“When I’m writing, I’m thinking about how the songs are going to play live. Fifty bars of rap don’t translate onstage. No matter how potent the music, you lose the crowd. They want a hook; they want to sing your stuff back to you.” –Drake
Drake is a Toronto-born rap star known for hit songs like Take Care, One Dance and Hotline Bling. He launched his music career in 2006 with the release of his mix tape “Room for Improvement”. 3 years later, his third mix tape earned him critical and commercial success, and the following year, he released his first album. After signing a deal with Lil Wayne’s label Young Money Entertainment, his career took off, and he’s now one of the biggest rappers on the planet. Below are 46 fascinating facts about the famous rapper.
1. Drake is his Middle Name
Drake’s full name is Aubrey Drake Graham, but he uses his middle name in his career as a solo rapper.
2. It Runs in the Family
Drake’s father Dennis Graham was a drummer for rock’n’ roll star Jerry Lee Lewis. His uncle played bass for Sly and the Family Stone, and his mother Sandi also comes from a musical family.
3. A Unique Heritage
Drake has a unique ethnic and religious background. His father is an African-American Catholic, and his mother is white, Canadian and Jewish. While he considers himself to be a black man, he thinks that “being Jewish is kind of a cool twist”.
4. Drake the Bar-Mitzvah Boy
Drake’s parents divorced when he was five, and he was raised by his mother in Toronto. He attended Jewish day school, had a Bar Mitzvah, (a Jewish coming-of-age celebration), and celebrated the Jewish holidays with his mother.
5. Being Different Made Him Stronger
Drake’s high school experience was one of isolation and feeling different. His high school was virtually all-white, and he’s said that “nobody understood what it was like to be black and Jewish.”. He also noted that being different from everyone else made him a lot stronger.
6. Chose Acting over School
Drake dropped out of school to pursue his acting career and only graduated high school in 2012.
7. Almost Took a Day Job
In 2008, the producers of Degrassi overhauled the cast and eliminated his character. Although he had achieved modest success with his mix tapes, he wasn’t making much money yet as a rapper, and was on the verge of looking for a job “in a restaurant or something” to keep things going. Luckily for Drake, that didn’t end up being necessary.
8. A Timely Phone Call
Early in 2008, Drake received an unexpected phone call from Lil Wayne, who had learned about Drake from Jas Prince- the son of Rap-a-Lot founder James Prince. Prince had heard Drake’s hit single “Replacement Girl”, which contained some of Lil Wayne’s lyrics, and played it for Lil Wayne. Wayne asked Drake to board a flight to Houston and join his Carter III tour.
9. “Successful” was a Success!
In 2009, Drake released his third mix tape, and the single “The Best I Ever Had” peaked at #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles chart. “Successful”, which was a collaboration with Lil Wayne and Treyz Songs went gold and made Rolling Stone’s “25 Best Songs of 2009” list.
10. An Unfortunate Start
During the “America’s Most Wanted” tour in July 2009, Drake took a tumble on stage and required surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Thats knee for the less medically inclined.
11. A Hit in Canada and the U.S.
Drake released his first solo album Thank me Later in 2010. It debuted at #1 in both Canada and the U.S. and went platinum. Since then, he’s dominated the charts with his R&B infused hip-hop songs.
12. Had a Rival for Rhianna’s Affections
Drake and Chris Brown became bitter rivals for singer Rhianna’s affections. In 2012, their feud came to a climax when violence broke out at a nightclub in New York. The fight caused injury to several onlookers, and both stars faced legal consequences for their actions.
13. Diss Wars
Rapper Meek Mill got into a dispute with Drake after his claim that Drake was using a ghost writer for a track they collaborated on. Drake got back at Mill by recording two diss tracks directly aimed at him in a single week.
14. Wrote a Song About Rhianna
The Song “Views from the 6” from the album “Views” was about his on again/off again relationship with Rhianna.
15. Started from the Bottom
Drake’s 2013 song “Started from the Bottom” was a reflection of his personal struggle for success. As he explained to MTV News, “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”
16. Shoehorned by the Grammys
In 2017, Drake won Grammy awards for the song “Hotline Bling” in the best rap song and best rap/sung performance. After the ceremony, he criticized the Grammys for “shoehorning” him into the rap category. In an interview with Apple Beats 1 the next day, 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.”
17. Beat a Michael Jackson Record
In October 2016, Drake broke a record for the most American Music Award Nominations. His 13 nominations broke the record 11 held by Michael Jackson since 1984. Since his first nomination in 2010, he has earned a total of 21 nominations.
18. Also Broke a Bieber Record
Drake holds the record for the most Billboard Hot 100 entries in one week with 20. The record surpassed Justin Bieber’s record 17 entries.
19. Charted for Eight Straight Years
Since his entry onto the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 2009, Drake has never been off the chart. He has had at least one track on the weekly chart for 420 weeks and counting. On the June 6, 2017 list, he had three entries.
20. One of Two
Drake is one of the only two artists to have simultaneously held the top 3 positions on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart. 50 Cent is the other.
21. Most Number One Rap Singles
Drake has the most number one singles on Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs chart with 12. He also has 10 songs on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart.
22. The Boy Can Skate!
Drake can act, sing, and dance, but he also has a few moves on skates! While dating Rhianna, the triple-threat took her ice skating to help her with her moves on the ice.
23. Immortalized in Sushi
An Italian chef has immortalized Drake , along eith some of the biggest rap icons in the world, in sushi form. Dark seaweed makes up his hair and beard, and his skin is made of white rice. Snoop Dog, and Kanye West also Tupac are also featured, all with individual intricate details.
24. She’s So Over Him!
At the 2017 Billboard Awards, Drake declared his love for Nicki Minaj and called her the love of his life. He did give a shout-out to his ex-girlfriend Rhianna, but she was reportedly un-phased by his new relationship, and has “never been happier” without him.
25. He’s Written Songs for Others
Not only does Drake write and record his own music, but he’s written songs for other artists as well. Rita Ora, Jamie Foxx, and Alicia Keys can all credit Drake for hit singles.
26. Has His Own Whiskey
Drake collaborated with the creator of DeLeon Tequila to launch his own whiskey, Virginia Black. When the whiskey hit LCBO (Ontario’s liquor stores) in September 2016, it set a single day sales record moving 1779 bottles.
27. The YOLO estate
Before Drake became a multi-millionaire, he would imagine his “someday” mansion, and spent a lot of time Googling epic residential pools. The L.A. mansion that he eventually purchased came with one of those incredible pools. The pool has an 80 foot waterslide, flat screen tvs in the grotto, and flame-spitting iron torches. He aptly named his home the YOLO estate. Drake is currently building a custom mansion on an estate in Toronto’s lavish Bridle Path.
28. Global Ambassador to Toronto Raptors
Drake made headlines in 2013 when the Toronto Raptors basketball team announced that Drake would become their new Global Ambassador. The role makes him the official “face” of the Raptors, and gives him an all-access pass to their home games. This made Drake an official part of the franchise, and was the first of its kind in the NBA.
29. Denied Access to the Heat
In 2013, Drake was denied access to the Miami Heat’s locker room after their title-clinching win over San Antonio. A security official with the stadium turned him away for not having a media pass when he attempted to go in through the media entrance. The YouTube video of the exchange garnered more than 5.8 million views.
30. Champagne Papi
Drake acts as a music producer under the pseudonym Champagne Papi. He’s never specifically said where the name came from, but there’s speculation that it’s drawn from the 2002 crime movie Shottas.
31. Biggest Influences
Jay-Z, Aaliyah and Lil Wayne are among Drake’s influences. In an interview with SoulCulture TV, he stated that Aaliyah has had the biggest influence on his career.
32. October’s Very Own
Drake started OVO as a small-scale blog about Toronto’s thriving music scene, but has now built it into an all-encompassing lifestyle brand including his clothing line, his record label, and OVOFEST- a music festival which he founded.
33. Video Directed by Kanye West
The video for Drake’s song “The Best I Ever Had” was directed by Kanye West. He told MTV news that creativity “oozes” out of him, and his idea for the video was the best out of all of them.
34. Got a Tattoo of Lil Wayne
In July 2017, an eagle-eyed Twitter user spotted Drake’s latest tattoo in a photograph. The tattoo is a portrait of his mentor Lil Wayne, and is on his left tricep. Wayne said he was “beyond floored” and “honored”
35. Had a Crush on a “Broke Girl”
Over the course of his career, Drake has been linked to several women, including Rhianna, Tyra Banks, and Niki Manaj. On an episode of Ellen, the rap star admitted that he once had a huge crush on Kat Dennings from “Two Broke Girls”, and that she was kind enough to go out for dinner with him once.
36. His Uncle Played for Prince
Drake’s uncle Larry Graham played bass for Prince. He was also reportedly responsible for introducing Prince to the Jehovah’s Witness faith.
37. “The Ballet”
In early 2017, Drake added nightclub owner to his list of credentials with the opening of his Houston club “The Ballet”. He describes the club as a “new dance experience” and promises to put the dancers “on a pedestal” in “unforgettable” surroundings.
38. Voiced a Mammoth
Drake lent his voice to the animated film Ice Age: Continental Drift. He played a teen mammoth named Ethan.
39. World’s Most Popular Recording Artist
In 2016, Drake was the world’s most popular recording artist. He had the year’s bestselling single with “One Dance” and Views was the world’s third best-selling album.
40. What is Love?
In an interview with GQ magazine back in 2013, Drake admitted that he never actually loved Rhianna. He said that a discussion about love with actor Will Smith made him realize that he doesn’t know if he’s ever felt that way.
41. A Toronto Tribute
The cover of Drake’s album Views from the 6 is a tribute to his hometown of Toronto. The cover shows him perched on top of the CN Tower- a Toronto landmark. The singer also has a tattoo of the CN tower on his right arm.