The man formerly known to preteens as “Wheelchair Jimmy” has managed to shed that persona and present himself to the world as Drake. As an emcee, his career has soared to new heights and he has solidified himself as one of the top selling mainstream artists of today. His debut album Thank Me Later, which dropped in 2010, was just a small glimpse at what he is capable of. Since then, Drake has branched out into multiple avenues, becoming a businessman on the way to aligning himself with notable moguls such as P. Diddy, Dr. Dre, and Jay Z. The 2009 Drake is completely different from 2016 Drake: smarter, more arrogant, and ever evolving.
Before Drake started to dominate radio, he was known for his role on the Canadian teen drama Degressi. He played Jimmy, the cute and popular basketball player who was reduced to a wheelchair after a school shooting. His character was a favorite as audiences viewed the challenges of a teenage handicap struggling to adjust to his new life. Though Degrassi was more of a serious role, Drake has also done stints on Saturday Night Live, flexing his acting skills and displaying just how funny he can be. His appearances have shown that he has some versatility. Although he hasn’t dabbled in acting since then, there is some potential that for possible roles in the future.
Drake’s most notable talent is his success and appeal as a rapper. Dominating the mainstream world, he has put out four albums and two commercial mixtapes, one of those being a collaboration with Future. On each of his projects, he has managed to offer a different sound moving from R&B to rap to Caribbean influence. Regardless of these changes, they’ve worked in his favor. To date, he has earned five number one albums, eleven top ten hits, and has sold over forty million records worldwide. With his status and popularity, he has become a figurehead of his hometown, Toronto. In 2009, he created the OVO Festival, which is a concert series hosted in his hometown. Artists to grace the stage have included Jay Z, Kanye West, J. Cole, Eminem, and Kendrick Lamar. The caliber of artists that perform just reinforce the respect and success Drake has acquired in the industry.
Continuing his reign, he has also earned the role of Global Ambassador for the Toronto Raptors. Not only does he get courtside seats at every game, but his duties have included rebranding the team. The role has no rigid structure, but whatever Drake is doing has worked since The Raptors have really stepped their game up. Along with hosting All Star earlier this year, OVO and Raptor infused apparel has been implemented, as well as, days in recognition of the rapper. Drake has a startling effect not only in his music, but in any and everything associated with Toronto, Canada.
Not only is Drake making music, but he has also started to scout out his own artists. In 2012, he created his own label titled OVO Sound. The roster includes artists such as PartyNextDoor and Majid Jordan, as well as, producers like Boi-Ida and T-Minus. Though the label is fairly new, his artists have gotten quite successful and popular, due to their talent and support system. What is so unique about Drake’s label is that they all offer their own sounds, yet are also uniform. Drake has a great ear for talent as his producer Boi-1da has worked with artists like Eminem and Rihanna and PartyNextDoor wrote Rihanna’s lead single “Work”.
While artists were huddling together to create and sign the contract for Tidal, Drake signed his own deal with Apple Music. Despite acquiring $19 million from the deal, he has also gotten exclusivity of his music and promotion and exposure for his artists. He has his own radio station with Beats 1 radio titled OVO Sound, where his music and his artist’s music is premiered and played. With this type of exclusivity, he doesn’t need to join another streaming service, when his label’s music can be streamed in one spot, receiving all of the attention. It’s a smart and strategic move on Drake’s part, which is something a smart businessman would do. Besides music, Drake has also partnered with Brent Hocking to create Virginia Black Whiskey. Though liquor seems to be the new business venture for artists these days, Drake is bit different in that he’s leaning towards the darker side. While Diddy and 50 Cent have vodka, Drake is going an alternate route. With a taste that is smooth and sweet, it’s safe to say that music isn’t the only thing Drake is good at.
With so much money, Drake hasn’t forgotten to invest. Recently, he has poured some of his money into a new startup company, Omni. This app allows a person to have a service pick up an item for storage and have it returned at any time, at a cheap cost. It’s an innovative way of storage, especially with the abundance of technology in this day and age. It’s not for certain how successful this app may be. However, with all of Drake’s other successes, he seems to know what he’s doing.