Net Worth: $101 million
Chart-topping artist Drake is driven by a key factor of staying true to oneself. He is known for following his mind and not caring what other people think or say about him, which has ultimately peddled him to become one of the world’s most celebrated hip hop artists. With huge number one hits such as ‘Hotline Bling’ and ‘One Dance’, there’s no surprise the rapper is one of today’s most popular music stars. His talents go beyond the music industry however, with him initially starting out as an actor in teen drama Degrassi: The Next Generation.
Drake – as he’s famously known – was born as Aubrey Drake Graham on October 24 1986. His African-American father Dennis Graham, a devoted Catholic, was a well-known drummer and worked with country musician Jerry Lee Lewis. Drake’s mother Sandy Graham was of Jewish Canadian origin and split her time between being an English teacher and part-time florist. Musical influence was seen in other members of Drake’s family aside from his father, with his uncle Larry Graham being a bass guitarist and his other uncle Teenie Hodges being a talented songwriter and mentoring him in music from a young age. Dennis was also a music mentor and schooled in a Jewish day school part time.
At the age of five, Drake’s parents divorced which led to his mom remaining in Toronto and his dad going back to his hometown Memphis to try and find a etew way of earning a living. Drake saw his dad get into a lot of trouble when he went to visit him in Memphis, at one point even seeing him get arrested. Dennis brought out a song called ‘Kinda Crazy (Drake’s Dad)’, collaborating with country-rock band Arkell, as a way of commemorating over the time he was absent from Drake’s life. Back home in Toronto, Drake was brought up in two neighborhoods. He once lived in the working class west end of the city – Weston Road – until he reached sixth grade. He loved minor hockey which he played for Weston Red Wings during his youthful life. In 2000, they moved to Forest Hill sharing a home with other people for a more affordable price.
He later enrolled at the Forest Hill Collegiate Institute where his love for the arts was first seen and recognized as he started acting alongside his other academics. This school was one of the toughest schools that Drake attended due to the lifestyle of the neighborhood he lived in as well as the other students often bullying him due to his skin color and religion. Because of his love for acting, his academic performance started to go down causing him to drop out of school and making him graduate at a much later time in October 2012.
Drake is a multitalented person who has had different careers ranging from acting to music and business.
Drake was inspired to act at a very tender age, which was first noticed when he was a high school student with an interest in the arts. When Drake was fifteen years old he met a friend’s dad who was an acting agent. The agent landed Drake a part in Degrassi: The Next Generation a Canadian teen drama which saw him take on the role of Jimmy Brooks. Jimmy Brooks was a basketball player who was paralyzed from a shooting by a classmate. Drake starred in the role until his character graduated from school and was no longer on the show, with him having appeared in 145 episodes for the drama until 2007. Drake claims his family were very poor back then, and his mother made him use all the money he earned from acting on their family survival.
In 2006 he released a mixtape called ‘Room for Improvement’, with Clipse and Jay-Z being his inspiration. He involved Canadian producers Boi-Ida and Frank Dukes for the record which also featured Trey Songs and Lupe Fiasco. The mixtape brought in an impressive income for Drake after selling over 5,500 copies once it was released. His second mixtape ‘Comeback Season’ was released in 2007 which also featured Trey Songs in the record ‘Replacement Girl’. The song went down in history making him the first Canadian rapper to have a video taken to the BET (Black Entertainment Television) Awards and not being signed to a record label at the time. This song opened up many avenues for him, with him going on to meet with Lil Wayne, Flo Rida and Brisco who took him on and featured him in ‘Man of The Year’.Lil Wayne was eventually gifted the song by music entrepreneur Jas Prince, meaning Drake was then invited along to the famous tour ‘The Carter III’. The tour saw them do a lot of songs together such as a remix of ‘Brand New’, ‘I Want This Forever’ and ‘Ransom’ which were received well in the music industry. Drake, however, was not signed to the most renowned production company Young Money Entertainment where Lil Wayne was among its founding members.
In 2009 Drake’s third mixtape ‘So Far Gone’ was released and made available on his blog ‘OVO’ where it could be downloaded for free by his dedicated fans. The mixtape featured famous musicians including Lil Wayne, Bun B, Omarion and Lloyd. Within just two hours of its release, over 2000 fans downloaded the mixtape showing how successful Drake was becoming. The singles ‘Best I Ever Had’ and ‘Successful’ became some of the most-played songs on radio stations and the mixtape received a Gold Certificate from RIAA. Due to the success, Drake released an EP with four of songs from his original mixtape. He added ‘I’m Going In’ and ‘Fear’ which were recognized in the Billboard top 200 at number six and also won awards, including 2010 Juno Awards as the Rap Recording of The Year. This mixtape was among his best successful works. Thanks to his great achievements, many labels fought for him in what is today known as the biggest bidding war ever; Drake was signed to Young Money Entertainment formally in June 29 2009 when he signed a recording contract with them. An unauthorized album called ‘The Girls Love Drake’ was released on iTunes without their permission which led to a huge lawsuit to get the album taken down. Drake also had a serious knee injury in the same year on a stage at the America’s Most Wanted Tour at New Jersey prompting him to have a knee surgery the same year on September 8.
Drake’s next album ‘Thank Me Later’ was supposed to be released in 2008 but was postponed and later made public in 2010 on May 25, even though a statement from Young Money had stated that the album was to be released in June 2010. A single called ‘Over ‘was released in March 2010 reaching number fourteen in Billboard 100. It also topped the charts of rap songs in many radio stations receiving a nomination at the 53rd Grammy Awards for Best Rap Solo Performance. He also released ‘Find Your Love’ which became another well-known hit that claimed to number five in the charts as well as receiving a Platinum Certificate from RIAA. The video, which was filmed in Jamaica, received criticism from the Jamaican Ministry of Tourism as they claimed it spread negativities about the island. His singles ‘Fancy’ and ‘Miss Me’ promoted Drake to get a nomination for the Grammy Award, with this being his second nomination. The ‘Thank Me Later’ album was finished on April 29 in Missouri at Kansas City and officially released on June 15 2010. In the first week of its release 447,000 copies were sold with it garnering number one in Billboard top 200. Drake and Hanson gave their fans a free concert in the South Street Seaport in New York. The number of fans in attendance was estimated to be around 25,000, prompting it to be canceled by the police because of the scores of fans flowing in the venue causing a riot to occur. The album, which featured famous musicians like Jay-Z, Kanye West and Lil Wayne, sold more copies than any other musician in that year. The ‘Away from Home’ tour began on September 20 2010 in Miami, Florida doing over 70 shows. The tour was a major success, with the OVO Festival being done for the first time. Drake performed at New Hampshire in Plymouth and Eastern Illinois University among other places.
‘Take Care’ was revealed by Drake to be the title of his next album, with him wanting to learn from his previous mistakes and not rush it. He made ‘Dreams Money Can Buy’ in 2011 which was released on his blog together with ‘Marvin’s Room’ (given a Gold Certificate by RIAA), with both singles doing well on the Billboard chart. The single lead ‘Headlines’ for the album was then released in August and took to number thirteen on top 100 Billboard and received a platinum certificate in the United States and Canada. Drake planned several collaborations with celebrated music icons such as Rick Ross for album, which was finally released in November 2011. It received positive reviews all over the universe from musicians and fans and gained four platinum certificates from the RIAA as well as selling over 2.5 million US dollars. It also gained a Grammy award under the category of Best Rap Album during the 55th Grammy Awards. The video for “Take Care” the single saw Drake land four nominations in the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards for Best Male Video, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Video of the Year. It would later win Best Hip Hop Video.
Drake started working on his third album, ‘Nothing Was The Same’ in 2012, annoying that the first song would be released once the 55th Grammy Awards show had concluded. The second single from the album, ‘Hold On We’re Going Home’ won him his second MTV Video Music award in 2014. ‘Nothing Was the Same’ took to top of the Billboard selling over 1.7 million copies earning $46 million. His fourth album called ‘If You Are Reading This It’s Too Late’ was recorded in 2014 and released on iTunes in 2015 with no prior announcement. It went on to sell over 1 million copies.
Drake is the founder of OVO Sound – a recording label he started with producer Noah Shebib. For a long time, Drake aspired to have his own label as a platform to release his own music as well as other upcoming musicians. Warner Bros Records now market the label and OVO Sounds now has recognition with the RIAA. Drake also joined the executive committee of NBA after being announced the new global ambassador of Toronto Raptors. The highly coveted award ‘The Key to the City’ was later given to him. Drake promised to take his new role seriously and promised to work harder on it as any other job.
The ‘YOLO’ phrase was popularized by Drake from his song ‘The Motto’ and it’s now a term that is used widely by the general public, particularly the younger generation, and has also been used to name businesses and other joints. In 2015, the hip hop star began name his hometown of Toronto as ‘The Six’, which is now a popular term to reference the city. In Houston, Texas, ‘Drake Day’ occurs on June 10. He is recorded to be against police brutality and marginalization of ethnic minorities in the United States. He is also a fashion icon known for his love of Jordan and Brown Timberland shoes. His fashion sense is unique and brands him as one of the most stylish celebrity men.
Drake’s personal life has been encountered with ups and downs, with him facing many problems in the courtroom over the years. Singer Ericka Lee is one of the people who has sued Drake with a claim of he used her voice in ‘Marvin’s Room’. Drake’s rivalry with singer Chris Brown has become apparent over the years and he even had a fight with him in June 2012, reportedly throwing a glass bottle at him in a SoHo nightclub. Drake has also had famous feuds with the likes of Diddy, Tyga and Joe Bidden. Drake got his fans talking when it was rumored he had been having a relationship with Rihanna, with them both having public display of affections at many events and even having matching tattoos.