5 reasons Drake is unique in hip-hop

The man is a literal blur of music, money and more. Here are five reasons why Drake is unique in music.

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Drake: It’s All A Blur Tour

When: Aug. 28, 29, 8 p.m.

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Where: Rogers Arena

Tickets/info: From $208 at Ticketmaster.ca

The It’s All A Blur Tour is well-named.

On paper, the purpose of the road trip is for Drake and Atlanta rapper 21 Savage to promote their collaborative album Her Loss. The last in the trilogy of albums that included Certified Lover Boy and Honestly, Nevermind, the album dropped in November 2022 into the No. 1 spot in Canada and the U.S. Billboard 200 chart.

Typical of all things associated with Drake, the album hit the top spot in many other global markets with singles such as Spin Bout U tracking across streaming services.

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It’s just how things go with one of Canada’s biggest musical brands.

Off-paper, titling the pop megastar’s first tour in five years this way appropriately reflects everything to do with his career since 2018. Because, even for diehard fans, keeping up with the 36-year-old artist born Aubrey Drake Graham in Toronto has been a blur. Even by the standards of enterprising entrepreneurialism shown by hip-hoppers, Drake only seems to take his foot off the gas when he is rhyming.

Otherwise, the man is a literal blur of music, money and more. Here are five reasons why Drake is unique in music.

1. His charisma

There aren’t that many solo artists that can carry the show on their shoulders alone. Like Taylor Swift, Drake’s appeal is all about him with no interference. When he hinted about making a “graceful exit” from making music in February of this year, the music world had a serious hiccup. It was next to impossible imagining a world without Drake’s distinctive hitmaking machine cranking out track after track. The charismatic presence he has developed in the past decade makes him appear irreplaceable. Plus, he started the trend of boycotting the Grammy Awards. Hinting to fans that he might be stepping back before announcing a major tour was pretty smart, too.

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Canadian rap superstar Drake asked for his two Grammy nominations to be withdrawn this year and the Recording Academy has honoured his request, multiple sources told AFP Monday. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) Photo by ROBYN BECK /AFP via Getty Images

2. His Hoop Love

When a magazine as staid as Variety declares that “there’s arguably no bigger celebrity hoops fan right now than rapper Aubrey Drake Graham,” you have clearly established your hoop-fan cred. Add in that Drake has been the Toronto NBA team’s global ambassador for the past decade and has partnered with the Raptors and his own OVO (October’s Very Own) clothing brand to make custom jerseys, and he is the team’s biggest celebrity fan. But when he and the team contributed $3 million to refurbish community courts and another $2 million to Canada Basketball, that became more than mere support for one franchise. It was a mission statement for the sport, and one he has kept up with. Anyone else figure he might be looking at owning a new NBA franchise?

Drake Raptors
Rapper Drake attends the NBA Eastern Conference Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Toronto Raptors in 2019 in Toronto. Photo by Gregory Shamus /Getty Images
Rapper Drake has put his name behind more champagne, with two new bottles being offered in the Mod Sélection line he formed with drinks entrepreneur Brent Hocking and Maison Pierre Mignon. Photo by Courtesy MOD SÉLECTION /jpg

3. His offbeat branding

In a day and age where every new TikTok act arrives with product lines already on the go, it’s hard to differentiate the bland from the grand in rappers’ brands. From OVO offerings to expensive champagne, Drake appears to be open to different kinds of offbeat branding opportunities. And there is something kind of endearing about Drake offering up a custom designed electronic inflatable air pump that can “inflate a float in under three minutes.” That just says summer cottage chilling in Canada.

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The CN Tower and the Toronto sign at Toronto City Hall are lit up in honour of Drake in 2019. Drake won Best Rap Song at the 61st Grammy Awards. Photo by Veronica Henri /Veronica Henri/Toronto Sun

4. He’s bigger than Toronto

When headlines recently declared that Taylor Swift was playing Canada with six gigs — only in Toronto — people were a tad unimpressed. But, when the CN Tower and Toronto sign at Toronto City hall were lit up in Drake’s honour on Feb. 11, 2019, people were pleased. Along with the Weeknd, Drake had put Canadian pop music on top of the world. Like, even bigger than Toronto.

The Hotline Bling Cake from Butter and Scotch Bakery in Brooklyn is named after the 2016 hit of Canadian rapper Drake. Photo by unknown /jpg

5. He has his cake and eats it too

As far as spin-offs from a hit song go, the Hotline Bling cake from Brooklyn’s Butter & Scotch bakery is hilarious. “If Drake Were a Chocolate Cake, This Is What He Would Taste Like,” headlined a PopSugar article, which then went on to break down the $45 US layer cake with edible gold glitter as being both fit for a rap king and boasting layers of salted caramel and rich chocolate. The article then went on to post “31 photos of Drake looking edible AF.” When you can beat out chocolate and salted caramel layer cake for tastiness, you’re made for life.

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