Remember when Drake was just a disabled ex-basketball star attending a fictional Canadian high school? Nobody would ever have guessed that he would eventually become one of the most beloved and successful icons in the music world.
From barely scraping by to getting into bar fights with Chris Brown over Rhianna, the rollercoaster ride that is Drake’s life has taken many twists and turns in a relatively short period of time. We’ve examined Drake’s life and found some little-known facts about what has happened to him on his way to becoming the pinnacle of artistry within his genre of music.
Drake isn’t the only famous musician in his family. Keep reading to learn more.
The True Identity of Drake
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Most people know him as “Jimmy” from Degrassi or “Drake” from his music career. However, he was born Aubrey Drake Graham on October 24, 1986, Ontario, Canada. In order to still keep part of his given name for his music career, he decided to use his middle name for his musical identity.
His father is an African American from Memphis, Tennessee and his mother is a Jewish Canadian. As a boy, he attended a Jewish day school and even had a Bar Mitzvah ceremony. He also holds dual citizenship to both the United States and Canada.
Music Runs In His Family
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If you thought that Drake was the only successful musician in the family, you’d be sadly mistaken. Music was a big part of Drake’s upbringing with his father Dennis Graham working as a drummer for rock and roll superstar Jerry Lee Lewis. Also, his uncle played the bass guitar for Sly and the Family Stone and Prince.
Even on his mother’s side, there was a lot of musical influence on Drake as a boy. Music even brought his parents together, and the two met after Dennis performed at the Clue Bluenote where he first interacted with his mother, Sandra.
Were you ever a fan of Canadian teen dramas?
High School Was A Tough Time For Drake
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After his parents divorced when he was five, he was raised by his mother in Toronto, Canada. His mother instilled Jewish traditions in Drake as a young boy, which later proved to make things difficult for Drake growing up. While in high school, Drake was the minority attending an all-white school. Not only was Drake African American, but he was also Jewish which truly set him apart from his peers.
During that time, he felt isolated explaining that “nobody understood what it was like to be black and Jewish.” Luckily, for Drake, he saw this as an opportunity to grow himself into a stronger person and rely on himself rather than the opinions of others.
High School Drop Out
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While attending high school, Drake showed an interest for the arts and even scored his first acting gig while still serving as a full-time student. Although he was originally attending Forest Hill Collegiate Academy, he later transferred to Vaughan Road Academy in the multicultural academy of Oakwood-Vaughan.
His peers came from more affluent families which is when things became especially difficult for Drake. It was during this time that the hip-hop star decided to pursue acting as a full-time career and dropped out of high school. He would eventually finish high school in 2012.
Degrassi: The Next Generation
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Eager to become an actor, when he was just 15, a friend introduced Drake to his father, who happened to be an acting agent. The two worked together, and Drake landed a role on the Canadian teen drama series Degrassi: The Next Generation. He played the character of basketball star Jimmy Brooks who eventually lost the use of his legs after being the victim of a school shooting.
While acting on Degrassi, he was essentially supporting he and his mother who was very sick at the time. He acted on the show from 2001 until 2007, appearing in 145 episodes.
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He Almost Gave Up On Music And Got A Day Job
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With minor success with his mixtapes in the mid-2000s, Drake was considering taking a day job. His character had been eliminated from Degrassi, and it didn’t look like his music career was going anywhere. While running out of money from his acting stint, his music career was also looking bleak.
He even thought about giving everything up” and “getting a job in a restaurant or something” to keep his head above water. That was the plan until Lil Wayne called him and asked if he wanted to join the Carter III tour.
The Mixtape That Put Him On The Map
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It wasn’t until 2009 that Drake came into the limelight. Although he had accrued a group of supportive fans over the years, it was his third mixtape So Far Gone that turned him into a sensation overnight. The mixtape contained some of Drakes most classic tracks such as “Best I Ever Had” and “Successful,” which both did unexpectedly well on the Billboard Hot 100.
The song “Successful” was a collaboration with Trey Songz and Lil Wayne which went gold and was named one of Rolling Stone’s 25 Best Songs of 2009.
An Unfortunate Injury
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In 2009, while performing on the “America’s Most Wanted Tour,” he fell on stage and tore his ACL, which ended up requiring surgery. He had already torn his ACL a few weeks prior but decided to go on tour anyway.
He told MTV News, “I didn’t really get any approval from my doctor, but I made a personal decision 48 hours ago that I’d be letting a lot of people down if I didn’t show up and at least show them I’m there for them.” Then, during the performance, he slipped and fell, tearing it even worse than before and needed assistance getting off the stage.
The Scramble For Rhianna
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While Chris Brown and Drake may have started out as friends, things turned sour when they both began competing for Rhianna’s affection. The two slowly became increasingly resentful towards each other, and they weren’t very secretive about their quarrel.
Tensions continued to rise until it met a breaking point in a nightclub in New York. Their confrontation turned violent, and a fight broke out. The brawl made both of the rappers look bad in the media, and because several onlookers were injured during the confrontation, both men faced with legal consequences.
You won’t believe how many consecutive years Drake has been on the Billboard Hot 100.
Drake Bashed The Grammys
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In 2017, Drake took home Grammy Awards for The Best Rap Song and the Best Rap Song Performance for his track “Hotline Bling.” While most artists might be thrilled about this accomplishment, Drake was not. He openly criticized the Grammys for their decision.
The day after winning his awards, in an interview with Apple Beats 1, he commented, “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.” Multiple times Drake has claimed that he’s not a rapper, but apparently, nobody wants to listen.
He Beat Michael Jackson’s Record
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In October 2016, Drake did the unheard of and broke the record for the most American Music Award Nominations. Jackson had set the bar incredibly high with 11 nominations and held the record since 1984. Drake came in and broke the record with an impressive 13 nominations. He claimed all 13 nominations for his album Views. The second runner-up was Rhianna with seven nominations and Justin Bieber, and Adele tied with five each.
Since 2010, in total, Drake has earned a total of 21 nominations. According to The Guardian, “Nominations are based on a metric that includes sales, airplay and social activity tracked by Billboard magazine and its partners.”
He’s Been On The Charts For Eight Consecutive Years
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In 2009, Drake made his first appearance on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for his songs “Successful” and “Best I’ve Ever Had.” Since then, Drake has never spent a second off of the chart. He has had at least one track on the weekly chart for the last 420+ weeks with no sign of slowing down anytime soon.
During these years, he also broke Justin Bieber’s record for the most Billboard Hot 100 entries in one week with 20. Bieber had previously set the record at 17. He is also only one of two artists that have simultaneously held the top 3 positions on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart. The other is 50 Cent.
Soon you’ll learn about the biggest and possibly most shocking news surrounding Drake at the moment.
He Can Tear Up The Ice On Skates
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With Drake’s music, dancing, and acting successes, it’s clear that Drake is a man of many talents. However, he added one more skill into his arsenal after he took Rhianna out on a date, In 2016, the two went to the Basement Bowl club in Miami where they were seen dancing, drinking, and blatantly flirting all night. However, the fun didn’t stop there.
Drake wanted to impress Rhianna further and really steal her heart, so he took her ice skating. Drake went on to wow Rhianna with his skills on the ice while also helping her perfect her ice skating style.
The Switch From Rhinna To Nicki
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Drake decided to stir the pot a little bit at the 2017 Billboard Awards. Here, he proclaimed his love for pop star Nicki Minaj and even went so far as to call her the love of his life.
Maybe he meant it, and maybe he didn’t, but this was seen as a diss to his ex-girlfriend Rhianna and had many of her die-hard fans not speaking very highly of Drake. Although he did give a shout out to Rhianna, she seemed unphased by the whole ordeal and even said that she’s “never been happier” with him out of her life.
He Has A Son Named Adonis
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In the midst of a heated back and forth with rapper Pusha T in May 2018, Pusha released the song “The Story of Adonin.” In the song, he claims that Drake is the father of a baby boy with former adult performer Sophie Brussaux. Drake stayed quiet about the claims until he released his double album Scorpion on June 28, 2018.
Throughout the album, he admits to being the father of the child and explains why he made the decision to keep the news private. Not only did he put all of the speculations to rest, but he also changed some minds about how he was handling the situation with his son.
Check out Drake’s ultimate dream house and whiskey brand, both are just ahead…
He Has His Own Whiskey Brand
Photo Credit: George Pimentel/Getty Images for Virginia Black Decadent American Whiskey
In May 2016, Drake revealed his whiskey company Virginia Black to the public. The drink is described by the company as a “decadent American whiskey” and is available in specific areas around the world. The company is a collaboration between Drake and Brent Hocking, the founder, and creator of DeLeón Tequila.
The two claim that the collaboration is “A shared passion for style, music, and the pursuit of taste. A quest to redefine whiskey. The product of their attention: Virginia Black.” Today, you can be an owner of Virginia Black and the link is available on their incredibly sleek website.
He’s A Global Ambassador For The Toronto Raptors
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Back in 2013, the Toronto Raptors announced that they had made Drake their official Global Ambassador. The position makes Drake the worldwide face of the NBA team. Becoming a global ambassador for anything is as much of a responsibility as it is an honor. However, there are substantial perks such as having all-access courtside seats for all home games.
This made Drake an official part of the franchise, something that has never been done before. Drake’s reaction to referee calls have also become internet famous and are turned into memes time and time again.
Drake’s YOLO Estate
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While growing up, he and his mother struggled financially. Also, going to school with a lot of affluent kids only reminded him of what he didn’t have. So, after achieving success, he bought a property for $7.7 million in Saddle Ranch. Drake deemed the property the “Yolo Estate.”
Drake’s home features a massive pool that he had always dreamed of owning as well as a movie theatre basketball/tennis court, stables, a mechanical bull, and of course, a secret passage into his bedroom. Also, the house wouldn’t be complete without a recording studio which he installed upon moving in.
He Had A Crush On Kat Dennings
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It’s no secret that Drake has been involved with some notable women in the entertainment industry like Rhianna, Tyra Banks, and Niki Minaj. However, on an episode of Ellen, he gave hope to all the normal girls out there that aren’t music and fashion icons. He admitted that he had a crush on actress Kat Dennings. Although Dennings was flattered, she wasn’t interested.
This also infuriated the girls Drake had given hope to. However, she was kind enough to go out to dinner with him on one occasion. Just when everyone thought that Drake had a particular type, he proved everyone wrong.
Drake Voiced A Mammoth In An Animated Movie
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If you saw the 2012 animated film Ice Age: Continental Drift you may not have noticed that both Drake and Niki Minaj were the voices of two teenage mammoths. Drake players the mammoth Ethan and Minaj play the mammoth named Hailey. The two characters are featured at the beginning of the film right before the main characters of the film set off on their adventures.
Although we’ve already seen Drake behind the scene once, people are eager to know if we’re ever going to see him in anything but music videos again.