Aubrey Drake Graham, known simply as Drake, is indisputably one of the music industry’s most popular artists. No longer a new kid on the block, Drake has come a long way since playing the role of Jimmy Brooks on “Degrassi.” He now performs for sold-out crowds all over the world. He has earned his spot as one of music’s elite, surpassing Jay-Z with 10 No. 1 singles on Billboard’s Hip-Hop Songs chart earlier in 2012.
Born to Sandi and Dennis Graham on October 24, 1986 in Toronto, Drake is an interesting cultural mix of African American and Jewish Canadian. He spent his childhood traveling between his home in Toronto’s west end and his father’s house in Memphis, Tennessee. Drake later cites the stark contrast between the two environments as an important influence on his music.
His first break came at the age of 15 when a friend’s father landed him a role on the Canadian TV show “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” During his fifth year with the show in 2006, Drake self-released his first mixtape “Room for Improvement,” followed by “Comeback Season” two years later. These two mixtapes, along with his single “Replacement Girl” being featured on BET, were enough to gain interest from rap goliath Lil Wayne. After releasing his third official mixtape, “So Far Gone” in 2009, Drake signed a record deal with Young Money Entertainment.
Since signing with Lil Wayne’s record company, Drake has released two albums: “Thank Me Later” and “Take Care,” both of which have sold over a million copies. He is currently working on his third studio album and has already stated that this installment will feature a much different sound from “Take Care.”
Drake is also one the few rappers who incorporates singing into his music. He is conscious of competitive nature of the industry and is constantly trying to provide his listeners with a unique sound.
Joshua Shapiro is a second-year student majoring in both English and education. He can be reached at JS762110@wcupa.edu.