30 Things We Know (And Heart) About Drake As He Celebrates 30 Years
Aubrey Graham, Champagne Papi, Drizzy, The Artist Formerly Known as Jimmy Brooks, or Drake. Call him what you want but on Oct. 24th, the Canadian rap superstar is celebrating his 30th birthday!
Drake used the occasion to announce that he’s releasing More Life in December, which we already know features the tracks "Two Birds, One Stone," "Sneakin''' and "Fake Love.”
Before we break out the Virginia Black Whiskey and raise a glass in honour of his milestone birthday, here’s 30 things we know — and heart — about Drake.
1. Drake comes from a musical family — at least on his father’s side. Dennis Graham was a session drummer for Jerry Lee Lewis and Drake’s uncle Larry Graham played bass for acts like Sly and the Family Stone and Prince. Another uncle, Mabon Hodges, was a musician who wrote songs like “Take Me To The River” and “Love and Happiness” with Al Green. Even Drake’s paternal grandmother has a musical connection: She used to babysit for Aretha Franklin.
Instagram / champagnepapi
2. Drake’s mother Sandi Sher and father Dennis Graham divorced when he was five. He lived with his mother, who was on disability due to rheumatoid arthritis, in several apartments in Toronto before settling into the bottom half of a townhouse in the city’s tony Forest Hill neighbourhood.
Instagram / champagnepapi
3. Drake took tap and ballet lessons as a child. He also performed in productions of The Wizard of Oz and Les Misérables.
4. Drake has 29.2 million followers on Instagram. His dad Dennis Graham has 200,000 followers.
5. Drake played Jimmy Brooks on Degrassi: The Next Generation from 2001 until 2008. His character was shot in the back while running from a gun-toting student and was left paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. Drake has said he was kicked off the series — for which he earned between $40,000 and $60,000 per season — because he would spend a full day on set and then stay up until 5 a.m. working on music.
5. Someone at Degrassi: TNG saw a future rap star in Drake. His character Jimmy was given several chances to show his skills.
6. Drake also appeared in episodes of Canadian series like Blue Murder, The Border and Being Erica as well as an episode of the made-in-Toronto U.S. series Soul Food. On the big screen, Drake had a small role in the 2007 Toronto-shot feature Charlie Bartlett starring Robert Downey Jr. and provided the voice of young mammoth Ethan in 2012’s Ice Age: Continental Drift. In 2013, he made a cameo in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. Drake plays himself in club scenes in the 2011 made-in-Toronto movie Breakaway.
7. Drake appears in the video for Justin Bieber’s hit “Baby” (he’s cheering the Biebs on at the 1:13, 1:20 and 2:02 marks). The video has had more than 1.4 billion views.
8. Drake released his own mixtape, Room For Improvement, in 2006. It was followed a year later by Comeback Season.
9. Since 2005, Drake has released one EP, four studio albums and five mixtapes. He has been a featured artist on more than 50 singles.
10. On April 30, 2007, Drake became the first unsigned Canadian rapper ever to have a music video featured on BET’s “New Joint of the Day.”
11. Drake owns a three-acre property in Hidden Hills, California, which boasts swimming pools, a 25-seat movie theatre, a tennis/basketball court, and stables. The 12,500-square-foot main house includes bookshelves that — with the flip of a switch — open up to reveal his bedroom. He is reportedly building a 21,000-square-foot mansion in Toronto’s upscale Bridle Path neighbourhood, where Prince once had a home.
12. Drake’s collection of tattoos includes the CN Tower on his left arm; portraits of his mother Sandi, maternal grandmother Evelyn Sher, and singer Aaliyah on his back; and one of his father Dennis’ booking photos on his right arm.
13. Drake told W magazine last year that he doesn’t sing in the shower. “I do practice answers to questions in the shower. I talk to myself. I use my shower time to figure out how to respond to the world.”
14. The video for “Started From The Bottom” was partially filmed in Drake’s native province. The scenes inside a Shoppers Drug Mart were shot at the Binbrook, Ont. location, about 100 km southwest of Toronto. The airplane scene was done at the Hamilton airport and Drake was filmed standing on a giant billboard along Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway.
15. Drake underwent surgery in 2009 after injuring his right knee while performing in Camden, New Jersey. This year, he was forced to cancel several shows due to an ankle injury.
16. Drake is credited with popularizing the term “YOLO” (You Only Live Once) from his 2011 song “The Motto.”
17. In 2013, Drake was named the global ambassador for his hometown Toronto Raptors. He is often seen court side at the team’s games.
Vaughn Ridley / Getty Images
18. Drake was the musical guest on a 2011 episode of Saturday Night Live and returned as host and musical guest in 2014 and 2016.
19. Even though he calls himself “Champagne Papi,” Drake is backing Virginia Black Whiskey. It sells for $39.95 in his native province.
20. The video for Drake’s hit “Hotline Bling” is on its way to 1 billion views. The much-parodied clip is currently at a little more than 982 million.
21. Earlier this month, Drake’s “One Dance” broke a Spotify record for the most-streamed song. The company said the track topped 882 million streams.
22. In early October, Drake broke a 32-year record by scoring the most American Music Awards (AMAs) nominations since Michael Jackson got 11 in 1984. He’s up for big awards like Artist of the Year, Male Artist, Album, Rap Artist and Rap Song. Drake He has never won an AMA.
23. Drake has won a single Billboard Music Award and only one Grammy but he’s collected six Juno Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards and a whopping 14 Muchmusic Video Awards. Oh, and a pair of iHeartRadio Music Awards.
24. Drake and Rihanna filmed scenes for the “Work” video inside The Real Jerk restaurant in Toronto.
25. Drake has appeared in the Top 5 on Forbes magazine’s list of the highest-paid hip-hop artists every year since 2014. This year, he ranked 4th with estimated earnings of $38.5 million (all figures in U.S. funds). Last year he was 3rd ($39.5 million) and in 2014 he was 4th ($33 million). He ranked 11th in 2013 ($10.5 million) and 6th in 2012 ($20.5 million).
26. In 2011, Drake received the Allan Slaight Honour, which “recognizes the achievements of young Canadians who have the ability to turn their talent into inspiration,” at Canada’s Walk of Fame.
27. In 2010, Virgin America branded one of its Airbus A320 as “Air Drake” in honour of the rap star, who was onboard the inaugural flight from Los Angeles to Toronto. Virgin America discontinued its Toronto service after less than a year.
Michael Buckner / Getty Images
28. Drake attended Jewish day school (and had a Bar Mitzvah) and attended both Forest Hill Collegiate Institute and Vaughan Road Academy. But he didn’t graduate until 2012. “One of the greatest feelings in my entire life!,” he tweeted at the time.
29. A bespectacled Drake was captured on camera rapping to the Fugees’ “Ready Or Not” when he was just a kid.
30. Drake’s latest album, Views, spent more weeks atop the Billboard 200 chart than any album by a solo male since Usher’s Confessions in 2004.
Happy 30th Birthday, Drake!
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