Drake Domination: How the MC Became a Pop Culture Phenomena

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From YOLO to “Hotline Bling,” the epitome of meme culture has centered on rapper, actor, singer, songwriter, producer and Global Basketball Ambassador of the Toronto Raptors, Drake and has made him a household name. Drake has been everywhere from studio to “Saturday Night Live” and his highly anticipated fourth studio album, “Views from the 6,” is slated to be released later this month.

Aubrey Drake Graham, was born on Oct. 24, 1986 in Toronto, Ontario. Drake got his first break on the teenage drama “Degrassi: The Next Generation” as Jimmy Brooks from 2001-2005. After Drake left “Degrassi,” he released his first mixtape, “Room for Improvement” in 2006 and in 2007 he released “Comeback Season.” Drake’s music caught fellow rapper Lil Wayne’s attention. In 2009, Drake released his third mixtape-soon-to-be-EP “So Far Gone,” which contained Drake’s breakout single “Best I Ever Had,” and he was later signed to Young Money Entertainment.

In 2010, Drake released his first, full-length solo album “Thank Me Later” and crafted the singles “Over,” “Find Your Love,” “Miss Me” and “Fancy.” “Find Your Love” has been one of Drake’s biggest singles, and a favorite of SVC junior Alex Kariuki’s as well.

“When I first heard Drake I thought he was going to be a force in the music industry and I was correct. The first song I heard from him was ‘Find Your Love’… and I was engrossed and surprised,” said Kariuki. “I loved everything about it especially the emotion he brought to the song.”

In 2011, Drake released “Take Care,” his second studio album, which has been his most successful release to date. “Headlines” was the lead single and “Make Me Proud,” featuring powerhouse female MC Nicki Minaj, followed. “The Motto” was next, featuring Lil Wayne. The title track “Take Care,” featuring frequent collaborator Rihanna, was the fourth single and became double platinum and has been donned as one of Drake’s signature songs. The album won Best Rap Album at the 55th Grammys, and by 2013, Drake made his mark as one of the hottest rappers in the game.

Drake’s third studio album, “Nothing Was the Same,” was released in September 2013. “Same” debuted at number one and spawned seven singles, the most popular being “Started From the Bottom,” “Hold On, We’re Going Home” and “Too Much.”

“I was honestly hooked from listening to ‘Find Your Love,’” said Kariuki. “But, the album that really made him an artist I would actively care about and listen to was the ‘Nothing Was The Same’ album where I had several favorites.”

Drake branched outside of rapping and singing in 2013 and throughout 2014. In 2013, Drake became a global ambassador for his hometown basketball team, the Toronto Raptors. He also went back to television during this time, making his first stint as host on “Saturday Night Live.” SNL showed another dimension to the Toronto rapper, and the combination of his comedic skills and acting abilities led him to host in 2014.

In 2015, Drake dropped the surprise mixtape “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.” The mixtape went platinum and became the first mixtape to be nominated for a Grammy at the 2016 Grammy Awards. Later in 2015, Drake released “Hotline Bling” which took the internet by storm. The single spawned a plethora of memes, SNL spoofs and criticism of Drake’s dancing. Regardless of any negative internet attention the song received, “Hotline Bling” became a hit and peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100.

Senior Appolonia Leake is a fan of Drake. “Drake is so relatable,” said Leake. He is so hot in the hip hop industry and Lil Wayne took a chance on him, and it payed off.”

“He’s one of the first artists to really sing or rap about his feelings and insecurities. While some rappers have done this, no one began their career with such heart like Drake,” said Kariuki. “Men rarely show raw and powerful emotion in this culture unless it’s related to violence or dominance, and Drake showed people that it’s okay to know that side of yourself.”

Look for Drake to drop “Views from the 6” on Friday, April 29, 2016.

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