DID YOU KNOW? Drake initially gained recognition as an actor on Canadian teen drama series “Degrassi: The Next Generation” in the early 2000s. He appeared in over 145 episodes but left in 2007 as he was intent on pursuing a career as a rapper.

Aubrey Drake Graham, known mononymously as Drake, is a Canadian rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, actor and entrepreneur. He is of mixed-race origin to a Jewish mother and African-American father. At school he demonstrated an affinity for the arts and started acting between 2001-2005. In 2006, after becoming musically inspired by Jay Z and Clipse, Drake self-released his debut mixtape, “Room for Improvement” and sold a mere 6000 copies. A year later another mixtape was released by Drake independently “Comeback Season” and after becoming a hit on BET channel he became the first ever unsigned Canadian rapper to have his music featured on the channel. He was then invited to join Lil Wayne’s “The Carter III Tour” and recorded multiple songs with Lil Wayne, but still not signed to his record label, Young Money Entertainment.

In 2009 he released his third mixtape, “So Far Gone” and was made available for free download through his OVO blog website. It received over 2,000 downloads in the first 2 hours of release, finding mainstream commercial success thanks to the singles “Best I Ever Had’ and “Successful”, both gaining Gold certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Due to the success of the mixtape, Drake was the subject of a bidding war from various labels, often reported as “one of the biggest bidding wars ever”. On 29th June 2009, Drake secured a recording contract with Young Money Entertainment.

In March 2010, Drake released his Debut single “Over”, peaking at number fourteen on the Billboard Hot 100 , as well as topping the Rap Songs Chart in the US. It also received a nomination for ‘Best Rap Solo Performance’ at the 53rd Grammy Awards. Many songs on this album were subject to commercial success, while also having large societal impacts, with song “The Motto” credited for popularising the phrase “YOLO” in the US and in 2011 Drake was ranked at number two on MTV’S “Hottest MCs in the Game”. In 2016 his fourth studio album “Views” proved more commercially successful than the others with “One Dance” becoming Drake’s first number-one single in Canada, UK, Germany, France, Australia, Brazil, Sweden, Belgium, Norway and the Netherlands and the track became Spotify’s most-streamed song ever, amassing over 882 million plays as of October 2016. It also achieved double-platinum status in the US, and earned over 1 million album-equivalent units in its first week of release.

Article by Candice Eastman. 

George Millington