Born: Aubrey Drake Graham
October 24, 1986 (age 31)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Residence: Hidden Hills, California, U.S.
Occupation: Rapper singer-songwriter record producer-actor, entrepreneur
Years active: 2001–present
Net worth: $90 million (May 2017)
Genres: Hip hop R&B
Labels: OVO Sound Young Money Cash Money Republic Aspire Universal Motown
Associated acts: Lil Wayne Future Kanye West Nicki Minaj Rihanna The Weeknd
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 2000s. 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 two further independent projects, Comeback Season and So Far Gone, before signing to Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment in June 2009.
Drake released his debut studio album Thank Me Later in 2010, which debuted at number one on the U.S. 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 U.S.
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 U.S., the U.K., 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 U.S., 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 released the multi-genre More Life in 2017. Described by Drake as a “playlist”, it was his seventh consecutive number one on the Billboard 200, and set multiple streaming records.
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, the most time on the Hot 100 (431 weeks) and the most Hot 100 debuts in a week 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.
Drake attended both Forest Hill Collegiate Institute and Vaughan Road Academy for high school.
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.
Drake credited Kanye West and Aaliyah as being his biggest musical influences.
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.”
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.
In 2017, It was reported that a strange woman broke into Drake’s home wearing his cloth and enjoying his drink
The logo of Drake’s OVO Sound imprint
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).
Main article: Toronto Raptors
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.”
Main article: Apple Music
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.
In 2017, Wizkid had a collaboration with Drake. The song was titled, Come Closer.
Awards and nominations
Drake has had four songs being certified triple platinum in the U.S. 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 U.S.
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.
On Friday (Feb. 16), Drake delivered his highly anticipated “God’s Plan” video, taking the nearly million-dollar budget and giving it all back to people in need in Miami. Drizzy documented his numerous philanthropic efforts, which ranged from people of various ages and backgrounds. Drake’s clever video inspiration and life-changing generosity is going to be tough for any artist to top.