Given Name: Aubrey Drake Graham
Alias: Drizzy, Champagne Papi
Occupations: Rapper, Singer, Producer, Actor
Releases: Room For Improvement, mixtape, 2006; Comeback Season, mixtape, 2007; So Far Gone, mixtape, February 2009; So Far Gone (reissue), EP, September 2009; We Are Young Money, collaborative album, December 2009; Thank Me Later, debut album, June 2010; Take Care, album, November 2011; Nothing Was The Same, album, September 2013; Yougn Money: Rise of an Empire, collaborative album, March 2014.
Career Highlights: In 2007, Drake became the first unsigned Canadian rapper to have a video on BET, with "Replacement Girl" featured as the "New Joint of the Day." When So Far Gone was first released online, it was downloaded 2,000 times in two hours, a shocking amount for an unsigned, relatively unknown artist. Later in 2009, Drake signed to Young Money Entertainment. "Over," from Thank Me Later, was nominated for a Grammy in 2010. Take Care went double platinum and won Best Rap Album at the the 2012 Grammys. Nothing Was The Same was nominated for three Grammys and went platinum once.
Sound: Drake's mixed use of singing and rapping was initially a bit shocking, since not many artists in in mid-2000s used that approach. But now that artists such as Chance The Rapper and Schoolboy Q can be heard switching between rapped verses and sung hooks, it's clear how much of an effect he's had on the rap game. Much of his signature sound comes courtesy of 40, who you'll read about on the next page, but suffice it to say that Drake has carved out a very distinct, moody niche for himself that still finds room to incorporate the occasional displays of braggadocio and lyrical ferocity.
Strengths: More so than most artists, Drake has tremendous crossover appeal. His catalog spans slow jams, battle rap posse cuts, quotable, radio-friendly singles, and introspective emo rap, with his flexible voice paving the way for his phenomenal songwriting. He also seems to be very self-aware despite his titanic success, penning songs that wisely address his fame while still not being afraid to let loose and get ignorant every now and then. Able to rap with Jeezy, sing with Alicia Keys, and host SNL, Drake has redefined the boundaries of a rap star in the 2010s.