To some of us, Drake will always be Aubrey Graham, the actor who portrayed Jimmy Brooks on the award winning teen drama, Degrassi: The Next Generation.
To others, Drake is a Canadian singer, rapper, and numerous Grammy award winner.
Whoever he is, Drake has made a name for himself.
Aubrey Drake Graham was born on October 24, 1986 in Toronto to a Black, American father and a Jewish, Canadian mother.
Music is in Drake’s blood. His father, Dennis Graham, was a drummer for Jerry Lee Lewis and his uncle Larry Graham played bass for Sly and the Family Stone.
Drake’s maternal grandmother babysat Aretha Franklin.
Drake’s parents divorced when he was five years old and he was raised by his mother, Sandi Graham. He attended Jewish day school, had a Bar Mitzvah when he was 13 and observed the Jewish High Holy Days.
Drake says, “At the end of the day, I consider myself a Black man because I’m more immersed in Black culture than any other. Being Jewish is kind of a cool twist. It makes me unique.”
In 2001, Drake landed a role on Degrassi: The Next Generation. He played Jimmy Brooks, a basketball star who is shot by a classmate and left paralyzed from the wait down.
Drake dropped out of his school to pursue his acting career and only graduated from high school in 2012.
In 2006 while still on Degrassi, he released his first mixtape, Room for Improvement. In 2007, he released another mixtape, Comeback Season, which included Drake’s first single and music video, “Replacement Girl”.
Early in 2008, Drake was invited to join Lil Wayne’s I Am Music Tour.
Following the tour, Drake recorded a number of songs with Lil Wayne and released his third mixtape, So Far Gone, in February 2009. It featured the infectious single “Best I Ever Had,” which peaked at No. 2 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 singles chart while “Successful,” a collaboration with Wayne and Trey Songz, went gold and made Rolling Stone’s “25 Best Songs of 2009” list.
In 2009, Drake signed a record deal with Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment.
He released his first studio album, Thank Me Later on June 15, 2010. The album debuted at No. 1 on both the American and Canadian album charts and was certified platinum. Jay Z and Kanye West contributed to the album.
Drake released his second studio album Take Care in November 2011. It won the 2013 Grammy award for best rap album, and included the songs “Headlines,” “Make Me Proud” and “The Motto.”
In the spring of 2016, Drake’s fourth studio album Views, debuted at No. 1 and spent 13 non-consecutive weeks atop the Billboard charts. The sultry single, “Hotline Bling,” earned Drake two Grammy wins for best rap song and best rap/sung performance.
Drake took aim at the Grammy awards for sticking him in the rap category.
He said, “I’m a Black artist, I’m apparently a rapper, even though “Hotline Bling” is not a rap song. I won two awards but I don’t even want them.”
In May 2017 Drake won 13 awards at the Billboard Music Awards including top artist, top male artist, top Billboard 100 album, top Billboard 200 artist and top hot 100 artist. He broke Adele’s record for the artist with the most wins in one year.
June 2018 saw the release of Drake’s his fifth studio album, Scorpion, featuring contributions from Jay-Z and Future. The album shattered streaming records in its first 24 hour and Drake became the first artist to top 1 billion streams in one week.
Drake won his fourth Grammy Award in 2019, winning Best Rap Song for “God’s Plan”.
Outside of music, Drake has many interests.
In 2012, Drake started the “October’s Very Own” or OVO Sound record label with long time collaborator and producer 40.
Drake was announced as the new global ambassador of the Toronto Raptors in 2013, and in 2016 he developed Virginia Black bourbon whiskey with American entrepreneur Brent Hocking.
On Oct. 11, 2017, Drake’s son Adonis was born to French painter and former model Sophie Brussaux.
Drake was also an executive producer on HBO’s drama Euphoria in 2019 and recently appeared in a Super Bowl commercial as a stand-in for Jake from State Farm.
In 2021 we are all waiting for Drake’s sixth studio album, Certified Lover Boy.
Whoever he is in the future, Drake will surely impress.
SOURCES: BILLBOARD.COM, BIOGRAPHY.COM, THEBLAST.COM, THEGLOBEANDMAIL.COM, THESPIRITSBUSINESS.COM, VULTURE.COM