Drake has been a household name for many years. Since his career took off in 2001 when he starred in the hit teenage drama “Degrassi”, to his most recent album release in 2020, Dark Lane Demo Tapes. Everyone has probably heard a Drake song at some point, either on the radio or otherwise. But who is Drake really? How did he become so famous?
The famous rapper was born as Audrey Drake Graham in Toronto, Canada on October 24th, 1986. His father was also known for music and was a drummer for Jerry Lee Lewis. He comes from a Catholic and Jewish background. When he was just five years old, his parents got divorced and he lived with his mother primarily. He had a Bar Mitzvah when he was 13 and went to a predominantly white high school at Forest Hill Collegiate Institute. Drake has said that it was difficult growing up because “nobody understood what it was like to be Black and Jewish.” It is a good chance that many of his childhood experiences fueled the beginnings of his music career, and he undoubtedly gets a lot of his influences from his life experiences, especially from his formative years.
Beginnings in Acting
One of Drake’s classmates in high school was actually the person who led him into the world of Hollywood. His classmate’s father was a talent agent, and Drake ended up auditioning for him, and shortly after he became Drake’s agent. Not long after that, Drake got the role of Jimmy Brooks in the Canadian tv show Degrassi: The Next Generation. Drake’s character Jimmy was a basketball star who becomes handicapped after being shot. He decided to drop out of school to pursue acting but ended up graduating eventually in 2012. He was on the show Degrassi for a total of seven years. In fact, he even won an award for best ensemble in 2002.
While Drake was starring on Degrassi, he was also pursuing music. In 2006, he released a mixtape entitled, Room for Improvement. Drake was supposedly inspired to write this album by Jay-Z and Clipse. In 2007, he released another one entitled Comeback Season. In 2008, the producers of Drake’s show decided to get rid of his character. Almost right after that happened, Drake received a call from Lil Wayne who asked him to come on tour with him.
Developing a Career in Music
Back in 2010, Drake came out with his first studio album which was called Thank Me Later. The album was number one on the American and Canadian charts and quickly went platinum.
A year later in 2011, he released another album, Take Care. This album received a Grammy in 2013 for the best rap album. His career took off rather quickly, with the Chicago Tribune noting that Drake’s honesty in his subject matter is what differentiated him from his peers. Drake started to resonate with people, on a global scale.
Feuds Over the Years
It’s all too common for rappers to get into feuds over things like girls, songs, or something someone said out of context. Drake had a feud in the past with Chris Brown over Rhianna. They even got into a physical fight in 2012 at a nightclub in New York. That resulted in some legal consequences for the two of them.
Around the same time, Drake had been sued by his former girlfriend over a song that she had contributed to. Ericka Lee wanted a co-writing credit on Drake’s song “Marvin’s Room”.
Drake also feuded with Meek Mill over a song they had collaborated on. The beef started in July of 2015 when Meek Mill accused Drake of employing a ghostwriter on one of his most recent hits. He said, “Stop comparing drak to me too…. He don’t write his own raps! That’s why he ain’t tweet my album because we found out!”
Drake did not immediately respond, but instead waited to post a text screenshot where he replies coldly, “I signed up for greatness. This comes with it.” That response is very typical and Drake’s condescension really shines through. The beef concluded with Drake taking shots at Meek Mill’s relationship with Nicki Minaj
Becoming a Household Name
After his career took off, Drake released a number of extremely popular albums in a row. Drake has reportedly had 224 “Hot 100 Songs” according to Billboard. In 2013 he released Nothing Was the Same which sold 658,000 copies within the first week. Drake then starred in Saturday Night Live in 2014 returning to his acting roots. He was praised for his comedic timing by critics on the show. His song “Hotline Bling” reached number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won two Grammys and an American Music Award. In 2016 his song “One Dance” became Spotify’s most-streamed song ever, getting over 882 million plays.
In total, he has received 180 awards including 5 American Music Awards, 13 BET Awards, 4 Grammy Awards, and several other smaller or genre specific awards.
His genre is a blend of R&B and Hip-Hop that people find very easy to listen to and enjoy, and is actually very relatable.
Drake’s Other Ventures
In 2016 Drake announced that he was working with Brent Hocking, an entrepreneur, on Virginia Black, a bourbon whiskey. The company sold 4,00 bottles in the first week and an additional 30,000 internationally during 2016. He promoted the whiskey while on tour and was featured in a number of commercials for the brand.
Where Does Drake Live
Drake has an $8 million dollar home in Hidden Hills, California. It has a tennis court, a wine cellar, a gym, and a library. It is on 3 acres of land and the house itself is 12,500 square feet. Drake is known for having huge pool parties at his home, as the pool is basically the centerpiece of the mansion.
Currently, Drake is in the middle of building his dream house in Toronto. It is located in Bridle Path and has cost him about $6.7 million. It is 35,000 square feet and is being built to Drake’s specific requirements.
Overall, Drake’s fame is completely a result of his own hard work combined with a little bit of luck and some musical hits that have been very popular. As a person, he is very outgoing and passionate about things like sports, video games, and music. Currently there are several rumors about a new album. According to an internal RapTV article, the anticipation for his new project is mounting. Drake is currently also building hype with posts on his Instagram that have caused speculation to mount and have also caused people to believe that there will be no singles released before the full project is released to the public.
In the past, the summer has been dominated by his music releases; for example his summer 2018 album release spawned memes and grew his fanbase extensively.