What is it about him that draws as much fanfare as it does?
Let’s go back to the time when some only knew Aubrey Graham as wheelchair Jimmy from Degrassi.
No one thought he’d be able to hang in the rap/hip-hop category of music because he was “too light” and “too pretty.” Then came So Far Gone and Nothing Was The Same. (See what I did there?)
His debut album spent 32 weeks on the charts in 2009 and gave us guilty-pleasure hits that still go today. Every album released since has been a No. 1 album on the charts – which in this day and age of accidental and on-purpose leaks, is a feat in of itself. In 2012, his tour grossed more than Kanye & Hov. #Factsonly
I remember being in Miami for the NFL ProBowl and hearing more Drake there than I did in my own country. We try to rep our own, but Canada is a little bit smaller than our neighbours to the south. Which is probably why I look at all of it with a slight side eye.
The people that throw the most shade are the ones buying and listening. And sharing. And talking. And tweeting. All this, makes him richer and solidifies his status as a star in music (regardless of how you classify him) known only by one name. Part of me would love to interview him just to see how he really deals with it all. Or if it’s all just a brilliant marketing ploy to stay relevant.
He’s doesn’t seem to take himself nearly as seriously as others do. He filmed part of the video for “Started From the Bottom” in a Shoppers Drug Mart (the Canadian version of CVS/Walgreens). He’s constantly being berated for not being manly or street enough. He emotes too much. He feels too many feels.
In a medium in which the artists are forced to keep it real, one could argue that Drake keeps it realer than most. Forest Hill is as far from street as Iggy is from being popular with black folks, but he makes no qualms about sharing his life and who he is, going so far as to throw himself a grown-up Bar Mitzvah, shoot a video and include baby Drake footage in it.
He very much has made being from Toronto part of his identity – from being a Toronto Raptors ambassador to OVOFest. He hasn’t forgotten to put his northern touch on everything both behind the scenes and in front of the camera.
Throughout all this, he’s been linked romantically to some of your faves, written for and been on a track with #KingB, and been credited with providing the Midas touch for other artists. He’s managed to use his acting background to secure gigs hosting SNL and the ESPY’s.
With his release of If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, he’s once again, good or bad, instant trash or classic, but always on the tip of everyone’s tongue. The hilarious memes came out with lightening speed. When I mention the hate, I’m not saying people don’t have a right to an opinion or have to like something just because it’s popular. It’s the irrational, illogical, hyperbolic statements that always cause me to pause.
I recognize that as a resident of the same city and sharer of an area code, I cannot present an argument about Drake without being accused of (and having) slight bias.
For a man who is at the top of his game, has mass crossover appeal, an easy smile and decent comedic talent, isn’t Drake the definition of winning? And if so, why can’t we let him live and give him the props that he’s worked hard to deserve? Drake came onto the scene and has given us exactly what we hope and expect from an entertainer.
Love him or hate him, but the very least we could do is give him respect for keeping it real.
like what you see? Sign up for our weekly newsletter below for more content like this.