Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Alil Bit Closer With Drake

When you think of regional hip-hop icons, a few names immediately come to mind: Common in Chicago, Snoop in Long Beach, Jay-Z in New York, and UGK in Houston. But if Aubrey Graham has his way, you’ll soon be adding Drake in Toronto to that list. The 21-year-old actor turned rapper (he sings too) wants to be Canada’s first bonafide hip-hop icon. And not only that, he has big plans for south of the Canadian border as well. Drake is the first-ever unsigned Canadian artist to have a video debut on BET’s 106 & Park.

Graham currently portrays Jimmy Brooks—a physically disabled high-school student—on the tremendously popular Canadian teen drama “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” While the track record for teen idols turned hip-hop stars is about 0-17, Graham has a quality that his predecessors and many rappers today lack: talent. When it comes to content, flow, and charisma, he has it.

Another attribute that sets Graham apart from his contemporaries is his business acumen. Although music sales have diminished dramatically over the last few years, music consumption is at an all-time high. Consequently, branding and finding alternative ways to generate revenue is more important for artists than ever before, and he is very mindful of that. With so much going for him, it’s easy to see why If Drake were an IPO, we would buy it.

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