Personality Profile: Drake
Has there ever been a new recording artist that has caused so much industry buzz MONTHS before their album was scheduled to drop? I don’t think so.
This week we focus our Personality Profile on Drake
Aubrey Drake Graham (born October 24, 1986) is a Canadian actor and recording artist. He originally became known for playing character Jimmy Brooks on the television series Degrassi: The Next Generation. As a rapper, he performs under the mononym Drake. Drake continued to recognize a close affiliation with Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment before officially signing with the record label in June 2009. His first studio album, Thank Me Later, is expected to be released on the label sometime in March 2010.
At only the beginning of his musical career, Drake has already worked with hip-hop moguls Lil’ Wayne, Birdman, Kanye West, Eminem, and Jay-Z. With the success of his mixtape So Far Gone, Drake has earned and been nominated for several awards, including the Grammys, even performing at the 2010 Grammys.
Born in Toronto, Ontario, the son of Dennis Graham, a drummer who worked with Jerry Lee Lewis; he is the nephew of musicians Larry Graham and Teenie Hodges. Graham’s father is an African American from Memphis, Tennessee, while Graham’s mother, an educator, is a white Jewish Canadian. His parents divorced when he was five, and he was raised by his mother in Toronto’s wealthy Forest Hill neighborhood, attending elementary school at Forest Hill Public School, and high school at Forest Hill Collegiate Institute, where he began acting.
In 2001, Graham began his acting career, playing the role of Jimmy Brooks, a character on Degrassi: The Next Generation. In the show, Brooks is a basketball star who became physically disabled after he was shot by a classmate. His role on the show ended in 2009, when his character graduated from Degrassi.
In February 2006, Drake released his first mixtape Room for Improvement. It was made available via his website and official MySpace page. In 2007, he released another mixtape, Comeback Season, spawning a single and a music video for “Replacement Girl” featuring Trey Songz. Also in 2007, Drake became the first unsigned Canadian rapper to have his music video featured on BET when his first single, “Replacement Girl” was featured as the “New Joint of the Day” on April 30, 2007. It also contained a freestyle over a song with Lil Wayne, a remix of “Man of the Year” originally by Brisco and Flo-Rida. In 2008, Lil Wayne was given some of Drake’s music from Rap-A-Lot founder, J. Prince’s son and he immediately called Drake to invite him to fly to Houston and tour with him. Drake and Wayne recorded a couple of songs during this time, including “Ransom”, the original version of “I Want This Forever”, and the remix to Drake’s song, “Brand New”.
On February 13, 2009, Drake released his third official mixtape, So Far Gone, for free download on his blog site which included Lil Wayne, Bun B, Omarion, Lloyd and Trey Songz. It received over 2,000 downloads in the first 2 hours of release. It was extremely successful in the underground and eventually made its way to radio. Due to the success of the mixtape’s two singles, “Best I Ever Had” and “Successful”, it was released as an EP featuring only five songs from the mix tape and one new song. MTV named it, “The Hottest Mixtape of 2009 (So Far)’. Since So Far Gone, Drake has worked with DJ Khaled, Young Money, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Young Jeezy, Mary J. Blige, Timbaland, Birdman, Trey Songz, and Jamie Foxx. Drake has also written for Jazz Cartier, Bishop Brigante, and Dr. Dre.
He achieved success before signing to a major record label, according to his management Hip Hop Since 1978. In June 2009, it was revealed that an unauthorized album entitled The Girls Love Drake and credited to Drake was up for sale on iTunes. A lawsuit is planned against the label.
On the Billboard Hot 100 chart of July 4, 2009, both “Best I Ever Had”, and “Every Girl” by Young Money Entertainment entered the top ten at positions 3 and 10 respectively. Drake is only the second artist to have his first two top ten hits in the same week. The first was fellow Canadian Nelly Furtado who entered the top ten in 2001 with “I’m Like A Bird” the same week as Missy Elliott‘s “Get Ur Freak On”, a remix of which included a credited contribution from Furtado. On June 29, 2009, it was confirmed Drake signed a record deal with Young Money Entertainment. This followed what Billboard purported to be “one of the biggest bidding wars ever”. He plans to release his official debut album, Thank Me Later, in March 2010, and has confirmed collaborations with the likes of Kanye West, Jay-Z, Danny! and Lil Wayne. Drake has also worked with Alicia Keys on her most recent album The Element of Freedom adding his vocals to the song Unthinkable-I’m Ready.
Stay up on all of Drake’s music projects through the iTunes link HERE.
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