Drake: Successes and Projects


Aubrey Drake Graham, born on October 24, 1986, is a Canadian rapper, singer, and songwriter who has become an influential figure in contemporary popular music. Often credited for popularizing singing and R&B sensibilities in hip-hop, Drake initially gained recognition as an actor, portraying Jimmy Brooks in the CTV teen drama series Degrassi: The Next Generation from 2001 to 2008. Since pursuing a music career, he has released numerous hit songs and albums, garnering worldwide acclaim and countless awards.

In recent years, Drake has continued to dominate the charts and make headlines in the entertainment world. Most recently, he led the 2023 BET Awards nominations, racking up an impressive seven nods for his work. Apart from his success on the awards circuit, the rapper has expanded his live performance presence, adding more dates to his upcoming “It’s All a Blur” tour with 21 Savage.

Drake has consistently demonstrated his talent and adaptability throughout his career, enabling him to carve out a unique space in the music industry. His unmistakable and catchy sound has made an indelible mark on popular music and promises to keep fans engaged for years.

Early Life and Background

Birth and Family Background

Aubrey Drake Graham was born on October 24, 1986, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. His father, Dennis Graham, is an African-American Catholic drummer from Memphis, Tennessee, who once performed with country musician Jerry Lee Lewis. Meanwhile, his mother, Sandi Graham, is white and Ashkenazi Jewish Canadian. Due to his biracial background, Drake was raised in a multicultural environment.

Education and Upbringing

Drake attended Forest Hill Collegiate Institute for high school, followed by Vaughan Road Academy. Growing up in Forest Hill, a neighborhood in Toronto, he was exposed to an upper-middle-class lifestyle. Moreover, he was raised Jewish and had a Bar Mitzvah, while also attending a Jewish day school.

Drake’s parents divorced when he was five years old, which had a significant impact on his upbringing. He was mainly raised by his mother in Toronto but would also spend time with his father in Memphis during summers, giving him a unique cultural perspective.

Early Interest in Music and Acting

With music in his blood, Drake developed an early interest in music and acting. His father’s career as a drummer undoubtedly influenced his passion for the arts. At the age of 15, Drake landed a role on the Canadian TV teenage drama series “Degrassi: The Next Generation,” which served as a crucial stepping stone in both his acting and music careers.

Acting Career

Degrassi: The Next Generation

Aubrey Drake Graham, known professionally as Drake, gained initial fame as an actor in the Canadian teen drama series, Degrassi: The Next Generation. He joined the show in 2001, and his character, Jimmy Brooks, became one of the series’ main fixtures. Throughout his time on the show, Drake’s character faced various challenges, including being shot by a fellow student, which resulted in Jimmy being confined to a wheelchair.

Drake’s portrayal of Jimmy Brooks earned him recognition and acclaim, including a Young Artist Award in 2002. He remained a part of the show for seven years, until 2009.

Transition to Music

While still on Degrassi, Drake began exploring his passion for music. He released his first-ever mixtape, “Room for Improvement,” in 2006. As he continued to work on his music, Drake successfully transitioned from acting to a full-time music career. In 2008, shortly after leaving Degrassi, he released his third mixtape, “So Far Gone,” which garnered significant attention and launched his music career to new heights.

In 2012, alongside his longtime collaborator Noah “40” Shebib, Drake founded the OVO Sound record label. His music career has since continued to flourish, earning him several awards, including four Grammys, numerous chart records, and multiple No. 1 projects.

Music Career

Early Mixtapes and EPs

Drake started his music career while still appearing on Degrassi, releasing his first mixtape, Room for Improvement, in 2006. He gained recognition for his unique blend of singing and rapping, combining hip-hop with R&B sensibilities. Over the next few years, he released additional mixtapes, further developing his sound and style.

Breakthrough: So Far Gone

In 2009, Drake released his third mixtape, So Far Gone, which featured the hit single “Best I Ever Had.” This project catapulted him into the mainstream, and he subsequently signed with Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment. So Far Gone was later re-released as an EP, earning him his first gold-certified record.

Major Studio Albums

AlbumRelease Year
Thank Me Later2010
Take Care2011
Nothing Was the Same2013
Certified Lover Boy2021

Drake’s debut studio album, Thank Me Later, was released in 2010, and featured collaborations with artists like Lil Wayne and Kanye West. He continued to release successful albums over the years, including Take Care, which won the 2013 Grammy for Best Rap Album. His album Views contained the hit single “One Dance,” which became his first number one song in the US. Drake’s most recent album, Certified Lover Boy, includes the popular track “Way 2 Sexy.”

Collaborations and Features

Throughout his career, Drake has collaborated with numerous artists, such as Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, and 21 Savage. He has also contributed guest verses to songs like “Work” with Rihanna and “Sneakin'” with 21 Savage. These collaborations have cemented his status as a prominent figure in the music industry.

Reception and Awards

Drake has received widespread acclaim for his music, being recognized with numerous awards and nominations. Some highlights include:

  • 7 BET Hip Hop Awards
  • 4 Grammys
  • 27 Billboard Music Awards

His singles, such as “Hotline Bling,” “God’s Plan,” “Nice for What,” and “In My Feelings,” have additionally garnered numerous chart-topping achievements and accolades.

Personal Relationships

Friendships and Rivalries

Drake is known to have some famous friendships, such as his collaboration and bond with rapper Future. The two have released joint projects and appeared on each other’s tracks, showcasing their close relationship within the music industry.

On the other hand, Drake’s relationship with Chris Brown has had its ups and downs. The two had been involved in a heated rivalry, which was further fueled by their connection to Rihanna. However, in recent years, they seem to have reconciled and even collaborated on music together, indicating that they have possibly left their past conflicts behind.

Romantic Relationships

Drake’s romantic life has been a topic of interest throughout his career. The Canadian rapper has dated some high-profile women, and the following are some of his most notable relationships:

  • Rihanna: Drake and Rihanna have been in an on-and-off relationship for several years. They have collaborated on many occasions and shared great chemistry on stage, but their relationship status remains ambiguous.
  • Jennifer Lopez: Although short-lived, Drake and J.Lo were romantically linked at one point in time. Their relationship garnered significant attention, but ultimately did not last.
  • Sophie Brussaux: Drake’s relationship with Sophie Brussaux resulted in the birth of his son, Adonis. Although the couple is not together, they maintain a co-parenting relationship for their child.

Moreover, Drake has been rumored to have connections with other women, such as Jorja Smith and Kiki, keeping his love life in the spotlight. Despite his reputation, the rapper remains private about his personal relationships and focuses on his music career.

Business Ventures and Philanthropy

OVO Sound

OVO Sound, or October’s Very Own Sound, is a record label and collective that was founded by Drake in 2012. Co-created with his longtime friends and collaborators Noah “40” Shebib and Oliver El-Khatib, OVO Sound has become a significant player in the entertainment industry.

The label is home to a number of successful artists, including:

  • Majid Jordan
  • dvsn
  • Roy Woods

Drake has used OVO Sound as a platform to further his influence and set the stage for other musicians to succeed.

Toronto Raptors Ambassadorship

In 2013, the NBA’s Toronto Raptors announced a partnership with Drake, appointing him as their global ambassador. As an ambassador, Drake has played a role in rebranding the team and revitalizing its fan base. He also helps in promoting the city of Toronto, which has contributed to the city’s increased profile in the entertainment and sports industries.

In 2016, the NBA All-Star Game was held in Toronto, with Drake serving as a coach for the Celebrity All-Star Game. The partnership between Drake and the Raptors has been mutually beneficial, showcasing Toronto as a vibrant and diverse city while further expanding Drake’s influence in the sports world.

Charitable Initiatives

Drake is known for his philanthropic work, particularly within his hometown of Toronto. Some notable charitable initiatives he has been involved with include:

  • God’s Plan: In his 2018 music video for “God’s Plan,” Drake gave away the entire budget of nearly $1 million to those in need. The video showcased his donation to various organizations, including a women’s shelter, a youth club, and funding scholarships for college students.
  • Project 150: Drake donated $200,000 to Project 150, a non-profit organization in Las Vegas that supports disadvantaged high school students by providing food, clothing, and education resources.
  • TCDSB Just Give Campaign: In 2013, Drake contributed to the Toronto Catholic District School Board’s Just Give Campaign, which aimed to raise $10,000 for the purchase of malaria-preventing bed nets for Africa.

Through his business ventures and philanthropy, Drake has not only built a successful career but also made a positive impact on the lives of many individuals and communities around the world.

Influence and Legacy

Drake is a truly influential figure in the modern hip-hop landscape, having revolutionized the genre in several ways. He has been a key player in the rise of “sad boy” rap, along with artists like Kid Cudi, and contributed to the increased stateside interest in UK grime. Additionally, Drake’s seamless combination of rapping and singing broke the traditional notion that these elements should be delivered by separate performers, contributing to the fluidity of contemporary hip-hop.

Notably, Drake has had a significant impact on the world of television and media, exemplified by his involvement in the popular series Top Boy. Acting as one of its executive producers, he played a crucial role in securing a partnership with Netflix, resulting in the continuation of the series for its third season.

In terms of personal influences, Drake has often praised several key music legends as playing a pivotal role in shaping his own sound and style. These include Jerry Lee Lewis, Larry Graham, and Sly and the Family Stone. Additionally, his mother, Sandi Graham, has had a lasting impact on his life and career. Sandi’s background as a white, Jewish woman, coupled with their shared experience of her divorce from his African-American father, has contributed to Drake’s distinct perspective on race, relationships, and the complex intricacies of identity.

Despite faults and controversies, Drake’s influence in the music industry has been significant and multifaceted. As he continues to evolve as an artist and navigate his personal and professional relationships, it is clear that Drake’s legacy will remain a point of interest and discussion for many years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is his new album?

Drake’s new album, titled “Certified Lover Boy”, was released on September 3, 2021. This highly anticipated album features 21 tracks with collaborations from several well-known artists.

Who has he collaborated with?

Throughout his career, Drake has collaborated with many artists, including Kanye West, Rihanna, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Travis Scott, Jay-Z, and Future. These collaborations have produced various hit singles and critically acclaimed projects.

What are his top songs?

Some of Drake’s top songs include “God’s Plan”, “Nice for What”, “One Dance”, “Hotline Bling”, “In My Feelings”, and “Started from the Bottom”. These tracks have achieved massive commercial success and have been staples on various music charts worldwide.

What awards has he won?

Drake has won numerous awards throughout his career, including 4 Grammy Awards, 27 Billboard Music Awards, 6 American Music Awards, 2 MTV Video Music Awards, and 13 BET Hip Hop Awards. He has also received many nominations for his work in music and appearances in film and television.

What’s his net worth?

As of 2023, Drake’s net worth is estimated to be around $200 million. This is due to his successful music career, as well as ventures in the fields of fashion, technology, and sports. He also co-founded the record label OVO Sound and hosts an annual music festival called OVO Fest.

What TV show did he star in?

Before entering the music industry, Drake was an actor, most notably starring in the Canadian teen drama television series “Degrassi: The Next Generation”. He played the role of Jimmy Brooks, a basketball star who became paralyzed after being shot by a fellow student. His time on the show spanned from 2001 to 2009.