Aubrey Drake Graham, better known by his stage name Drake, is a Canadian recording artist, rapper, songwriter and actor.  He was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and one of his first acting roles was as Jimmy Brooks on the television series Degrassi: The Next Generation.  He later rose to fame as a rapper, releasing several mixtapes like “Room For Improvement” before signing to Lil’ Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment in June 2009.

Drake’s EP, “So Far Gone” (2009), spawned the hit single “Best I Ever Had” and the moderate hit “Successful.”  His first studio album, “Thank Me Later” (2010), debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and generated notable singles “Over” and “Find Your Love.”  The album was certified Platinum by the RIAA.  His second album, “Take Care” (2011), was his most successful album to date, topping charts in both the United States and Canada and producing multiple hit singles including “Headlines,” “Take Care,” “Make Me Proud” and “The Motto.”  “The Motto” is credited with popularizing the widely used acronym “YOLO.”  In order to promote “Take Care,” Drake embarked on the worldwide Club Paradise Tour, which became one of the most successful hip-hop tours of 2012, grossing over $42 million.

Drake has sold over 5 million albums worldwide.  His work has earned him a Grammy Award, three Juno Awards, six BET Awards, and holds several significant Billboard records.  With twelve number-one singles, Drake has more than any other artist on Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs chart.  With ten number-one singles, he also has more than any other rapper on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, passing Jay-Z in August 2012.  He is one of two artists (the other being 50 Cent) that has simultaneously occupied the chart’s top three positions.  He was tied with Rihanna for the most nominations at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards.  He was ranked number 2 on MTV’s Hottest MCs in the Game VII list in 2012.  He also became the #1 Rhythmic artist of 2012 according to Mediabase, the music industry service that monitors radio station airplay.

Drake released his third studio album, “Nothing Was The Same” on September 24, 2013.  The album spawned six successful singles “Started from the Bottom,” “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” “All Me,” “Pound Cake,” “The Language” and “Too Much.”  The album featured many collaborating artists such as 2 Chainz, Big Sean, Jay-Z, Jhene Aiko and Sampha.

Upon its release, the album received generally positive reviews from music critics including a score of 79 out of 100 at based on 31 reviews.  The album was also a commercial success, debuting at number one on the US Billboard 200 selling 658,000 copies in its first week of release.  It also debuted within the top two positions in Canada, Denmark, Australia and the United Kingdom.  In an interview with XXL, Drake explained the difference between “Nothing Was The Same” and “Take Care.”

“Take Care” was about connecting with my city and connecting with my past and sort of feeling guilty that I’m not in love with one of these girls that cared about me from back in the day.  Now, I’m 26, I’m with my friends, I’m making jobs for people, I’m making memories for people that will last a lifetime.  I don’t need to be in love right now.  I don’t need these things that I maybe once thought that I needed to feel normal and feel righteous about myself.  I think for the first time in an album I’m content – not satisfied-but proud of where I’m at as a person.”

I’m going to be honest, Drake was never one of my favorite rappers.  I don’t know what it is but I never cared for him much, that is, until this album came out.  It’s so different from his other albums and I love it for that.  Drake decided to take a very laid-back, slow beat throughout the album that helps add to the complexity of his lyrics about leaving home and breaking hearts. Other critics tended to agree.  Simon Vozick-Levinson of Rolling Stone said, “After a while, his confessions start to sound like sneaky boasts about all of the beautiful hearts he’s broken.  And maybe he wants you to see that contradiction.  After all, hiding his flaws has never been Drakes style-they’re the whole point.”  Jayson Greene of Pitchfork Media gave the album an 8.6 out of 10, saying “Nothing Was The Same is Drake and 40’s most audacious experiment yet in how far inward they can push their sound; a lot of the album sounds like a black hole of all 40’s previous productions being sucked into the center.  Song-to-song transitions, which have always been melty and blurry, are more notional than ever.”

“Nothing Was The Same” is great and has made me more interested in where Drake will take his newly acquired sound.  Check out the albums biggest hits below plus some of his other big hits from previous albums.