What is Drake’s real name? Drake’s real name is Aubrey Drake Graham. Born Oct. 24, 1986 in Toronto, Canada, Drake is the son of an African American father and Canadian Jewish mother. The former, Dennis Graham, is a drummer from Memphis who’s played with rock pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis, among other musicians. Drizzy’s mother, Sandi Graham, is an educator. Drake’s parents divorced when he was five years old, and the future hip-hop superstar was raised by his mother in Toronto.

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When Drake was 15, a friend’s father landed him a role on the Canadian teen show “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” Using his birth name, Aubrey Graham, Drake played Jimmy Brooks, a star high school basketball player who’s left disabled after being shot by a classmate.

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Aubrey Drake Graham appeared in 138 “Degrassi” episodes and left the show in 2009. By that time, he’d already released his first mixtape, “Room for Improvement,” and started down his current musical path. Another mixtape, “Comeback Season,” followed in 2007, but it wasn’t until he dropped “So Far Gone” in 2009 that the world began to take notice. Drake subsequently signed to Lil Wayne’s Young Money imprint and released the albums “Thank Me Later” and “Take Care,” both of which topped the U.S. charts, helping to make Drake one of the biggest names in hip-hop.

Early in his career, critics seemed fixated on things like Drake’s real name—and more specifically on the fact that he’d spent part of his youth in an affluent Jewish neighborhood.  Drake has defended his street cred, explaining in interviews that his father led a rough-and-tumble existence, and that by virtue of visiting his old man in Memphis, he’d lived anything but a sheltered existence.

“I’ve seen a lot man. I’ve seen a lot of life, put it that way,” Drake told Complex in 2011. “I’ve been with the most blessed kids in the world. I’ve been with people whose life is right at the bottom of the barrel. I was on a TV show, I went to art school, I went to hood schools. I’ve lived. I’ve lived a full 24 years man.”

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