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Drake's Musical Journey: From TV Star to Global Rap Icon

Drake has been topping the charts for years, and unlike most artists, he does it across genres. Known for how emotional his music is, Drake is arguably the most popular artist in the world, dominating the rap and R&B industry for the past 13 years.

Born Aubrey Drake Graham on Oct. 24, 1986, music runs in Drake's blood; his father was a drummer for bands in Memphis, Tennessee, and his uncle played the bass for Sly. Drake was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, and he attended a Jewish day school. Drake's rise to fame was not in the music industry; it was actually in acting. He acted in the TV show “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” While starring in Degrassi, Drake opened up a new door to hip-hop.

Drake released his first mixtape, “Room for Improvement, '' selling 6,000 copies. He signed to Universal Music Group, making him a part of Lil Wayne’s Youngmoney label. But in 2012, Drake decided to make his label, OVO Sound and started to build it up. In 2018, Drake was released from Universal Music Group and is now with OVO Sound.

Drake's most famous mixtape is ”So Far Gone" which had the hit single that made his popularity in the music industry skyrocket: “Best I Ever Had.” He later released his first studio album “Thank Me Later" in 2010. The album debuted at No.1 and went platinum.

With just his second album Drake won a Grammy award for Best Rap Album, “Take Care”. The album went platinum by selling 1.8 million units. The creation had many great artists like The Weeknd, Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, and Andre 3000. Drake named the album “Take Care” because of how much attention he put into making this project.“Take Care” has a gratifying, low tempo and dark aesthetic to it. Some fan favorites are “Marvin’s Room,” “Headlines,” “The Motto,” and “Crew Love.”

Two years later, Drake released another hit album: “Nothing Was The Same.” The album was a Grammy nominee and went quadruple platinum by selling 4 million units. Drake leaned over to another chill album, avoiding hype trap beats, and utilized his impressive singing and rapping skills. The featured artists on this album were Jene Aiko, Majid Jordan, Detail, Sampha, Jay-Z, Big Sean, and 2 Chainz. The album has a lot of great singles like “Started From the Bottom,” “From Time,” and "Hold On, We’re Going Home.” He named this project “Nothing Was The Same” because fame was brought to Drake's life, but he is still the same.

Drake's next creation was “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late," which debuted at No.1 on the U.S. Billboard 200. “Know Yourself” is the most popular song from this album. There are many other good songs on this album such as “Jungle,” "How Bout Now,” “Legend,” and “Energy.” The album went triple platinum in 2022.

In 2016, “Views” dropped and debuted at No.1. The lyrics were mostly about his hometown, Toronto. The album is very mixed when it comes to genres; it includes genres like dancehall, R&B, hip-hop, trap, and pop. Famous songs from this album are “One Dance” and “Hotline Bling.” The next year his seventh consecutive album debuted on top of the chart “More Life.” “Passionfruit,” “Gyalchester,” “Fake Love,” Do Not Disturb,” and “Teenage Fever" are the big songs from this album. Features from this album are Kanye West, Quavo, Travis Scott, and PartyNextDoor.

“Scorpion" was his last project with Universal Music Group, and Drake then devoted his full attention to building his label, OVO Sound. “Scorpion” was released in 2018 with some of the biggest songs of that year, like “God’s Plan,” “In My Feelings,” and “Nice For What.” “Scorpion” had a big social media impact with the song “In My Feelings”. The impact came in the form of a dance challenge where people around the world would dance in any location at any time.

In 2020, “Dark Lane Demo Tapes” came with hit songs like “Chicago Freestyle,” “Not Too You,” and “Toosie Slide.” The song “Toosie Slide” was a big trend where people danced to it during the Covid-19 pandemic. A year later, “Certified Lover Boy" dropped out with great artists such as Lil Baby, Lil Durk, Giveon, Jay-Z, Travis Scott, and 21 Savage. Some well-known songs from ”Certified Love Boy” are “Champagne Poetry,” “Nife Talk,” and “Fair Trade.”

Later in 2021, Drake released “Honestly Nevermind.” The only feature in this album is 21 Savage rapping on “Jimmy Cooks.” One of the most recent albums is “Her Loss" which was released at the end of 2022. “Her Loss" is a collaboration album with 21 Savage. There are great songs on this creation such as “On BS '' and “Rich Flex”. Drake’s latest album, “For All The Dogs'' dropped Oct 6, with features like PARTYNEXTDOOR, J.cole, Bad Bunny, 21 Savage, Yeat, SZA, Chief Keef and Lil Yachty. Most people say it’s not the best album that he has created.

Drake went from an actor to an all-time rapper. Dropping as many albums as he does, he always will come through with great songs. Drake is exceptional in many things, but his strongest attribute is his versatility going from rap to soft ballads. Drake will go in the books as one of the greatest rappers of all time.

[Source: Biography; allmusic.com]

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