Aubrey Drake Graham, aka Drake, is a Canadian rapper born to an African American father and a White mother. The rapper is highly recognized for his exceptional musical talents, however, aside from rap, he is an entrepreneur and investor in the business world.
His earnings from rap and entrepreneurship have catapulted him into one of the highest-earning rappers in the world; in 2019, Forbes estimated his net worth at $150 million. While Drake’s rap life is well known, little is known about his business ventures and investment drive.
In this write-up, Face2face Africa highlights some of Drake’s businesses.
Virginia Black Whiskey
Drake founded Virginia Black, a whiskey brand, in partnership with DeLeón Tequila founder, Brent Hocking. The brand launched its debut stores in New York, Nevada, and California in 2016. The brand became the highest-selling liquor in Canada later that same year.
The success of the brand has been attributed to Drake and his father promoting it in ads and also increasing the locations where the whiskey is sold.
In addition to his whiskey brand, Drake also has a stake in the Toronto Raptors. He became the NBA franchise’s official ambassador at the end of the 2013-14 seasons. His involvement with the Raptors saw the team move from a five-year bad season to becoming competitive, making seven straight playoff appearances and winning their first championship in 2019.
Drake is the founder of the radio station, Sound 42 for Sirius XM; a 24-hour, round-the-clock curated music station that is being used as a new platform for his show, OVO Sound Radio, which was previously on Apple Music.
Drake launched the OVO label in 2012. However, the idea for the OVO label dates back to 2008 when Drake first met Oliver El-Khatib. It first started as a page on Myspace, where they would post music, fashion, and other content.
Today, OVO has stores that sell a variety of items and in 2018, made about $50 million. Also, OVO has signed artists like PartyNextDoor, DVSN, Majid Jordan, Roy Woods, Popcaan, and Baka Not Nice.
Drake co-founded the management company and entertainment group, DreamCrew. Launched in 2017, the company produces film, television, and special projects; and oversees Drake’s professional career, as well as his business portfolio.
The firm’s debut project was The Carter Effect, which documented the influence that NBA superstar, Vince Carter, had on basketball in Canada during his tenure with the Toronto Raptors.
The firm has also collaborated with LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s production company, Uninterrupted. Other projects of the company include the film, Spree; the documentary, Ready for War; the TV series, The 48 Laws of Power; and most notably, the HBO series, Euphoria.
Drake’s music journey
Drake lived with his mother when his dad relocated to Memphis after their divorce while the rapper was five-years-old.
At age 15, he made an appearance on the popular Canadian teen show, Degrassi, as the amateur rapper character, Jimmy Brooks. Drake was a cast member for seasons 1 through to 7, with guest appearances in 2008. For his role, he earned $50,000 per year in salary from the show, that is $2000 per month after taxes.
The money Drake made from Degrassi at the time became the only source of income for him and his mom, as she became ill and could not work. The rapper later ventured into music and started releasing mixtapes.
Inspired by rapper icons like Jay-Z, he earned record deals after becoming an independent artiste. He released his first mixtape in 2005 and managed to sell 6,000 copies directly. He then launched another mixtape the following year through his own launched label, October’s Very Own (aka OVO Records).
Since then, he has sold out tours, collaborated with A-list artists such as Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, and Rihanna, and even launched his own champagne brand. In 2002, he was signed onto Lil Wayne’s Young Money label with a $2 million advance. He also went on to become the second most-streamed artiste of all time on Spotify.
Drake’s album, Scorpion, became the first-ever album to gain over one billion streams on Spotify within its first week of release and also became the most popular album in the United States in 2018 – earning 3.905 million equivalent album units. His God’s Plan album was also the most-streamed song of 2018.