Aubrey Drake Graham a.k.a Drake
was raised only by his mother in Toronto, Canada since he was just five because his parents
got divorced. Sometimes, he spent summers with his father in Memphis. He had started writing songs since he was ten years old. However, he began his career in showbiz industry as a small screen actor.
Drake, who was born on October 24, 1986, got his first role as a junior high schooler named Jimmy Brooks on Canadian teen drama TV series "Degrassi: The Next Generation". As years went by, he got more roles in such TV series as "Soul Food", "Conviction", "Best Friend's Date", "The Borders", "Sophie
" and "Being Erica".
Gaining popularity as small screen actor, Drake couldn't resist trying his hands at music industry. In February 2006, he released his first indie mixtape titled "Room for Improvement". The next year, he returned with another independent mixtape "Comeback Season
". One of its single "Replacement Girl" peaked at number 21 on Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart.
Drake developed close relationship with Lil Wayne
and became his protege after making a collaboration with the rap mogul on a remix of song "Man of the Year". Under the assistance of the Young Money's founder, he worked on an indie mixtape "So Far Gone
" and dropped the effort in February 2009. In the set, he joined forces with his mentor, Trey Songz
, Peter Bjorn, Lloyd
and many more.
Drake made his debut on Billboard Hot 100 through "Best I Ever Had", the single in "So Far Gone". Having no featured guest on the hook, this track climbed to number 18 on the U.S. singles chart. It also peaked at number 1 on Billboard Hot Rap Tracks and at number 2 on Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. What made him differed from any other artists was that he reached all his popularity and achievement as an indie singer, being signed to no record label not even to Weezy's
label, Young Money.
On his personal life record, Drake once dated songstress Keshia Chante. Following his break-up with her, he crafted a song called "Deceiving", making reference to her mother Tessa. He also remixed one of her songs "Fallen", adding lines "Keshia, Keshia, do you remember the old us? They said we'd never be together that's what they told us. Immature kids, to entrepreneur kids" to the track.
In 2009, Drake was rumored to embark on a love relationship with Rihanna
. He was said kissing the Barbadian singer at Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge on West 42nd Street in mid May that year. However, the speculation soon came to an end after he denied it during an interview on New York's Hot 97 radio station
In June 2009, Drake threatened to sue a label named Canadian Money Entertainment
over unauthorized album called "The Girls Love Drake", which was a compilation of selected songs from his "So Far Gone" mixtape. There were many samples, some of which were from David Banner
, Goapele and Colun Munroe, in the record which hadn't been cleared, and his manager Al Branch was concerned about the possibly of him being sued over illegal samples.
"This is a straight bootleg, a scandal. We are behind promoting records at radio, but haven't sold it," Branch said. "iTunes' position is that they are a store and they stock everything. They have a waiver and as long as people sign it and are responsible
for the product they submit, then they go for it."
However, Peter Greenwood from Money Entertainment defended their action, stating, "'The Girls Love Drake' was just a combination of new and old songs that we had been promoting on the underground scene for the last six months and so we wanted to get more exposure for it on the net. Breaking him in the states along with other Toronto artists has always been our goal. Drake is our hometown hero."
Being considered as one of rising stars, Drake received several record deal offers from major labels. There were at least three giant companies, including Universal Motown and Atlantic Records
, which were involved in "one of the biggest bidding wars ever" to get Drake signed up to their company. One of the labels reportedly had offered $2 million dollars to persuade the young artist to join them.
Drake has been working on his debut studio album "Thank Me Later
" since 2008. Beside cooking up materials for his own record, he is also involved in the making of Weezy's rock-themed effort "REBIRTH
" and Rihanna's new album.