Drake rose to fame as the sentimental rap-singer everybody loves to hate, but he started as just Aubrey Drake Graham.
Drake’s parents split when he was three years old, leaving his mother to raise him as a single parent. They rented out the first floor and basement levels of a house in a Jewish neighborhood on the North side of Toronto, Canada. Aubrey’s mother is Jewish and he even had a Bar Mitzvah. As he got older, Aubrey began to take advantage of the talents he inherited from his father, a former musician and entertainer from Memphis, Tennessee. They pulled together the money for him to get an agent in the 8th grade, and in 2001 he threw his hat in the ring for the reboot of a 1980’s Canadian drama for pre-teens: “Degrassi.”
Drake’s father was in and out of his life like a revolving door, flitting between other relationships and even landing in prison at one time. When his father would call him from the pen, he’d often share his phone time with his cellmate, a former rapper named Poverty who didn’t have anyone to call. Poverty became Aubrey’s first mentor in the rap game. Poverty’s encouragement sowed a seed to be cultivated by a New Orleans based hip-hop icon, inspiring Drake to write “Dope Bars” and “Raise Them, Too.”
In 2006, Drake released his first mixtape “Room for Improvement,” using his middle name as his stage name. Weezy flew Drake out to Houston for an introduction and invited the Toronto boy on tour, kickstarting an enduring bromance.
In 2010, “Best I Ever Had” from Drake’s third mixtape “So Far Gone” earned him his first two Grammy nominations. That same year his debut studio album “Thank Me Later” topped the Billboard 200 chart.
When “Hotline Bling” from his 2016 album “Views” bested its fellow Grammy nominees in two categories, Drake wasn’t even present to collect his awards. In 2017, he didn’t bother submitting even one of the 22 songs from “More Life” for consideration.
Further proving his point, 2018’s “Scorpion” made Drake The Recording Industry Association of America’s top certified digital singles artist, selling more than 142 million digital singles. He also became the first artist to reach 10 billion streams on Apple Music.
Many have tried and failed to unseat Champagne Papi from his throne. From the halls of Degrassi to Madison Square Garden, Drake has transformed into an industry shaking entertainer who is impossible to ignore.