (2017)
|2008||Charlie Bartlett||A/V Jones||Minor role|
|2008||Mookie's Law||Chet Walters||Short film|
|2012||Ice Age: Continental Drift||Ethan||Voice role|
|2013||Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues||Ron Burgundy fan||Cameo|
|2014||Think Like a Man Too||Himself||Cameo|
|2017||The Carter Effect||Himself||Documentary, also executive producer|
|2001||Blue Murder||Joey Tamarin||Episode: "Out-of-Towners: Part 1"|
|2001–2007||Degrassi: The Next Generation||Jimmy Brooks||145 episodes|
|2002||Soul Food||Fredrick||Episode: "From Dreams to Nightmares"|
|2002||Conviction||Teen Fish||Television movie|
|2005||Best Friend's Date||Dater||Episode: "Season Finale"|
|2005||Instant Star||Himself||Episode: "Personality Crisis"|
|2008||The Border||PFC Gordon Harvey||Episode: "Stop Loss"|
|2009||Being Erica||Ken||Episode: "What I Am Is What I Am"|
|2009||Sophie||Ken||Episode: "An Outing with Sophie"|
|2009||Beyond the Break||Himself||Episode: "One 'Elle' of a Party"|
|2011||Saturday Night Live||Himself (musical guest)||Episode: "Anna Faris/Drake"|
|2012||Punk'd||Himself||Episode: "Drake/Kim Kardashian"|
|2014||Saturday Night Live||Himself (host/musical guest)||Episode: "Drake"|
|2016||Saturday Night Live||Himself (host/musical guest)||Episode: "Drake"|
Awards and nominations
Drake has had four songs being certified triple platinum in the US for combined sales plus streaming units as of July 2016, with "Best I Ever Had", "Jumpman", "Over", and "Hold On, We're Going Home". He has also had three exceed 4 million in equivalent units, with "Take Care" and "Headlines", while "Hotline Bling" was certified quintuple platinum with over 5 million units. Drake's first four solo studio albums, all of which have gone platinum, have received numerous awards and generally positive reviews. Views, his fourth solo album, became his fourth consecutive number one album in the US
As of 2017, Drake has won a total of 3 Grammy Awards from 27 nominations. He has also won 2 MTV Video Music Awards, and has been ranked by Complex at number one on their "Best Rapper Alive Every Year Since 1979" list, awarding Drake the accolade in 2011, 2012, and 2015. Billboard editor Ernest Baker stated "Drake managed to rule hip-hop in 2014", adding "the best rapper in 2014 didn't need a new album or hit single to prove his dominance". Drake was listed fourth on the Billboard year-end chart for Top Artists of 2015, third on the same chart in 2016 and was named the IFPI Global Recording Artist of 2016. In 2017, he surpassed Adele's record for most wins at the Billboard Music Awards in one night, winning 13 awards from 22 nominations.
Pitchfork ranked Nothing Was the Same as the 41st best album of the decade "so far"—between 2010 and 2014, and have ranked him in the fifth position in the publication's list of the "Top 10 Music Artists" since 2010.
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