Drake Early Life
Birth Name: Aubrey Drake Graham. Birth Date: October 24, 1986. Birth Place: Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Career: Rapper, Actor. Father: Dennis Graham. Mother: Sandi Graham. Here’s Drake Biography and Profile.
Aubrey Drake Graham, raised in Toronto by his Canadian-born mother after his parents’ divorce when he was 5; spent summers in Memphis with his father, an American. He’s the son of musician Dennis Graham, who wrote for Al Green and performed with artists including Jerry Lee Lewis. He played paralyzed basketball star Jimmy Brooks on Degrassi: The Next Generation (2001-09). He released three successful mixtapes and the seven-track EP So Far Gone (Rap Recording of the Year at the 2010 Juno Awards) before putting out his first official album, Thank Me Later. Landed 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 from 2009 to ’10, led by Top-10s “Best I Ever Had,””Find Your Love” and “Forever.” Named Best New Artist at Canada’s 2010 Juno Awards and was nominated for four awards at the 2011 Grammys, including Best New Artist and Best Rap Album. He enjoys basketball and had LeBron James host his So Far Gone release party in 2009.
Drake’s double album, ‘Scorpion,’ debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in July 2018. He teamed up with Migos for the Aubrey and the Three Migos tour, which grossed $79 million on its 43-date run and sold more than 600,000 tickets. The hip-hop star kicked off his 10-show Sin City residency at the Wynn’s XS Nightclub on May 18.
So how did Drake, a former child actor from Canada manage to surpass his own mentors, date Rihanna, win three Grammys, and boast more top-10 hits in a single year than The Beatles?
Drake Biography and Profile
Aubrey “Drake” Graham (born October 24, 1986 in Toronto, Ontario), he was raised by biracial parents. Drake grew up with music in his blood. His father, Dennis Graham, was a drummer for the legendary rock ‘n’ roll star Jerry Lee Lewis. An uncle, Larry Graham, played bass for Sly and the Family Stone. Drake says that his mother, Sandi Graham, also hails from a “very musical” family — his grandmother babysat Aretha Franklin. Drake comes from an eclectic and unique ethnic and religious background. His father is an African American Catholic and his mother is a white Canadian Jew. Speaking about his personal identity, Drake says: “At the end of the day, I consider myself a black man because I’m more immersed in black culture than any other. Being Jewish is kind of a cool twist. It makes me unique.”
“We have a very deep musical background. My grandmother, who passed away in Memphis, used to babysit Louie Armstrong. And my dad was a drummer for Jerry Lee Lewis,” Drake told Hip Hop Canada in 2006. “On my mom’s side, it’s a white, Jewish, very structured and conservative family.”
“There are a lot of accolades on that side of the family too,” he added. “I am aware that I am not the first person [in the family to embrace music] but I would like to become the first one to be an icon.”
Drake took his stage name from his middle name, which his father gave him.
“His reasoning behind it, I am not sure. My dad is a character so it could be anything. I just really loved the name and I embraced it my whole life,” he told Hip Hop Canada. “Drake is me in my everyday life, Drake is who I am and Aubrey is more of a separate, sort of proper individual.”
Drake has described his teacher mother as “godlike,” but she became bedridden from various health issues: “She smoked cigarettes and took her pain meds, deteriorating every day, essentially dying,” Drake recalled to GQ.
Growing Up Very Poor
Drake has also described growing up “very poor, like broke,” despite spending some of his adolescence in the affluent neighborhood Forest Hill.
“I grew up on Weston Road. That’s near the west end of the city. It’s not the nicest area in the world. I grew up there,” he told Complex in 2011. “I moved to Forest Hill in the sixth grade. So I didn’t grow up in Forest Hill.”
Drake has also spoken proudly of his Jewish heritage.
“I’m proud, a proud young Jewish boy,” Drake said in behind-the-scenes footage from his “HYFR” music video, which was conceieved as a reenactment of his childhood Bar Mitzvah.
“My mother happens to be a Jewish woman. She wanted the best for her family. She found us a half of a house we could live in,” he continued. “It was not big, it was not luxurious. It was what we could afford.”
“When I had a Bar Mitzvah back in the day, my mom really didn’t have that much money. We kinda just did it in the basement of an Italian restaurant, which I guess is kinda like a faux pas,” he explained, as reported by Digital Spy. “I told myself that if I ever got rich, I’d throw myself a re-Bar Mitzvah. That’s the concept for the video.”
Drake even attended a Jewish day school as a child, “where nobody understood what it was like to be black and Jewish,” he told Heeb magazine in 2010.
It was one of Drake’s classmates at Forest Hill who gave him his start in the entertainment industry. “There was a kid in my class whose father was an agent,” Drake would later explain, adding: “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.”
Shortly afterward, in 2001, Drake landed a role on the Canadian teen drama series Degrassi: The Next Generation. The show followed the dramatic lives of a group of teenagers at Degrassi High School, and Drake played the part of Jimmy Brooks, sometimes dubbed “Wheelchair Jimmy,” a basketball star who becomes permanently wheelchair-bound when he is shot by a classmate.
Drake dropped out of school to pursue his acting career, only graduating from high school in 2012. He starred on Degrassi for seven years (2001-2009), earning a Young Artist Award in 2002 for best ensemble in a TV series, among other honors. The show quickly developed a devoted cult following — “There are very few subtle Degrassi fans,” Drake has said — propelling him to celebrity status in Canada, even while he remained relatively anonymous in the United States.
Drake Quits Acting
Jimmy made his final appearance in the eighth season of “Degrassi.” Drake has said he was “kicked off” the show due to his hectic schedule. The rapper had already released his debut mixtape, “Room for Improvement,” in 2006 and his second mixtape, “Comeback Season,” in 2007.
“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. I’d sleep in my dressing room and then be in front of the cameras again by 9 a.m.,” he explained to W magazine in 2015. “Eventually, they realized I was juggling two professions and told me I had to choose. I chose this life.”
Lil Wayne’s Music Label
While he was still appearing on Degrassi, Drake began attempting to cross over into the world of hip hop. He released his first mixtape, Room for Improvement, in 2006, achieving modest sales of approximately 6,000 copies. He followed that with the 2007 release of another mixtape, Comeback Season, on his own October’s Very Own imprint (later to be shortened to OVO). This included Drake’s first hit single and music video, “Replacement Girl,” which was featured as the New Joint of the Day on BET’s popular hip-hop TV show 106 & Park. More significantly, the song contained a version of Brisco and Flo Rida’s “Man of the Year,” which featured Lil Wayne. Drake decided to leave Wayne’s verses and hook intact while he provided the rest of the lyrics himself. This caught the attention of Jas Prince, son of Rap-A-Lot Records founder James Prince, who decided to play Drake to Lil Wayne himself.
In 2008, the producers of Degrassi overhauled the cast, eliminating Drake’s character. Without his steady source of income, and not yet making significant money as a rapper, Drake was on the verge of looking for a day job. “I was coming to terms with the fact that … I might have to work at a restaurant or something just to keep things going,” he remembers. But early in 2008, he received an unexpected call from Lil Wayne, who asked him to board a flight to Houston that night to join his Carter III tour.
After touring and recording a number of songs with Lil Wayne, Drake released his third mixtape, So Far Gone, in February 2009. It featured the infectious single “Best I Ever Had,” which peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart, while “Successful,” a collaboration with Wayne and Trey Songz, went gold and made Rolling Stone’s “25 Best Songs of 2009” list. Since then, Drake’s barrage of catchy, R&B-infused hip hop songs have dominated radio airwaves.
A bidding war for Drake’s signature followed and in mid-2009 he inked a record deal with Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment. The start wasn’t auspicious – he took a tumble on stage during the America’s Most Wanted Tour in July the same year, tearing his anterior cruciate ligament and requiring surgery. However, it would only be onwards and upwards from then on.
So Far Gone
Drake released “So Far Gone” under his self-created October’s Very Own label. Drake told Heeb magazine that just before its release, he was “teetering on getting a regular job.”
“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,” he explained. “The money from that show was very small. And it was dwindling.”
The mixtape’s most successful track, “Best I Ever Had,” was released as its lead single. The song was nominated for two Grammy Awards — Best Rap Solo Performance and Best Rap Song — and peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100.
“Best I Ever Had” kicked off Drake’s reign over the charts. He would later become the first-ever artist to log eight straight years on the Hot 100, a run that eventually ended in 2017 with 431 consecutive weeks.
‘Thank Me Later’
On June 15, 2010, Drake released his first full studio album, Thank Me Later, which debuted at No. 1 on both American and Canadian album charts and was certified platinum. His new persona as the cocksure prince of hip-hop (“Last name ever, first name greatest,” he brags on “Forever”) seemed to clash with his middle-class Jewish upbringing and former career as a teenage soap star.
Nevertheless, Drake attempted to fuse these seemingly incongruous stages of his life into one persona. On the December 2009 cover of Vibe magazine, he sported a diamond-crusted Chai, a hip hop-style shout out to his Jewish roots. And in “The Presentation” he raps: “Who’s Drake? Where’s Wheelchair Jimmy at?” With Jay Z and Kanye West both contributing to the album, the answer to “who’s Drake?” had to be “rap royalty.”
In November 2011, he released his second studio album, Take Care, which included the songs “Headlines,” “Make Me Proud” and “The Motto.” The album was universally acclaimed, winning the 2013 Grammy award for best rap album, among several other honors. Greg Kot’s review in the Chicago Tribune perfectly summed up Drake’s unique appeal, pinpointing the difference in subject matter and soul-searching honesty that separated Drake from his peers: “Drake, the melancholy hustler with a conscience, is back drunk-dialing former girlfriends and mourning the ones who got away.”
OVO Fest in August 2010
For the inagural festival — what would soon become a Toronto summer staple — Drake pulled out all the stops, performing a 90-minute set and welcoming guests like Eminem and Jay-Z.
At 25 years old, Drake announced that he had officially graduated high school, describing it as “one of the greatest feelings in my entire life.” — Drizzy (@Drake) October 18, 2012.
Drake attended two separate high schools in Toronto, but eventually dropped out — thanks in large part to his hectic “Degrassi” schedule and burgeoning career.
Although his career was flying high, Drake hit a few rough patches in his personal life. He and fellow entertainer Chris Brown became rivals for the affections of singer Rihanna, and the pair’s bitter feud erupted in violence during the summer of 2012 at a New York nightclub, resulting in injuries to several onlookers. Both Drake and Brown found themselves facing legal consequences for their actions. The professional basketball player Tony Parker, a male model and two women — all hurt in the brawl — were among those who filed suits against the performers. Brown later referred to the event during a guest appearance on a remix of Chief Keef’s “I Don’t Like” (“One on one, what you scared, bruh?” he rapped).
Around this time, Drake settled another legal matter out of court. He reached an agreement with former girlfriend Ericka Lee over her contributions to the song “Marvin’s Room.” Lee had sued Drake in 2012, seeking credit for co-writing the track. He was also sued by Rappin 4-Tay and the estate of the jazz musician Jimmy Smith. Squabbles with other artists have also peppered his career, although they haven’t derailed it. A verbal feud with Tyga was one thing, but he also got into a beef with rapper Meek Mill when the latter alleged that Drake was using a ghostwriter for a track they collaborated on. Drake recorded two diss tracks directly aimed at Mill, “Charged Up” and “Back to Back” in a single week in 2015. A diss war also started in 2016 with Joe Budden, while the internet rumors that always dog an artist of Drake’s standing have also alleged that he’s had beef with Kanye West, Jay Z and more.
Personal obstacles never seem to sidetrack Drake for long. The 2013 song “Started From the Bottom,” from his critically acclaimed 2013 album Nothing Was the Same, reflected his personal struggle for success. “I just wanted to make it known that I did work really hard to get here and it wasn’t just a fluke and it wasn’t easy by any means,” he explained to MTV News.
After releasing a pair of mixtapes in 2015, including a collaboration with Future, Drake followed with his fourth studio album, Views, in the spring of 2016. The album was an instant success, debuting at No. 1 and spending 13 non-consecutive weeks atop the Billboard charts. Among its hit singles was the sultry “Hotline Bling,” which earned the artist Grammy wins for best rap song and best rap/sung performance in early 2017 (and sparked countless memes due to its memorable video inspired by the artist James Turrell). After the ceremony, he took swipes at the Grammys for shoehorning him into the rap category. Speaking in an interview on Apple’s Beats 1 the day after the awards, he said: “I’m a black artist, I’m apparently a rapper, even though Hotline Bling is not a rap song. I won two awards but I don’t even want them.”
As his rap career moves forward, Drake hopes that his unconventional rise to hip-hop fame will continue to be an asset, not a hindrance. “This whole thing is unusual at this point,” he has said, “so we’re just rolling with the fairytale vibe.”
The “fairytale vibe” continued in May 2017 when Drake was the big winner at the Billboard Music Awards. He took home 13 awards — including top artist, top male artist, top Billboard 100 album, top Billboard 200 artist and top hot 100 artist — breaking Adele’s record for the artist with the most wins in one year.
Once again, the media praised Drake’s “natural comedic ability” during his second stint as “SNL” host — with most people in agreement that the spoof of his style and sensitivity was a highlight of the night.
Release of ‘Scorpion’
After opening 2018 with the two-song EP Scary Hours, Drake dropped two singles, “Nice For What” and “I’m Upset,” in advance of the June release of his fifth studio album, Scorpion. He also unveiled the diss track “Duppy Freestyle,” a response to rapper Pusha-T’s accusation that he was relying on a ghostwriter for his lyrics.
The June 29 release of Scorpion didn’t disappoint, as it featured the artist confirming the rumors of a newborn son on “March 14,” and his explanations of why he was dialing back the rancor toward Pusha-T and Meek Mill on “Survival.” The album featured contributions from Jay-Z and Future, as well as what was reported to be previously unreleased music from Michael Jackson on the track “Don’t Matter to Me.”
Scorpion shattered streaming records over its first 24 hours, with the Associated Press reporting totals of 170 million streams on Apple Music and another 132 million on Spotify. The pace continued over the next several days, making Drake the first artist to top 1 billion streams in one week with his studio release.
Drake went on to claim the 2019 Best Rap Song Grammy for “God’s Plan,” which appeared on both Scorpion and Scary Hours, though the win was somewhat eclipsed by the controversy of being cut off during his acceptance speech, in which he downplayed the importance of being honored at the Grammys.
Burying the hatchet, Drake joined forces with Chris Brown for the Top 5 hit “No Guidance.” He then released the EP The Best in the World Pack, featuring the dual singles of “Omertà” and “Money in the Grave,” and the compilation album Care Package, consisting of previously unreleased songs from earlier in the decade.
In late 2019 it was announced that Drake was entering the burgeoning cannabis industry by teaming with a prominent Canadian producer, Canopy Growth, to produce and distribute herbal treats in Toronto via a new venture called More Life Growth Co. A press release described the company as “centered around wellness, discovery, and overall personal growth with the hope of facilitating connections and shared experiences across the globe.”
Drake’s parents divorced when he was five years old, and he was raised by his mother in Forest Hill, an affluent and predominantly Jewish neighborhood in Toronto. He attended Jewish day school, had a Bar Mitzvah at age 13 and observed the Jewish High Holy Days with his mother.
“My mom has always made Hanukkah fun,” Drake recalls. “When I was younger, she gave cool gifts and she’d make latkes.” Despite his Jewish upbringing, Drake says he felt isolated at Forest Hill Collegiate Institute, his virtually all-white high school. He has said that “nobody understood what it was like to be black and Jewish,” but added that “being different from everyone else just made me a lot stronger.”
- Dennis Graham — Father
- Mabon “Teenie” Hodges — Uncle
- Sandi Graham — Mother
- Larry Graham — Uncle
Rihanna and Drake were spotted getting close at Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge in New York City. Page Six reported that the two artists were “making out all night” and seemed “really cute together.” While Rihanna went on to insist that the two were just “friends,” Drake would later open up about his unrequited love for her.
“I was a pawn,” Drake said in a 2010 interview with The New York Times. “You know what she was doing to me? She was doing exactly what I’ve done to so many women throughout my life, which is show them quality time, then disappear. I was like, ‘Wow, this feels terrible.'”
In an interview with MTV news, he added that Rihanna is an “overwhelming and incredible person.”
TMZ initially broke the story in May 2017 that Drake had fathered a child with former adult film actress Sophie Brussaux. At the time, a rep for Drake denied the claim but noted, “if it is in fact Drake’s child, which he does not believe, he would do the right thing by the child.”
Drake later confirmed that he had a son on his 2018 album “Scorpion.” On the closing track “March 14,” he describes the day his paternity was confirmed, his desire to create a stable environment for his child, and how he struggles to see himself as a single father.
“She’s not my lover like Billie Jean but the kid is mine / Sandi used to tell me all it takes is one time, and it took was one time / S—, we only met two times, two times,” he rapped, referring to his mom Sandra.
Drake’s son was reportedly born on his father’s birthday, October 24, and named Adonis Graham.
- 2012, Grammy — Best Rap Album: Winner
- 2016, Grammy — Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: Winner
- 2019, People’s Choice Awards — Favorite Male Artist: Nominee
- 2018, Grammy — Best Rap Song: Winner
- 2016, Grammy — Best Rap Song: Winner
“God’s Plan,” one of two songs on Drake’s mini EP “Scary Hours,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Drake’s second solo record to do so. The second song, “Diplomatic Immunity,” clocked in at No. 7 — making Drake the first artist to twice debut two songs in the top 10 simultaneously.
Just two days later, Spotify announced that “God’s Plan” had broken Taylor Swift’s record (“Look What You Made Me Do”) for the most streams in a single day in the US. On April 6, Drake’s next single “Nice For What” replaced “God’s Plan” at the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100, making him the first artist to have a new number-one debut replace their former number-one debut.
Aubrey Drake Graham Biography and Profile