Aubrey Drake Graham (born October 24, 1986), who records under the mononym Drake, is a Canadian recording artist and actor. He originally became known for playing Jimmy Brooks on the television series Degrassi: The Next Generation.
In June 2009, Drake signed a recording contract with Lil Wayne's Young Money Entertainment. In November 2009, Lil Wayne released a statement announcing that Drake's first studio album, Thank Me Later, had been completed. The album was released on June 15, 2010, and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. The album has since gone platinum. He released his second studio album on November 15, 2011 titled Take Care. Drake was set to release an R&B mixtape sometime in the future along with a collaboration album with Lil Wayne however both have been postponed for various reasons.
Drake has worked with several other hip-hop artists such as Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, Kanye West, Eminem, and Jay-Z. With the success of his mixtape turned EP So Far Gone, Drake has been nominated for several awards including Grammys, even being selected to perform at the 2010 Grammy award ceremony. Drake has also won several awards, including two Juno Awards in 2010 for Best New Artist, and Rap Recording of the Year.
Aubrey Drake Graham was born on October 24, 1986, in Toronto, Ontario. He is the son of Dennis Graham, a drummer who worked with Jerry Lee Lewis, and Sandi Graham, an educator. Two of his uncles, Larry Graham and Teenie Hodges, are also musicians. Drake's father is an African American from Memphis, Tennessee, and Drake's mother is a white Jewish Canadian. He attended a Jewish day school and had a Bar Mitzvah. His parents divorced when he was five years old, and he was raised by his mother in Toronto's wealthy Forest Hill neighborhood. Drake attended high school at Forest Hill Collegiate Institute, where he began acting, but did not graduate. He spent most summers with his father in Memphis. Drake stated that his parents' divorce greatly affected him as a person, saying, “I had to become a man very quickly and be the backbone for a woman who I love with all my heart, my mother."
In 2001, Drake 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. He appeared in 138 episodes. He also appeared in the 2008 television movie Degrassi Spring Break Movie. Drake is mentioned in the 2010 television movie Degrassi Takes Manhattan, making him one of two Degrassi actors (along with Shenae Grimes) who exist within the series' fictional universe independently of their characters.
In June 2010 it was announced that Drake would have a prominent role in the video game Gears of War 3. He was scheduled to play the part of Jace Stratton, but a scheduling conflict meant it went to someone else.
In late January 2011, Indiewire announced that Drake was in negotiations to join Eva Green and Susan Sarandon in the cast of Nicholas Jarecki's forthcoming feature-film "Arbitrage.". However in April 2011, it was announced that Drake will no longer be starring in the movie as his plan is to focus fully on his sophomore album Take Care instead.
2006–09: Career beginnings and mixtapes
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, Jas Prince, 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". Though now part of Lil Wayne's crew, Young Money, Drake was not signed.
On February 13, 2009, Drake released his third official mixtape, So Far Gone, for free download on his blog site which included Drake's mentor Lil Wayne, Bun B, Omarion, Lloyd and his friend, 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 worked with DJ Khaled, Young Money, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Eminem, Young Jeezy, Mary J. Blige, Timbaland, Birdman, Trey Songz, and Jamie Foxx. Drake has also written for Alicia Keys, 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 was 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, that Drake signed a record deal with Young Money Entertainment. This followed what Billboard purported to be "one of the biggest bidding wars ever". Drake toured with Wayne and other rap artists on the America's Most Wanted Tour.
On July 31, 2009, Drake, who was performing on an already injured knee, fell on stage while performing "Best I Ever Had", with Lil Wayne in Camden, New Jersey. Drake underwent surgery on September 8, 2009 for a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. He underwent rehabilitation and was soon able to walk.
On September 15, 2009, So Far Gone was released as a seven-track EP in which five of the tracks were from the original mixtape. It debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200. Since then the album was certified gold by the RIAA with over 500,000 copies sold in the United States. On April 18, 2010, the album won Rap Recording of the Year at the 2010 Juno Awards.
In 2011, Drake & TLC made a mixtape titled "The FanMail Mixtape" according to Datpiff.com, featuring some of songs from Thank Me Later and FanMail including other hits from TLC's other CDs.
2010: Thank Me Later
Drake planned to release his official debut album, Thank Me Later, in late 2009, but the album's release date was postponed, first to March 2010, then May 25, 2010. Universal Motown then stated the album had been pushed back three weeks for a June 15, 2010, release. The album has collaborations with the likes of Kanye West, Jay-Z and Lil Wayne while forgoing planned duets with Trey Songz and Danny!. On March 9, 2010, Drake released the first single from his Thank Me Later album, also known as "Over". It reached No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100.
On March 12, 2010, a version of K'naan's "Wavin' Flag" recorded by a collective of Canadian musicians known as Young Artists for Haiti was released. Drake is featured in the song, performing a solo verse near the end of the song.
On April 29, 2010, it was announced that Drake had finished Thank Me Later. According to reports, Drake announced the completion of the album to a crowd during his April 26, 2010, show at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. His camp has since confirmed that Drake was finished with the final track to the album and the next single from the album would be titled "Find Your Love". "Find Your Love" was released as the second single on May 5, 2010, and has become the most successful single from the album, as it has peaked at number 5 on the Hot 100.
The third single from the album, "Miss Me", featuring Lil Wayne, was released on June 1, 2010. It has reached No. 15 on the Hot 100.
Thank Me Later was finally released on June 15, 2010. On that day, 25,000 fans gathered at New York's South Street Seaport for a free concert by Drake and Hanson. A near riot ensued after police canceled the show due to over-flowing crowds.
The record sold 447,000 copies in its first week, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his first release to do so. Due to his first week sales, Drake had sold the most records for any hip hop artist in one week in 2010. Eminem would pass that mark a week later.
Drake hosted the first annual Ovo (October's Very Own) Festival. In that festival he brought out the VIP list of rap stars including Jay-Z, Eminem, Rick Ross, Young Jeezy, Bun B and Fabolous. Drake kicked off his "Lights Dreams and Nightmares Tour" on September 20, 2010 in Miami, Florida. The tour traveled to major cities in the United States, winding down on November 6 in Las Vegas.
2011: Take Care
On November 17, 2010, Drake revealed the title of his next studio album to be Take Care. On June 9, 2011, it was unveiled that Drake's second studio album will be released on October 24, 2011. He 'sought beats' from DJ Premier and some collaborations and background vocals from TLC members Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas for his sophomore album. In a November 17, 2010, interview, rapper and producer Q-Tip said that he's "cheffing up some stuff for him right now". It is unclear whether the tracks Q-Tip produced will be on Take Care. Drake posted a new track, "Dreams Money Can Buy", on his October's Very Own blog on May 20. On June 9 another track from the album, "Marvin's Room" was made available. "Marvin's Room" was officially released on July 22, 2011, via iTunes. On June 28 he released a music video for "Marvin's Room".
The first single from Take Care is "Headlines", which reached as high as 13 on the Hot 100. Drake's latest single from Take Care is "The Motto", featuring Lil Wayne.
In addition to making his own music, Drake has also written for other artists in the industry such as Alicia Keys, Jamie Foxx and more. He also tends to feature or remix tracks that he has written for other artists such as Unthinkable Remix by Alicia Keys. Lil Wayne also claims that he and Drake have both written for Dr. Dre's Detox album.
In the list of the songs written, "Yesterday", of Diddy Dirty Money featuring Chris Brown, written with Chris Brown, Cristyle, Kevin McCall and Mario Winans, from Diddy's fifth studio album, Last Train to Paris. Drake also wrote the song "Unthinkable", by Alicia Keys, also written with Keys and Kerry Brothers, Jr., Noah "40" Shebib, from her album The Element of Freedom. He is featured in the remix of the song. "I Get Lonely Too" by Jeremiah is also written by Drake.
Drake is a fan of the Kentucky Wildcats and a friend to head coach John Calipari. On October 16, 2009, Drake made an appearance at the University of Kentucky men's basketball event, "Big Blue Madness" at Rupp Arena. On January 2, 2009, Drake also attended Kentucky's game against the University of Louisville and accompanied Calipari to his post game radio show. Drake returned to the University of Kentucky on April 27, 2010, to perform a concert.
He was featured in the February–March issue of Complex Magazine, in which he discussed his professional relationship with Lil' Wayne, competition with up-and-coming artists, getting inspired by ex-girlfriends, and the details on his debut studio album, Thank Me Later.
In July 2010, Drake postponed his entire European tour due to his mother's illness.
In 2010, Drake dated Rihanna, but as of late 2011, he is not involved in any personal relationship.
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