TV and rap star Drake is best known in Canada for playing wheelchair-bound Jimmy Brooks on 'Degrassi: The Next Generation,' and for hit songs like 'Take Care,' 'One Dance' and 'Hotline Bling.'
The multi-Grammy-award-winning rapper Drake has had two shots at fame — and nailed them both. He first came to prominence in the teen soap Degrassi: The Next Generation in the role of Jimmy Brooks, a wheelchair-bound character he played for seven years. After leaving the show he became one of the biggest rappers on the planet after signing a deal with Lil Wayne's label Young Money Entertainment. He is rarely out of the headlines, whether it’s for dating Rihanna or Jennifer Lopez, founding his own label, OVO Sound, or fronting the NBA’s Toronto Raptors as the team's global ambassador. It's no surprise that Jay Z labeled him as the Kobe Bryant of hip hop.
Born Aubrey Drake Graham on October 24, 1986, in Toronto, Canada, Drake grew up with music in his blood. His father, Dennis Graham, was a drummer for the legendary rock'n' roll star Jerry Lee Lewis. An uncle, Larry Graham, played bass for Sly and the Family Stone. Drake says that his mother, Sandi Graham, also hails from a "very musical" family — his grandmother babysat Aretha Franklin. Drake comes from an eclectic and unique ethnic and religious background. His father is an African-American Catholic and his mother is a white Canadian Jew. Speaking about his personal identity, Drake says: "At the end of the day, I consider myself a black man because I'm more immersed in black culture than any other. Being Jewish is kind of a cool twist. It makes me unique."
Drake's parents divorced when he was five years old, and he was raised by his mother in Forest Hill, an affluent and predominantly Jewish neighborhood in Toronto. He attended Jewish day school, had a Bar Mitzvah at age 13 and observed the Jewish High Holy Days with his mother. "My mom has always made Hanukkah fun," Drake recalls. "When I was younger, she gave cool gifts and she'd make latkes." Despite his Jewish upbringing, Drake says he felt isolated at Forest Hill Collegiate Institute, his virtually all-white high school. He has said that "nobody understood what it was like to be black and Jewish," but added that "being different from everyone else just made me a lot stronger."