The Rise of Drake

Drake is one of the most popular Canadian rappers of our generation and has over the timeline of his career, released a total of five successful studio albums, two extended plays, six mixtapes, one collaborative mixtape, seventy-seven singles – including an incredible fifty-two  singles as a featured artist, seven promotional singles and thirty-six in total music videos.

Drakes style of modern rap music has drawn the attention of many record labels around the world, some of which his hit tracks have been released on through big names like Universal Motown Records and Universal Republic Records, along with subsidiaries Aspire Music Group, Young Money Entertainment and Cash Money Records. The Canadian rapper has reportedly fifteen number one singles, the most reported on the US Hot Rap Songs chart and has no signs of stopping in his future endeavours. Drake alone as a rap artist, has also the most number one singles on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart – nineteen to be exact.

The successful rapper wasn’t always the big name he is today though. Being born as Aubrey Drake Graham on October 24th 1986, “Drake” quickly became his persona. The artist grew up with his father, Dennis Graham being the drummer for the legendary rock’n’roll star, Jerry Lee Lewis, while his uncle Larry Graham played bass for Sly and the Family Stone. Previously, Drake had credited his musical ability to his mother’s side of the family, adding that his grandmother would babysit Aretha Franklin as a child. His parents, Sandi and Dennis Graham divorced when he was 5 years old and he was primarily raised from that point onwards by his mother.

As the artist grew up, he was given a number of opportunities – one of which was the star in the hit teen soap series, Degrassi: The Next Generation as the role of Jimmy Brooks, a wheelchair-bound character that was embraced by Drake for over 7 years. After leaving the show, Drake pursued his music career that eventually lead to the rapper signing a deal with Lil Wayne’s record label, Young Money Entertainment. The star grew older and embraced a number of new opportunities in his personal life and career path. After dating big name celebrities like Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez, creating his own record label Ovo Sound, and even fronting the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, Jay Z labeled him as the “Kobe Bryant of Hip Hop.”

Following the signing to Lil Wayne’s record label, Young Money Entertainment which also signed the likes of Nicki Minaj, Drake’s mixtape, So Far Gone was repackaged as a 2009 release of his seven-song extended play. The EP peaked at number 6 on the US Billboard 200, and later became certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. Following the success, In June 2010, Drake released his anticipated debut studio album, Thank Me Later that resulted in the release debuting on both the Billboard 200 charts and the Canadian Albums Chart, and later became certified platinum by both the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Canadian Recording Industry Association.

The following year in 2011, Drake released his second studio album, Take Care that became diamond and debuted at number one in both the United States and Canada. The album was a huge success and produced fan-favourite singles such as “Marvins Room”, “Headlines”, “Make Me Proud”, “The Motto”, “Take Care”, “HYFR”, “Crew Love” and “Lord Knows.” An incredible four of which reached the top 15 of the Billboard Hot 100 charts and were certified platinum by the RIAA. In 2013, Drake then released his third album, Nothing Was the Same which also peaked as number-one album in Canada and the US.

In 2016, Drake’s fourth studio album, Views was released in April and had once again debuted at number one in both the United States and Canada. The release was so popular that it also debuted at number one in the United Kingdom, where it quickly became his first number one album. The album was no doubt his most successful release yet, showcasing it’s popularity by being played on mainstream radio and creating a huge media coverage. The album included the hit singles “Hotline Bling”, “One Dance”, “Pop Style” and “Too Good”, all of which were showcased on the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

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