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About Drake

A year or so after Thank Me Later hit, Drake was browsing art in L.A. when a neon sign caught his eye: “LESS DRAKE, MORE TUPAC.” At first he felt like ripping it off the wall. Instead, he bought it. After all, he figured, if someone puts your name next to Tupac, you must be doing something right—even if they’re trying to take you down. Born Aubrey Drake Graham in Toronto in 1986, he—like Tupac—became the voice of a generation and prism for his pop-cultural moment. Was he an R&B singer who rapped or a rapper who sang? Was he really that sad, or just exploiting a cultural preference for male vulnerability? From the jump, he let his contradictions define him: Tender, but cruel; sober one minute and drunk-dialing the next; a guy who could convince you he was an underdog from his perch on top of the world. Lurid as his inner world is, the proof lies in his reach outward. A Drake project can incorporate house and club music (2022’s Honestly, Nevermind; 2017’s More Life) and red-eyed trap (2022’s 21 Savage collab Her Loss) with equal conviction and at no loss to the subjectivity at the center. “I obviously spend a lot of time in my own world,” he told Apple Music. “But when I do take a look at the broader scope of things… I’ve always tried to make music that transcends gender, nationality—to try and unify people. Because that’s really what it’s about.” In many ways, the story of popular music in the 2010s and ’20s is the story of Drake living those unifying principles. That synthesis of disparate genres and regional scenes from across the planet has made the radio seem global and local at once, populist but deeply personal.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
October 24, 1986
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