His father played drums with rock'n'roll star Jerry Lee Lewis, though Drake was brought up by his mother in Toronto after his parents split when he was five. Summers were spent with his father in Memphis, giving him a strong grounding in music to help him on his way to become one of the first Canadian rappers to make an international breakthrough. Initial interest was created by his mixtapes on the internet along with his first single Replacement Girl (2007), and Lil Wayne invited him on tour after hearing him freestyling - effectively becoming his mentor. It led to another successful mixtape So Far Gone, and collaborations with the likes of Jay-Z, Eminem and Kanye West; and Drake wrote material for Alicia Keys and Dr Dre. He finally charted in his own right with Best I Ever Had and Every Girl, which both featured in the Top 10 in the same week in 2009. Debut album Thank Me Later (2010), which featured contributions from Timbaland, Swizz Beatz and Kanye West, went straight to Number 1 in the US album charts, including the hit single Find Your Love. Drake also has a parallel career as an actor, playing basketball star Jimmy Brooks in long-running TV show Degrassi: The Next Generation. In 2011 he was working on the release of his second album Take Care with producer 9th Wonder and at the Grammy Awards he made a big impact performing What's My Name with Rihanna.




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