Drake (musician)


Drake at the Cisco Ottawa Bluefest in 2010
Born Aubrey Drake Graham
(1986-10-24) October 24, 1986
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • actor
Years active 2001–present
Website drakeofficial.com

Musical career

Instruments Vocals
Associated acts

Aubrey Drake Graham (born October 24, 1986),[1] known simply as Drake, is a Canadian rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, and actor.[2][3] 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.[4]

Drake released his debut studio album Thank Me Later in 2010,[5] 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,[6][7][8][9] with certifications of quadruple and triple platinum respectively in the U.S., with the former also earning him his first Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. They were followed by two mixtapes, with the trap-influenced If You're Reading This It's Too Late, and a collaboration with Future for What a Time to Be Alive, in 2015. The former was certified double platinum in the U.S..[10] Drake released his fourth album, Views, in 2016, breaking several chart records in the process.[11] Views sat atop the Billboard 200 for ten nonconsecutive weeks, becoming the first album by a solo male to do so in over 10 years. It also saw Drake leading the Billboard Hot 100 and the Billboard 200 simultaneously for eight weeks, breaking the previous record of seven held by both Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. It achieved triple platinum status in the U.S., and earned over 1 million album-equivalent units in the first week of its release.[12][13]

Alongside his Grammy Award win, Drake has won three Juno Awards and six BET Awards. He has the most number one singles on the Hot Rap Songs, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay and Rhythmic Charts.[14][15]

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 of Champagne Papi. Using the "OVO" moniker, Drake has his own clothing line and his own channel on Beats 1. He is also currently acting as the global ambassador for NBA franchise, the Toronto Raptors.[16]

Early life

Drake attended both Forest Hill Collegiate Institute (left) and Vaughan Road Academy (right) 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 practicing 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.[17][18][19][20][21] 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 also had a Bar Mitzvah ceremony.[22][23][24]

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.[22][23][24] As a child, he witnessed his father's arrest while visiting him in Memphis.[25][26] His father would later collaborate with country music group Arkells for a song entitled "Drake's Dad", detailing the events that had occurred following his departure from Drake's early life.[27]

Drake was raised in two polarizing Toronto neighbourhoods; he lived on Weston Road in the city's working-class west end,[25] until the sixth grade. In his youth, he played minor hockey with the Weston Red Wings.[28] Drake would then move to one of the city's affluent neighbourhoods, Forest Hill, in 2000.[29][30] 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.[31] 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]."[25] Drake was often bullied in school for his racial and religious background,[32] and upon realizing that his busy class schedule was detrimental to his burgeoning acting career, Drake dropped out of school.[33] He would later graduate in October 2012.[34]


2001–2005: Degrassi: The Next Generation

At 15, Drake encountered an acting agent who was the father of a high school friend.[35] The agent found Drake a role on Canadian teen drama series Degrassi: The Next Generation. Drake portrayed Jimmy Brooks,[36] 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."[25] He would continue to appear on the show until 2007, returning for sporadic appearances until his character graduated from the school depicted within the show. Overall, Drake appeared in a total of 145 episodes.[37]

2006–2009: Early mixtapes and So Far Gone

Main article: So Far Gone (mixtape)
Drake would sign to Lil Wayne's Young Money Entertainment imprint in 2009.[38]

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.[36] 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.[39] 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 was 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).[40] This prompted the release of an EP, featuring only four songs from the original mixtape, as well as the addition of "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.[41]

Due to the success of the mixtape,[42] Drake was the subject of a bidding war from various labels, often reported as "one of the biggest bidding wars ever".[43] Despite this, it was confirmed that on June 29, 2009, Drake had secured a recording contract with Young Money Entertainment.[44] This was confirmed following the planned lawsuit from Drake and Young Money against an unauthorized album entitled The Girls Love Drake, which was released on iTunes under dubious means.[45]

While participating on the America's Most Wanted Tour in July 2009, Drake fell on stage while performing "Best I Ever Had" in Camden, New Jersey.[46] Drake was confirmed to have torn his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the performance, and underwent surgery on September 8, 2009.

2010–2011: Thank Me Later

Main article: Thank Me Later
Drake performing at the Fox Theater in 2010.

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,[47] and then to May 25, 2010.[48] 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.[47][49]

On March 9, 2010, Drake released the debut single "Over",[50] 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.[51] 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).[52] 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]."[53] The third single and fourth singles, "Miss Me" and "Fancy" respectively,[54] 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.[55] On April 29, it was reportedly announced that Drake had finished Thank Me Later during a show in Kansas City, Missouri.[56]

Thank Me Later was released on June 15, 2010,[57] debuting at number one on the Billboard 200 with sales of over 447,000 copies in its first week.[58] 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. A near-riot ensued after police cancelled the show due to overflowing crowds.[59] The album became the top selling debut album for any artist in 2010,[60] and featured Lil Wayne, Kanye West,[61] and Jay Z.[62]

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[63] prevented Drake from accepting the role.[64] He began the tour on September 20, 2010, in Miami, Florida, performing at 78 shows over four different legs.[65] It concluded in Las Vegas in November 2010.[66] 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.[67][68]

2011–2012: Take Care

Main article: Take Care (album)

Beginning his second effort in the fall of 2010,[69] Drake would announce 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.[70] In November 2010, Drake revealed the title of his next studio album will be Take Care.[71] 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."[72] Drake sought to expand on the low-tempo, sensuous, and dark sonic aesthetic of Thank Me Later.[73][74] Primarily a hip hop album, Drake attempted to incorporate R&B and pop to create a languid, grandiose sound.[75]

Drake performing alongside Bun B in 2011.

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,[76] before ultimately deciding against starring in the movie, to focus on the album. "Dreams Money Can Buy"[77] and "Marvins Room"[73] 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,[78] as well as peaking at number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100,[79] and reaching the top 10 of the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart,[80] coupled with extensive play on contemporary urban radio.[81] Drake would soon release the song's music video on June 28.[82]

"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 highest amount of number one singles on the chart, with 12.[83] It was eventually certified Platinum in both the United States and Canada.[84] 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.[85] "Make Me Proud" was released as the album's second single, on October 16.[86] 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.[79] 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.[87] "Make Me Proud" soon became Drake's fourth consecutive single to receive Platinum certification by the RIAA.[88]

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.[89][90][91] Drake had also begun collaborations with Rick Ross for a mixtape entitled Y.O.L.O., but was decided against in favor of increased concern for their respective studio albums.[92][93]

Take Care was released on November 15, 2011, and received generally positive reviews from music critics.[7] John McDonnell of NME dubbed it "an affecting masterpiece" and commended its "delicate, mellifluous sound and unashamedly candid, emotive lyrics."[94] Pitchfork Media'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."[95] 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."[96] 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."[97] It was also certified quadruple platinum by the RIAA in 2016, with sales for the album marking 2.6 million in the US,[98] 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,[78] and February 21, 2012 respectively.[99] 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.[100][101] 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."[102] 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.[103] The song was also featured on the channel's "Pop Songs You Must Hear" list of 2011.[104] "HYFR" was the final single to be released from the album, and became certified Gold.[105][106] It would later win the MTV Video Music Award for Best Hip-Hop Video in 2012.[107][108] Drake was soon ranked at number two on MTV's "Hottest MCs in the Game" list in 2011.[109]

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.[110] Drake would soon star in Ice Age: Continental Drift, providing the voice for Ethan.[111]

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 expand the British producer's influence over his next album.[112] Drake had also revealed that the album would stylistically differ from Take Care, departing from the ambient production and despondent lyrics prevalent in the album.[113]

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.[114][115] 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.[116] 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.[117] Drake felt inspired by Miami Vice during the song's composition, incorporating the dramatic elements seen in the show into the song's music video, which would win him his second MTV Video Music Award in 2014.[118][119][120] Drake would appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, performing the album's third single, "Too Much", alongside featured artist, Sampha.[121]

Nothing Was the Same was released on September 24, 2013, debuting at number one on 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 favorable 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.[122] 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.[123] It became the 22nd most successful tour of the year, grossing an estimated $46,000,000.[124] 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".[125][126][127] Drake also performed in Dubai, being one of the only artists ever to perform in the city.[128] In late 2014, Drake would announce that he had begun recording sessions for his fourth studio album.[129]

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[130] or a mixtape,[131] its commercial stance quantifies it as his fourth retail project with Cash Money Records.[132][133] 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.[134] Drake proceeded If You're Reading This It's Too Late with a collaborative mixtape with Future,[135][136] which was recorded in Atlanta in just under a week.[137]

External image
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.[138] 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.[139] Drake appeared in the cover of The Fader for their 100th issue.[140]

2016: Views and More Life

Drake performing at the Summer Sixteen Tour in Toronto.
Main articles: Views (album) 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.[141] "Summer Sixteen" debuted at number six on the U.S. 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."[142][143][144] It was also interpreted as a diss track towards Tory Lanez, who was unhappy at Drake popularizing the term "The Six" when referencing Toronto.[145][146] Drake would also crash a Bat Mitzvah in New York City on February 20, performing at the event.[147]

Drake soon released the album's lead singles, "Pop Style" and "One Dance", on April 5. Both debuted within the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100,[148] however, the latter proved more commercially successful, with "One Dance" becoming Drake's first number-one single in Canada, and on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, as a leading artist.[149][150] 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.[151][152] During an episode for OVO Sound Radio, Drake confirmed the album's release date of April 29, through a tweet and various promotional videos.[153] On October 15, "One Dance" became Spotify's most-streamed song ever, amassing over 882 million plays as of October 2016.[154]

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.[155][156] 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 U.S., 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.[12][13][157] 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.[158] He would later plan to release a short film entitled Please Forgive Me.[159]

Drake would return to host Saturday Night Live on May 14, serving as the show's musical guest.[160] This foresaw Drake being named as a member of the Forbes Five, which ranks the wealthiest artists in hip hop. Drake placed fifth, following Birdman, Jay Z, Dr. Dre, and Diddy respectively.[16] Drake and Future would soon announce the Summer Sixteen Tour, in support for their collective mixtape, and respective studio albums. This marks Drake's third co-headlining tour, which began in Austin, Texas on July 20, and is expected to conclude in Newark, New Jersey.[161][162][163] On July 23, Drake would announce that he is working on a new mixtape, scheduled to be released in early 2017,[164] and was later preconized as the headline act for the 2016 iHeartRadio Music Festival.[165] The latter dates of the Summer Sixteen Tour were postponed, however, due to Drake suffering an ankle injury.[166] During the 2016 OVO Festival, Kanye West would confirm that he and Drake would begin working on a collaborative album.[167] Soon after, the music video for "Child's Play" would be released, depicting Drake and former lover Tyra Banks encountering relationship issues at the Cheesecake Factory.[168] 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.[169]

At the 2016 BET Hip-Hop Awards, Drake received the most nominations, with 10,[170] winning the awards for Album of the Year and Best Hip-Hop Video.[171][172] Drake would later announce the Boy Meets World Tour on October 10, with twenty six dates announced for the course of the tour in Europe.[173] Seven additional dates were added a day later, due to overwhelming demand.[174] Soon after, during an episode of OVO Sound Radio, Drake confirmed he would be releasing a project entitled More Life in December, however later he pushed back the date in November. The project would feature as a "playlist of original music", rather than be classified as a mixtape or a solo album.[175] 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 in 2015.[176]



Drake has credited both Kanye West (left) and Aaliyah (right) as being his biggest musical influences.

Drake has cited several hip hop artists as influencing his rapping style, including Kanye West,[177] Jay Z,[178] and Lil Wayne.[179] Drake has also attributed various R&B artists as influential to the incorporation of the genre into his own music, including Aaliyah,[180] and Usher.[181]

Musical style and rapping technique

Drake is known for his egotistical lyrics, technical ability, and integration of personal backstory when dealing with relationships with women.[182] 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.[183] 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".[183] Most of his songs contain R&B and Canadian hip hop elements, and he combines rapping with singing.[184] 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.[185] 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.[186]

The lyrical content that Drake deploys is typically considered to be emotional[187] or boastful.[188] 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."[189] 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."[190]

Public image

The Washington Post editor Maura Judkis credits Drake for popularizing the phrase "YOLO" in the United States, with his single, "The Motto" stating: "You only live once: that's the motto, nigga, YOLO."[191] Drake began referring to his hometown of Toronto as "The Six" in early 2015, and has subsequently popularized the term to reference the city.[192] Also, due to subject matters depicted within his songs, which commonly revolve around relationships with varying figures, Drake's lyrics have been widely used on social media to as captions to photos, often to reference emotions or personal situations.[193][194][195] June 10 was declared "Drake Day" in Houston, Texas.[196][197][198] Drake garnered an endorsement deal with Sprite, following his admission to drinking purple drank, a concoction synonymous with the region. The drink contains Sprite as a key ingredient.[199][200] Drake has also ventured into developing his own alcoholic beverage, titled "Virginia Black Whiskey".[201] 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.[202] Drake was later endorsed by fast food restaurants Burger King and Whataburger following his feud with Meek Mill.[203] Drake also visited the Drake University after a show in Des Moines.[204][205] Drake also hosts a "Drake Night" segment with the Toronto Raptors organization on an annual basis.[206]

The music video for "Hotline Bling" went viral, due to Drake's eccentric choices in dancing.[207] The video has been remixed, memed, and was heavily commented on due to Drake's unconventional nature on the song,[208] causing it gain popularity on YouTube, spawning several parodies on the website.[209] Drake has also been critiqued for his expensive, product placement heavy attire, exampled by the video for "Hotline Bling". Drake modeled a $1,500 Moncler Puffer Jacket, a $400 Acne Studios turtleneck, and a pair of limited edition Timberland 6" Classic Boots.[210][211] This foresaw collaborations between OVO and Canada Goose,[212] in which various items of clothing were produced.[213] Drake had also released his own collection of Air Jordans, dubbed the "Air Jordan OVOs".[214] Drake was one of the artists, alongside Pharrell and Katy Perry, to exclusively own a Apple Watch before the smartwatch saw public release.[215] His style and dress sense has seen him described as "[one of] the most stylish men alive" by GQ magazine.[216]


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.[217] 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.[218] 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, claiming Drake never asked for permission when sampling it for the intro on "Pound Cake / Paris Morton Music 2".[219][220] Despite the initial suit, it is unclear whether it has been resolved.

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.[221] Chris Brown tweeted about the incident and released a song criticizing Drake weeks later.[222][223][224] 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.[225][226] 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.[227]

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.[228] Drake was also involved in a feud with Tyga, stemming from Tyga's negative comments towards him during an interview with Vibe.[229] 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.[230]

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.[231] Further controversy arose in July 2015, when it was alleged by Meek Mill that Drake had used ghostwriters during recording sessions for "R.I.C.O.", 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.[232] 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"[233] and "Back to Back",[234] in the space of four days. Mill would later respond with "Wanna Know",[235] before removing it from SoundCloud weeks later.[236] Despite subliminal disses[237][238][239] from either artist,[240] 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.[241][242]

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,[243] he has yet to officially respond to Budden.[244]

Drake has purported to have been in reported feuds with Tory Lanez,[245] DMX, Ludacris,[246] Kendrick Lamar,[247] Jay Z, Common, Kid Cudi, and Pusha T.[248]

Business career

OVO Sound

Main article: OVO Sound

During the composition of Nothing Was the Same, Drake started his own record label in late 2012 with producer, Noah "40" Shebib. Drake sought for an avenue to release his own music, as well helping in the nurturing of other artists, while 40 yearned to start a label to form a distinct production sound, prompting the two to team up to form OVO Sound.[249] 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.

The logo of Drake's OVO Sound imprint.

Drake, 40 and PartyNextDoor were the label's inaugural artists. The label houses artists including Drake, PartyNextDoor, Majid Jordan, OB O'Brien, Roy Woods and dvsn, and producers including 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).

Toronto Raptors

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.[250][251][252] This would also be the setting where Drake was given The Key to the City.[253] 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.[254][255] When attending the press conference hosted by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment CEO, Tim Leiweke,[255] 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."[256][257]


Main article: Drake discography

Studio albums

Extended plays

Commercial mixtapes


Awards and nominations

Drake has had four songs being certified triple platinum in the U.S. for combined sales plus streaming units[258] as of July 2016, with "Best I Ever Had",[259] "Jumpman",[260] "Over",[261] and "Hold On, We're Going Home".[262] He has also had three exceed 4 million in equivalent units, with "Take Care" and "Headlines",[263][264] while "Hotline Bling" was certified quintuple platinum with over 5 million units.[265] Drake's first four solo studio albums, all of which have gone platinum, have received numerous awards and generally positive reviews.[266] Views, his fourth solo album, became his fourth consecutive number one album in the U.S.[267]

As of 2016, Drake has won a total of 1 Grammy Award from 27 nominations.[268] 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.[269] 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".[270] Drake was listed fourth on the Billboard year-end chart for Top Artists of 2015.[271]

The Pitchfork online music publication ranked Nothing Was the Same as the 41st best album of the decade "so far"—between 2010 and 2014,[272] and have ranked him in the fifth position in the publication's list of the "Top 10 Music Artists" since 2010.[273][274]






Year Film Role Notes
2008 Charlie Bartlett A/V Jones
2008 Mookie's Law Chet Walters Short film
2011 Breakaway[275][276] Himself Cameo
2012 Ice Age: Continental Drift Ethan Voice
2013 Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Ron Burgundy fan Cameo
2014 Think Like a Man Too Himself Cameo


Year Title Role Notes
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"[277]
2016 Saturday Night Live Himself (host/musical guest) Episode: "Drake"

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