Drake is recognized as one of rap music’s biggest stars and a household name around the world. Even though he got to where he is from working hard, he was raised by a family with connections to the industry. According to Biography, he was born Aubrey Drake Graham on October 24, 1986, in Toronto, Canada. His father, Dennis Graham, was a drummer for Jerry Lee Lewis, while his uncle, Larry Graham, played bass for Sly and the Family Stone. However, that is not all — Drake’s grandmother on his mother’s side babysat the deceased icon Aretha Franklin.
The “One Dance” chart-topper attended Forest Hill Collegiate Institute. Growing up, he felt like the outcast kid at school because his father was African American Catholic and his mother, Sandi Graham, was a white Canadian Jew and noticed he was surrounded by people who didn’t understand what it was like to be Black and Jewish. With that being said, it was actually a classmate who got his foot in the door. “There was a kid in my class whose father was an agent,” Drake (pictured above at 15 years old) said (via Biography). “His dad would say, ‘If there’s anyone in the class that makes you laugh, have them audition for me.’ After the audition, he became my agent.”
Way before his music career, Drake was an actor
This may come as a surprise to some, but Drake (pictured here at 19) kickstarted his career as an actor nearly 10 years before making an impact on the rap scene. Back in 2001, he made his television debut while appearing in an episode of the Canadian crime drama, “Blue Murder,” before landing himself a lead role as Jimmy Brooks in “Degrassi: The Next Generation,” going on to star in a whopping 145 episodes during the show’s eight-year run.
During his time on “Degrassi,” Drake also made appearances on “Soul Food,” “The Border,” and “Being Erica,” to name a few projects. And in 2007, he made his big-screen debut, playing the minor part of A/V Jones in the comedy/drama film, “Charlie Barlett,” which starred the likes of the late Anton Yelchin, Kat Dennings, and Robert Downey Jr. — no big deal.
While pursuing a career on the big and small screen, Drake was also trying to break through into the music scene and released a couple of mixtapes — “Room for Improvement” and “Comeback Season,” per Biography. In a 2015 interview with W magazine, he explained he was juggling two professions and was told to choose one over the other. “Back then, I’d spend a full day on set and then go to the studio to make music until 4 or 5 a.m,” he recalled. “I’d sleep in my dressing room and then be in front of the cameras again by 9 a.m.”
It almost seemed like Drake was an overnight success
In 2009, Drake signed a record deal with Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment and released his third mixtape, So Far Gone, that same year, according to Biography. The tape spawned his first hit single, “Best I Ever Had,” which peaked at No. 2 on the US Hot 100, per Billboard. The song also earned the rap star his first two Grammy Award nominations. Due to Drake’s music career being in demand so quickly, many would assume he was an overnight success.
However, prior to releasing “So Far Gone,” Drake admitted to Heeb magazine that he was “teetering on getting a regular job,” adding, “I was coming to terms with the fact that, okay, people know me from ‘Degrassi,’ but I might have to work at a restaurant or something just to keep things going.”
In 2010, the Canadian-born star dropped his long-awaited debut album, “Thank Me Later,” not only became his first chart-topper on the US Billboard 200 chart but also featured collaborations with a number of high-profile stars including Alicia Keys, Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z, and Lil Wayne, per Genius. The record also gave the rising star four more nods at the Grammys, one of which was for Best New Artist. Drake’s (pictured above 25-years-old) success was certainly no flash in the pan and would continue to re-peak for years to come.
Drake has broken numerous records
After the release of his debut album “Thank Me Later” in 2010, Drake would cement his status as one of the biggest rappers of the past decade. According to Billboard, all of his studio albums have peaked at No. 1. In December 2009, the “Pop Style” hitmaker explained to Interview magazine that his career plan was to stay focused: “I just gotta keep going ’cause it’s so easy to lose your grasp on the game if you’re ever even blessed enough to get ahold of it. So I’m just kind of trying to keep things at the pace they’re moving at now.”
With the hit albums, also comes the hit singles. Some of Drake’s signature songs that have taken over the chart include “Take Care,” “Passionfruit,” “One Dance,” “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” and “Hotline Bling.” In July 2020, it was reported by the BBC that Drake (pictured above 29-years-old) had broken the record for the most top 10 singles on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart with 40 entries, taking over from the Queen of Pop herself, Madonna. As of April 2021, Drake now has a total of 45 Top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100.
In June 2016, it was announced that Drake’s “One Dance” had become the longest-running chart-topper of the 21st Century in the UK since Rihanna’s iconic “Umbrella,” which was released in 2007, per BBC. According to The Official Charts, he stayed at No. 1 for an impressive 15 weeks.
Drake's personal life has become a hot topic
Drake’s music is not the only thing that has made headlines. His personal life has been well-documented and has continued to be a topic of discussion for many years.
According to The Sun, he has dated a series of high-profile women. In December of 2016, it was reported that he and Jennifer Lopez hooked up around Christmas time. Their alleged relationship didn’t last very long and was said to be over by the following February due to their busy schedules. Hailey Bieber, who then went by Hailey Baldwin, was said to be with Drake in June 2016, before marrying Justin Bieber.
Drake and tennis player Serena Williams also hit it off in 2015 but called it a day later that year. And of course, there was superstar Rihanna, with whom he had an on-off relationship since 2009. The iconic duo has collaborated with one another on music and appeared to have great chemistry. Although, it wasn’t enough to stay together. In a 2010 interview with MTV, Drake described Rihanna as “such an overwhelming and incredible person,” who is “a talented person and someone that [he] was like, ‘I can’t believe I’m here talking to this individual.'”
Drake (pictured above 32-years-old) is a father to his son, Adonis Graham, who he likes to keep private. The mother of his child, Sophie Brussaux, is a former model who was born and raised in France, per Billboard. Drake and Brussaux met in January 2017 and have remained friends while raising their son.
Drake's music career is still on an all-time high
It has been more than 10 years since his breakthrough and Drake’s music career is still going incredibly strong.
In March 2021, the “Feel No Ways” hitmaker released a three-track EP, “Scary Hours 2.” The lead single, “What’s Next,” became Drake’s eighth song to top the Hot 100 chart while the other two songs from the project — “Wants and Needs” and “Lemon Pepper Freestyle” — debuted at No. 2 and 3, helping him create a new historic record. According to Billboard, Drake is the first-ever artist to have three songs debut in the top three simultaneously on the Hot 100.
As of 2021, Drake (pictured above 34-years-old) has been nominated for 47 Grammy Awards and taken home four trophies. As reported by Chart Masters, he has sold 56.8 million equivalent album units while his singles have seen him sell a whopping 137 million units of downloads and ringtones. In 2020, it was noted by Celebrity Net Worth that he is worth $180 million with a salary of $75 million per year. It seems Drake is an unstoppable force with a lot to boast about.
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