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Drake (musician)

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Aubrey Drake Graham[4] (/ɔːˈbriː/ aw-BREE; born October 24, 1986) is a Canadian rapper and singer.[5] An influential figure in contemporary popular music, Drake has been credited for popularizing singing and R&B sensibilities in hip hop. He gained recognition by starring as Jimmy Brooks in the CTV teen drama series Degrassi: The Next Generation (2001–08) and subsequently pursued a career in music releasing his debut mixtape Room for Improvement in 2006. He released the mixtapes Comeback Season (2007) and So Far Gone (2009) before signing with Young Money Entertainment.[6]

Drake’s first three albums, Thank Me Later (2010), Take Care (2011) and Nothing Was the Same (2013), were all critical successes and propelled him to the forefront of hip hop.[7] His fourth album, Views (2016), saw exploration of dancehall and stood atop the Billboard 200 for 13 non-consecutive weeks, making it the first album by a male artist to do so in over a decade, and featured the chart record-setting lead single “One Dance”.[8] In 2018, Drake released the double album Scorpion, which contained the Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles “God’s Plan”, “Nice for What”, and “In My Feelings”.[9] Drake’s widely anticipated sixth album, Certified Lover Boy (2021), achieved nine top 10 hits on the Hot 100, setting the then-record for most US top-ten hits from one album, with its lead single “Way 2 Sexy” reaching number one.[10] In 2022, Drake released the house-inspired album Honestly, Nevermind and the collaborative album, Her Loss, with 21 Savage. Known for frequent accompanying releases to his albums, Drake achieved critical and commercial success with the mixtapes If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (2015) and More Life (2017).

As an entrepreneur, Drake founded the OVO Sound record label with longtime collaborator 40 in 2012. In 2013, Drake became the “global ambassador” of the Toronto Raptors, joining their executive committee and later obtaining naming rights to their practice facility. In 2016, he began collaborating with Brent Hocking on the bourbon whiskey Virginia Black.[11] Drake heads the OVO fashion label and the Nocta collaboration with Nike, and founded the production company DreamCrew and the fragrance house Better World. In 2018, Drake was reportedly responsible for 5 percent (CAD$440 million) of Toronto’s CAD$8.8 billion annual tourism income.[12] In 2022, he became a part owner of Italian football club A.C. Milan.

Among the world’s best-selling music artists, with over 170 million records sold, Drake is ranked as the highest-certified digital singles artist in the United States by the RIAA.[13] He has won four Grammy Awards, six American Music Awards, a record 34 Billboard Music Awards, two Brit Awards, and three Juno Awards. Drake has achieved 11 number-one hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and holds further Hot 100 records;[14] he has the most top 10 singles (67), most charted songs (293),[15] the most simultaneously charted songs in one week (27), the most Hot 100 debuts in one week (22), and the most continuous time on the Hot 100 (431 weeks). He additionally has the most number-one singles on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Hot Rap Songs, and Rhythmic Airplay charts.

Drake’s lyrical subject matter, which often revolves around relationships, have had widespread use on social media through photo captions to reference emotions or personal situations.[354] However, this content has incited mixed reception from fans and critics, with some deeming him as sensitive and inauthentic, traits perceived as antithetical to traditional hip hop culture.[355][356] He is also known for his large and extravagant lifestyle, including for high-end themed birthday parties;[357] he maintained this image in his early career by renting a Rolls-Royce Phantom, which he was eventually gifted in 2021.[358] He cultivated a reputation as a successful gambler; between December 2021 and February 2022, he was reported to have made bets of over $1 billion, which included winnings ranging between $354,000 and $7 million.[359]

The Washington Post editor Maura Judkis credits Drake for popularizing the phrase “YOLO” in the United States with his single “The Motto”, which includes, “You only live once: that’s the motto, nigga, YOLO.”[360] Drake later popularized the term “The Six” in 2015 in relation to his hometown Toronto, subsequently becoming a point of reference to the city.[361] June 10 was declared “Drake Day” in Houston.[362][363][364] In 2016, Drake visited Drake University after a show in Des Moines in response to an extensive social media campaign by students that began in 2009, advocating for his appearance.[365][366] According to a report from Confused.com, Drake’s Toronto home was one of the most Googled homes in the world, recording over a million annual searches in 2021; its features, such as its NBA-size indoor basketball court and Kohler Numi toilet, have also received widespread media attention.[367]

The music video for “Hotline Bling” went viral due to Drake’s eccentric dance moves.[368] The video has been remixed, memed, and was heavily commented on due to the unconventional nature on the song,[369] causing it to gain popularity on YouTube, and spawning several parodies.[370] Drake has also been critiqued for his expensive, product placement-heavy attire, exemplified by the video for “Hotline Bling”. Drake modelled a $1,500 Moncler Puffer Jacket, a $400 Acne Studios turtleneck, and limited edition Timberland 6″ Classic Boots.[371][372] He was labeled by GQ magazine as “[one of] the most stylish men alive”;[373] during promotion for Certified Lover Boy, Drake debuted a “heart haircut”, which became popular and widely imitated.[374] Writing for GQ, Anish Patel noted Drake’s consistent incorporation of styles and themes not typically associated with hip hop, such as wearing gorpcore in the music video for his song “Sticky”.[375] Between 2016 and 2019, Drake was noted for the “Drake curse”, an internet meme based on the incidents where he appears to be support of particular sports team or person, just for that team or person to lose, often against the odds.[376]

In 2016, Drake spoke on the shooting of Alton Sterling, publishing an open letter expressing his concern for the safety of ethnic minorities against police brutality in the United States.[377] In 2021, he joined a group of Canadian musicians to work with the Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC) to lobby Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to restructure the country’s copyright law to allow artists and their families to regain ownership of copyrights during their lifetime.[378] He also campaigned for the expansion of a Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) franchise in Toronto,[379] and headlined a benefit concert at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with Kanye West on December 9, 2021, to raise clemency for Larry Hoover,[380] although his solo performance was later removed from the Prime Video replay.[381] In Christmas 2021, Drake gave away money to individuals in Toronto.[382

A prominent figure in pop culture,[383] Drake is often praised one of the most influential figures in hip hop;[384] particularly his use of singing over hip hop instrumentals has been noted as an influence on modern rappers.[385] He is widely credited for popularizing the Toronto sound to the music industry and leading the “Canadian Invasion”, a play on the British Invasion in the 1960s, of the American charts — alongside the likes of Justin Bieber and The Weeknd.[386][387][388][389][390] In 2022, music recognition app Shazam revealed Drake to be their most searched artist by users, with music featuring Drake collecting 350 million recognitions; his 2016 single “One Dance” collected 17 million recognitions alone.[391]

The Insider declared Drake the artist of the decade (2010s).[384] Regarding the general view that Drake introduced singing in mainstream hip hop, the publication said that at the height of Auto-Tune in hip hop during the late 2000s, “there were virtually no artists who were both a legit rapper and a legit crooner who delivered velvety smooth pop/R&B hybrid vocals that could exist separately from his hip-hop songs.”[384] Commenting on Drake’s Take Care, Elias Leight of Rolling Stone noticed in 2020 that “now nearly every singer raps, and nearly every rapper sings”, as many artists “have borrowed or copied the template of [the album] that the boldness of the original is easily forgotten”, according to the writer.[392]

Aaron Williams of Uproxx added “jump-starting the sad boy rapper craze alongside Kid Cudi” and “helping to renew stateside interest in UK grime and Caribbean dancehall with Skepta, PartyNextDoor, and Rihanna” to the modern trends Drake assisted.[393] BBC Radio 1Xtra argued that his co-signs helped push the British hip-hop scene to a wider international market, as he did with the Toronto music scene.[394] According to CBS Music in 2019, Drake has inspired “the next wave” of artists coming out of his hometown.[395] Writing for Bloomberg, Lucas Shaw commented Drake’s popularity has influenced the promotion of music, with Certified Lover Boy attaining large commercial success despite relatively minimal orthodox marketing techniques, stating “fans are consuming Drake’s [music] in a way that is different to others”.[396] He also noted the album as novel in relation to consumption, with each song having relatively equivalent streams, as opposed to a dominant single(s).[396] Justin Charity of The Ringer noted Drake’s signature of producing “half-hearted” performances on songs to create a “natural and off-the-cuff” effect has become the “obvious touchpoint for [subsequent] male R&B singers”.[349] Charity further wrote Drake’s success in the genre is “so thorough that it’s all but impossible to hear certain vintages of R&B without hearing Drake”.[349]

The ubiquity of Drake’s music has consistently seen it played during various activities or events. In 2021, a study conducted by Pour Moi found, over a kilometer, joggers ran 21 seconds slower while listening to Drake’s music compared to other artists. Drake’s music was also found to extend a three-mile run by 105 seconds.[397] Beginning in 2022, Drake’s music was canonized academically by Toronto Metropolitan University, which began teaching courses titled “Deconstructing Drake and the Weeknd”, with the pair’s music used to explore themes related to the Canadian music industry, race, class, marketing and globalization.[398] With the release during LGBT Pride Month of his seventh album Honestly, Nevermind (2022), Mark Savage of the BBC wrote Drake’s exploration of house, a genre with overt origins in black and queer spaces, would help “build a bridge to those [origin] subcultures” for younger music listeners.[399]

Drake is the highest-certified digital singles artist ever in the United States, having moved 142 million units based on combined sales and on-demand streams.[13][400] His highest-certified single is “God’s Plan” (11× Platinum), followed by “Hotline Bling”, which was certified 8× Platinum.[401] He holds several Billboard Hot 100 chart records; he has the most charted songs of any artist (258),[15][402] the most simultaneously charted songs in a single week (27),[296] the most debuts in a week (22),[403] the most top 10 singles (54),[297] the most top 10 debuts in a week (9),[297] the most top 10 debuts (39),[297] and the most continuous time on the chart (431 weeks).[citation needed] He has accumulated 10 number-one singles, a record among rappers.[404] In 2021, Drake became second act to occupy the entire Hot 100’s top five in a single week, the other act being The Beatles in 1964.[297] He also has the most number-one singles on the Hot Rap Songs (23), Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (23),[297] and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay.[405] He is also the only artist to have two albums log 400 weeks each on the Billboard 200.[406]

As of 2021, Drake has won four Grammy Awards from 47 nominations.[407] He has also won a record 29 Billboard Music Awards. In 2017, he surpassed Adele’s record for most wins at the Billboard Music Awards in one night, winning 13 awards from 22 nominations.[204] He was named Artist of the Decade at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards.[288] Billboard editor Ernest Baker stated “Drake managed to rule hip-hop in 2014”, adding “the best rapper in 2014 didn’t need a new album or hit single to prove his dominance”.[408] From 2015 to 2017, Drake ranked within the top-five of the Billboard year-end chart for Top Artists[409][410][411] topping it in 2018.[412] He was named the IFPI Global Recording Artist of 2016 and 2018.[413] Drake was Spotify’s most streamed artist of the 2010s.[414]

Pitchfork ranked Nothing Was the Same as the 41st best album of the decade “so far”—between 2010 and 2014,[415] and ranked him fifth in the publication’s list of the “Top 10 Music Artists” since 2010.[416][417] Take Care was ranked at number 95 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2020).[392] He has been ranked by Complex on their “Best Rapper Alive Every Year Since 1979” list, awarding Drake the accolade in 2011, 2012, and 2015.[418]

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