Interested in whether or not the world-famous rapper Drake is Canadian? Let’s dive into Drake’s nationality.
Yes, Drake is Canadian. Aubrey Drake Graham was born in Toronto, Ontario. After his parents divorced when he was 5, he lived with his mother on Weston Road until grade six, playing minor hockey with the Weston Red Wings before moving to Forest Hill in 2000.
Born and raised in Toronto, it is the high level of love and pride that Drake has publicly shown for his hometown, that the question “Is Drake Canadian?” can be answered with a resounding and emphatic “Yes.”
Drake’s Journey: Putting himself and Toronto on the Map
It was while Drake attended Forest Hill Collegiate Institute in 2001 that he was cast at the age of 15 as Jimmy Brooks, a popular basketball star who would become paraplegic after being shot on Degrassi: The Next Generation. During his time on Degrassi, Drake landed small roles in other Canadian television series, such as Blue Murder (2001) and Soul Food (2002), as well as Degrassi: Minis (2005 – 2007) and the Degrassi Spring Break Movie in 2008. He also starred in the movie Conviction in 2002.
In 2008, Drake’s character and several others were written out of Degrassi: The Next Generation, to allow the entry of a new cast for the show. With the exception of small appearances on Best Friend Date (2005), The Border (2008) and Being Erica (2009), Drake began to focus primarily on his music career.
Despite the door being opened for acting, Drake’s love and passion for music grew. He had a makeshift studio in his basement where he would spend his time writing lyrics and recording, often staying up all night and just making it on time to the set of Degrassi. Drake was a member of The Renaissance together with future Grammy Award-winning Canadian R&B singer Melanie Fiona.
Drake released his debut mixtape, Room for Improvement, in 2006. One of his songs, “City Is Mine,” was given plenty of airspace on FLOW 93.5, Toronto’s urban music station. In 2007, he followed up with a release of his second mixtape, Comeback Season. His final ‘pre-stardom’ mixtape, So Far Gone, was released in 2009. It was with this mixtape that Drake and Toronto were catapulted into the world of superstardom. After an intense bidding war involving a recording contract, Drake signed with Young Money Entertainment.
Between the years of 2010 – 2018, Drake released 6 albums, a collaborative mixtape and a streaming project. While each of his releases has its own measure of success, the most notable for Canada is his 5th album – “Views.” Originally titled “Views from the 6“, the album can be viewed as a tribute to Drake’s hometown. “The 6” is short for 416, the area code of Toronto, and the album cover features Drake perched atop the CN Towers, a landmark of Toronto. When Drake revealed the cover of Views on Instagram, he captioned the image with the message “To the city I love and the people in it, Thank you for everything #VIEWS.”
Most of the tracks feature lyrics, paying homage to the area he grew up in and Toronto as a whole. `Weston Road Flows` is a track that tells the story of his past growing up in the street of the same name. His lyrics include mentioning the Toronto subway station TTC Metro, former Raptor Vince Carter and his infamous dunk at the 2000 NBA All-Star Dunk Contest, Canadian R&B singer Glenn Lewis and Fluid, a popular Toronto nightclub to name but a few.
Drake and The Raptors
In 2013, Drake became a Global Ambassador for the Toronto Raptors. This meant he could collaborate with the team on the events, promotions, or marketing to help develop the Raptors’ brand. Having been a fan of the team since his childhood, this was a dream come true for the star. He can often be seen courtside supporting his team and is known for his impromptu speeches often touted as inspiring for his message of loyalty and love to his hometown and team. Although a number of his courtside antics have raised a few eyebrows, there can be no denying Drake’s passion and love for the sport, the team, and his city.
The Raptors training center opened in February 2016, and was rebranded under OVO Sound, Drake’s record label, on March 14th, 2019.
In April 2014, the Raptors and Drake had a successful campaign under the name `We The North`. The campaign included an emotionally stirring YouTube video that merged images of the Raptors doing what they do best with scenes of local street basketball in Toronto.
Following on the success of the We The North Campaign, the partnership launched a Welcome Toronto programme in 2018. Together, Drake and the Raptors donated CAN$1 million to refurbish local community basketball courts in the following 3 years and a further CAN$2 million to Canada Basketball. The aim of their programme, which saw them host 6 games over a span of 6 days, was to celebrate the future of not just basketball but art, culture, music and the people of Toronto.
The team and Drake’s mission is to inspire and support young people, to showcase the city and to cultivate the passion for basketball in the next generation.
Canadian National Treasure
Toronto Life put Drake at the top of their Most Influential List in their December 2015 issue and the Canadian rapper said it was his most important magazine cover to date. February 2016 saw Drake being awarded the key to the city by Mayor John Tory at a Toronto Raptors game. This award was given in recognition of his contribution to the city in terms of his various charitable activities, as well as his commitment to the youth of Toronto and the wellbeing of the city overall.
Although it is easy to see the love and pride through Drake’s words, he follows through with his actions, arguably proving that his love and pride for Toronto, Canada, is never-ending.