Aubrey Drake Graham was birthed into this world on October 24, 1986. Adored by his mother, Sandi Graham, and his father, Dennis Graham, Aubrey charms and delights those around him. Before long, he grows into an unquestionably adorable child who is blessed with an impeccable fashion sense, a big heart and a warm smile.
Though he was undoubtedly bright, young Aubrey could never have imagined the number of lives he would touch with his voice and his art.
At five years old, Aubrey's parents divorce and he is raised on Weston Road until he and his mother move to the affluent Forest Hill area of Toronto. Contrary to popular belief, he lives in only half of a modest house. "It was not big, it was not luxurious. It was what we could afford."
"It was cool for me, you know, cause everybody used to be like 'Oh man, you're the furthest thing from hood.'"
It's evident that the Forest Hill neighbourhood deeply affected Aubrey—his manners, his politeness, but particularly his sense of interior design. Drake seems to favour a mix of Traditional, Arts and Crafts and English Country décor (with Tuscan leather accents, of course). These styles are also generally favoured among affluent women in their 60s.
Young Aubrey is enrolled in hockey by mom. He assumes the position of right wing and plays for the Weston Red Wings, eventually making it all the way to the Upper Canada College hockey camp where he gets cross-checked in the neck, forcing mom to pull him from the sport.
It seems young Aubrey just wasn't meant to be a wingman.
Aubrey has his bar mitzvah. There are few details of the ceremony; however a clip of young Aubrey dancing, taken from VHS footage, is used as the intro for the music video "HYFR," directed by Director X. This video documents Drake getting re-bar mitzvahed and features Lil Wayne, OB O'Brien (Drake's friend from Hamilton), Birdman and Trey Songz. Director X describes the shoot as "bat-shit crazy."
On the hit Canadian series, Degrassi: The Next Generation, Aubrey plays the role of Jimmy Brooks (a.k.a Wheelchair Jimmy), a basketball star who was physically disabled after being shot by a classmate. He appears in a total of 138 episodes.
The original Degrassi Junior High series aired in 1987 on CBC and was one of the first television series to deal with hard-hitting issues such as homophobia, AIDS, drug addiction, teen pregnancy, violence, racism and eating disorders (to name a few). The series also left an indelible mark on '80s teen fashion.
Room for Improvement, Aubrey's first mixtape, was self-released in 2006. It features rap artists Trey Songz and Lupe Fiasco. Drake (quite honestly) describes the album as "pretty straightforward, radio friendly, [with] not much content to it."
"It's like...the guy you'd never wanna hear rap in your life. The Canadian Jewish child actor."
"You like this guy?" asks James Prince, founder of Rap-A-Lot Records as his son plays him Drake's music for the first time. "Dad," his son replies, "you told me to find something that was buzzing. This kid is buzzing in Canada."
Though he admits he was initially not used to "all that singing where rap was concerned," James Prince goes ahead and introduces Drake's music to Lil Wayne, who thought Drake's stage name was "Drizzy" because his email address at the time was "email@example.com".
Drake engages in an online beef with "Littles the General," a Halifax rapper known to hassle Drake frequently on message boards. In response to Littles, Drake rather harshly replies "just like a divorced alcoholic father you have to face the harsh truth...it was over before it started." Perhaps because he feels bad about his harsh response, Drake politely offers Littles a gift:
"I am selling a combo package, both my mixtapes for $40 autographed on myspace but I'll tell ya what...send me your address and I will send you out that christmas bundle free of charge...just wanna show you that my fans matter more than anyone in the world."
"Another day, another dollar" thinks Aubrey (probably) as he prepares for another day on-set at the hit Canadian television show, Degrassi: Next Generation. But something seemed different today. He finds his dressing room locked and a new, younger generation of actors auditioning for the show. Aubrey had been fired. He now focuses on his music career.
"Yeah, I was on Degrassi, yeah, I wear sweaters, yeah, I wore Dada, and no, I don't give a fuck."
In 2009, Drake's newest mixtape, The Ladies Love Drake, goes up for sale on iTunes by a label called 'Canadian Money Entertainment'. It would have debuted at #101 on the Billboard 200 had it been an official release. But it wasn't. Drake's manager at the time referred to the release as "...a straight bootleg, a scandal."
Or does he? In May 2009, Drake appears on Hot97. Shortly after, video footage is released that raises the question that it's possible Drake was reading off his BlackBerry. Who knows though, maybe he was just checking his email on-air.
On June 29, 2009, Aubrey signs a deal with Young Money Records and Cash Money with distribution from Universal Republic. It was "one of the biggest bidding wars ever", apparently. As part of the deal, Drake reportedly receives $2 million upfront and retains full ownership of his masters. He only pays 25% of his sales to his label as a distribution fee, which is basically all they get.
"They have given me one of the greatest situations in hip-hop."
Drake's OVO and Canada Goose collaborate on a high-fashion bomber parka. The bomber is sold at 8 retail locations and only 400 are produced, 100 of which go to Drizzy's closest friends. Rapping fans and fashionistas around the world line up to purchase the jacket for approximately $900. At Nomad in Toronto (back when it was at the legendary 431 Richmond building), the jacket sells out in a matter of days. The parka is also sold at Opening Ceremony in Los Angeles, but why anyone in L.A. would need a parka is beyond us.
"I'm just a natural fan, I love the team," beamed Drake, referring to his now-favourite team the Kentucky Wildcats, after they win the NCAA Championship. Because of his fandom (and because he is Drake), the Kentucky Wildcats give Drake his very own championship ring for him to keep forever.
In 2011, an unnamed rap fan with shaved eyebrows visited a tattoo parlour in LA and has artist Kevin Campbell tattoo the word DRAKE on her forehead. Kevin assumed it was a gang-related tattoo. While Drake praises the woman to the press, he also tells Mando Fresko, a radio host that he "wants to meet her and understand what happened." Drake calls Kevin a "Fucking asshole", and even sends his body guards to threaten to "fuck up" Kevin.
In spite of her sad passing in 2001, Drake announces a collaboration with Aaliyah. Drake was encouraged by Aaliyah's uncle and cousin, as well as Lil Wayne, who referred to the collaboration as "awesome". However, Timbaland, DMX, and others who actually worked with Aaliyah thought it was a horrible idea. Later in 2013, the album is called off due to overwhelming negativity surrounding the project.
Aubrey and his friends visit Cameo Nightclub in Charlotte, North Carolina (Yelp rating: 1.5 stars). They bring a cardboard box filled with $50,000 in $1 bills. The friends proceeded to open the box and toss the dollar bills in the air and all around the nightclub until the floor is literally covered in money. They made it rain.
A rapper who goes by the name Bleu Davinci contributed $25,000 to the box, but we have no idea who he is.
After the Miami Heat win the NBA championship, Drake eagerly heads to the locker room to join his team in celebrations, only to find he is denied entry by a security guard. Happily, things work out for Drake (as it usually does) when he meets up with the team later for pizza.
During an interview, Johnny Manziel is asked what the coolest moment of his off season was. His eyes light up. He knows the answer without even thinking about it: Drake. They met during Johnny Manziel's off-season and the pair were inseparable during his time in Toronto. Johnny got a behind the scenes glimpse into how Drake makes his music and scored some sage advice from Drake on how to deal with being exceedingly rich and famous. Johnny now has an OVO tattoo on the wrist of his throwing arm so that he can look at it and think of Drake with every perfect pass he makes.
To show Drake's love for Manziel, he makes a custom sweatshirt with his his friend's photo on the front.
Just last year, Drake 'started from the bottom' and now he is here. Here, being the sleepy town of Binbrook, Ontario (home of The Binbrook Little Theatre, a farmers' market and approximately 3,000 people) to play a Shoppers Drug Mart employee for his new music video. Even though Binbrook recently enjoyed the opening of a Tim Hortons restaurant and FreshCo Supermarket, this was still very exciting for the quiet town. In spite of not formally announcing the shoot, word spread and a crowd gathers outside the mart hoping to catch a glimpse of the former-Degrassi star.
The fanfare was so large that even local businesses benefitted from the shoot. Local pub, 'The Bin' noticed considerably more wing sales as hungry fans waited in anticipation.
Local sports team, the Toronto Raptors, announces that Drake will be their "Global Ambassador". Though exact details of the duties and responsibilities in the job description are unclear, it seems safe to assume the position will involve attending games on specified "Drake nights," giving away t-shirts, DJing, and announcing players.
While he has a bright future as a rap artist, Drake truly shines when he is pursuing his true passion—sports. Drake makes yet another big career move as he is named the official host of the ESPYs.
"This is an incredible opportunity for me to combine two of my biggest passions—sports and performing,"
As Global Ambassador for the Toronto Raptors, it is extremely important that Drake represents both the Toronto Raptors and the City of Toronto. This means promoting the team internationally, developing local pride in the Toronto Raptors, and maintaining Drake's trademark impeccable grooming regime. Drake attracts a flurry of trumped-up controversy surrounding what was merely fulfilling his duties as the Global Ambassador.
A selection of Drake's favourite sports teams
Whether acting, rapping, or hanging out in athletes' locker rooms, Drake has shown nothing but love for Toronto, his crew, and all of his favourite sports teams. Whether Drake will continue his music career or focus on sports promotion is anyone's guess, but if there's one thing we know for certain, it's that the story will stay the same through the money and the fame.
We'd like to thank Drake for bringing the following artists to Toronto:
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