Whether you love him or hate him, you can’t ignore the fact that Drake is one of the most popular rap artists on the planet. He gets a bad rep for being too emotional or just flat out obnoxious to some, but we can’t deny that we love his music and overall style. There’s something to be said for a guy who goes from playing a wheelchair-bound high-school student on Canadian primetime television to a self-made sensation known across the globe. For a struggling recording artist to get a phone call from Lil Wayne overnight, take the next flight out to Houston, open a massive show and get signed to one of the biggest rap labels on the planet, we’ve got to give credit where credit is due. From coining the term “YOLO” to becoming brand ambassador for the Toronto Raptors, putting together an impressive yearly music festival in his hometown and creating clothing label October’s Very Own, nobody can hate on Aubrey Graham’s hustle. While his career has progressed on a steady incline, Drake’s personal life has been punctuated with some pretty comical highs and lows. Below, we’ve outlined some fun facts about his music and the man behind it.
6. Obsessed With Residential Pools
Back when Drake was unsigned in 2007, his obsession with residential pools led him to Google the best ones on the planet. He searched online, found images of the most beautiful one and set one of the photos as his desktop background. Years later when he was worth $30 million and hunting for his first L.A. home, he stumbled across the fateful property (and residential pool) from his long-ago Google search. The home owner was originally asking for $20 million but because the steakhouse-chain restauranteur was going through hard financial times, Drake scooped up the property for $7.7 million. The property was dubbed the “YOLO Estate” and had a sign outside that got stolen three times. The pool in question features an 80-foot water slide, a grotto equipped with flatscreen TVs, flame-spitting iron torches and a pair of elk statues. Drake’s self-proclaimed goal is to someday own the largest and most impressive residential pool in the world. And for a guy who’s building a mansion in Toronto with an Olympic-sized pool inside the house, we’d say he’s well on his way.
5. Limited Vocabulary
A data scientist named Matt Daniels from New York created The Hip Hop Flow Chart in the summer of 2014, a statistical analysis of the first 35,000 lyrics of all popular rappers. Daniels’ goal was to put the question “Who’s the best rapper of our time?” to rest once and for all. The Flow Chart used data analytics to determine which rappers had the widest range of vocabulary. While this news may come as a shock to even the most faithful of Drake fans, the rapper came in third to last place of all 85 rappers charted with a lyrical vocabulary range of only 3,522 words. Surprisingly, rappers who we consider to be lesser than the 6 God beat him fair and square, with Ludacris and Busta Rhymes clocking in with vocabulary ranges of over 4,000 words each.
4. Subject Of A Face Tattoo
At the end of 2011, an as of still unnamed woman in Los Angeles walked into a tattoo parlour and got Drake’s name printed in bold, capital letters across her face. Although unconfirmed, the young lady was reportedly inspired by the lyric “Tat my name so you know it’s real” from Drake’s song, “Free Spirit.” When shown photos of the tattoo for the first time on air during a radio show, Drake exclaimed: “The guy who tatted it is a f***ing a**hole” and said he should lose his job. The rapper also added that he would beat him up if he ever saw him and that “It’s crazy, it’s surreal. I don’t even want to look at it anymore.” The tattoo artist, Kevin Campbell, responded by claiming that the woman was excited about it, had brought along photos of the font she wanted on her phone and that he asked her if she was sure three times before proceeding with the request. The next time Drake was in L.A. after the incident, he reportedly pulled up to the tattoo shop, waited outside and sent his bodyguard in to have a stern talk with Kevin Campbell. Kind of strange considering he didn’t do any of the talking himself.
3. Can’t Seem To Win With Women
Poor Drake. As much as his female fans seem to love him, he can’t seem to win with the leading ladies in his life. His well-documented on and off relationship with Rihanna led to a vicious fight erupting between his entourage and her ex-boyfriend Chris Brown’s at a New York City nightclub in the summer of 2012. Bottles were thrown across the room and shattered glass rained down on all of the club’s patrons, including professional basketball player Tony Parker, a male model and two women – all of whom filed a lawsuit against the rapper. Drake has repeatedly spoken out about the fact that he is “really, truly, seriously” in love with labelmate Nicki Minaj but says that the songstress treats him like her younger brother and has never returned any of his advances.
In 2011 Drake was sued by his former girlfriend and creative partner Ericka Lee, who helped him create and sang the hook in his hit song “Marvin’s Room.” After the song was released, Lee alleged that Drake ended things with her abruptly and never gave her any credit for her signification contribution on the track. The matter was later settled for 4.5% of the song’s earnings as well as $50,000 cash. While the public has been made aware of a few relationships Drake has had, he’s mostly taken to living a life of bachelorhood and is reported to have celebrity crushes on Meagan Good, Eva Mendes and Kat Dennings.
2. Comes From A Musical Background
Born to a Catholic African-American father from Memphis Tennessee and a Caucasian Jewish Canadian mother, Drake grew up in Toronto’s affluent Forest Hill neighborhood and was raised in a family who had deep ties to the music industry. While most people know that Drake starred on Degrassi prior to making it in the rap world, many don’t know that his family was tied to the music industry for years prior to his big break. Drake’s father, Dennis Graham (who’s Instagram account you will love: @therealdennisg) was a drummer for legendary rock star Jerry Lee Lewis and was a musician for most of his life. Dennis’ brother and Drake’s uncle Larry Graham played bass for Prince. His mother, Sandi Graham, also reportedly comes from a very creative background. While Drake’s successes are entirely his own, it’s clear that he definitely had music in his blood from the moment he was born.
1. Last Name Ever, First Name Greatest
Drake has broken many records throughout his relatively short career. After releasing mixtapes Room For Improvement, Comeback Season and So Far Gone on his own between 2007 and 2009, he was approached by several record labels. What followed was the greatest bidding war in rap history, with label Young Money offering him $2 million to sign with them – an unheard of sum of money for a relatively unknown, young artist. Beyond that, Drake only had to pay the label a 25% distribution fee and got to keep all creative rights to his music, something that never happens in the rap industry. He also went down in history for being nominated for two Grammys without having an official CD out. He was up for both best rap song and best rap solo performance for his song “Best I Ever Had” and lost to Jay-Z, Rihanna (ouch) and Kanye West respectively. Drake has since won his first Grammy for the album Thank Me Later in 2013, after being nominated an astounding 12 times. Since then, he’s received another nine nods.