Drake is a Canadian musician, singer, songwriter, and rapper, who’s been active in the music industry since 2007. He’s a best-selling artist, holding several Billboard chart records, and his music has received critical approval, including multiple Grammy nominations.
Drake’s music has spanned genres, including R&B and rap, throughout his career. His music has mostly been heralded for his work as a hip-hop artist, although certain songs and collaborations with other artists have earned him accolades as an R&B artist.
Drake has evolved his musical style throughout his career, experimenting with a variety of sounds and artists.
Drake began his entertainment career as an actor on the TV series Degrassi: The Next Generation, but he turned his focus to music in 2006, when he self-released his first mixtape Room for Improvement. He continued to release music and his earlier albums received top recognitions for both R&B and rap genres; however, it wasn’t until 2009 that he received commercial success.
The 2009 album So Far Gone was made available for download on his website, receiving 2,000 downloads in the first two hours. That album catapulted him into success with a global audience and featured the widely popular “Best I Ever Had,” which earned a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Song.
Despite being widely known for rap, Drake also sang on some of his songs, expanding his style of music into other genres. A few years later, 2011’s Take Care was nominated for Best Rap Album from the Billboard Music Awards but included songs such as “Headlines” which reached Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. You can find a full list of Drake’s song history on the Billboard charts below.
Drake’s later and more recent music has been mostly regarded as rap and hip-hop. Since 2015, Drake’s work has received numerous Grammy nominations for Best Rap Album, Best Rap Performance, and Best Rap Song. Similarly, his music videos have received MTV Video Music Award nominations for “Best Hip-Hop Video” nearly every year from 2016 through 2020, including 2019’s collaboration with Travis Scott “Sicko Mode“.
Drake has been nominated for more than 40 Grammy awards and has won 4. All of his wins have been under the Rap music category, and include Best Rap Album, Best Rap Performance, and Best Rap Song. Although he’s received nominations for other styles of music, he’s not received any Grammy’s outside of the rap genre.
Throughout his career, Drake has collaborated with a number of other artists in multiple genres, including Future, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, and Travis Scott. Some of the most popular songs to emerge from these collaborations include “Take Care” featuring Rihanna, “The Motto” featuring Lil Wayne, and “Forever” featuring Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Eminem.
Their work has allowed Drake to showcase his talents as both a singer and a rapper and has resulted in widespread appeal, earning Drake nominations for achievements in rap, R&B, and even pop (“Work” with Rihanna earned a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance). You can watch the music video for “Work” with Rihanna below.
A Continuous Evolution
As his work and recognition have proved, Drake’s music, although largely considered to be rap and hip-hop, is a hybrid of styles. Billboard refers to Drake as “the leader of a new hip-hop generation.” Regardless of the genre, his music has been widely popular and Drake has recorded 224 Billboard Hot 100 songs.
For his part, Drake doesn’t appear to define his style of music to one genre, although his list of influences includes both rappers, such as Kanye West and Jay Z, as well as R&B singers, including Usher and Aaliyah. He is an active presence on social media – he has 39 million followers on Twitter and 71 million on Instagram – and often promotes his music, as seen in the Tweet below.
Yet, Drake typically refrains from labeling it a specific style, further evidence that his style of music can’t be defined as one genre