Drake has given us a lot: in your feelings music, Instagram captions, OVO Fest, tracksuit inspiration—the list goes on. Imagine all the club nights without Drake lyrics to sing along to in your tequila haze—it just wouldn’t be the same. And in return, we’ve given him a bunch of affectionate nicknames like Drizzy, 6ix God, and Champagne Papi. Besides being hip-hop’s resident lover boy, he’s become synonymous with his hometown of Toronto, Canada. If you’re a true Drake stan, then you know he frequently stays in the city and have probably seen the Architectural Digest tour of his Toronto mansion. We couldn’t pay homage to Drake without thinking of his hometown. So we went through cryptic lyrics, Instagram posts, and public stats to document what we know about his ties to the 6ix. And trust us, we’re from Toronto, so we know these to be true. While Drake may have some hidden Toronto secrets styll, one thing we can say for sure is that his relationship with Toronto is his longest and most public one yet. No offense Rihanna.
Degrassi: The Next Generation
Drake first entered the public eye starring as Jimmy Brooks in the popular Canadian TV show Degrassi. From 2001 to 2008, he filmed the series in his hometown. Ten years later, Drake reunited with his Degrassi cast and the set where the series was filmed for his music video “I’m Upset.”
The interior of this seafood restaurant might look familiar because it’s where Drake shot his album cover for Take Care. He mentions the restaurant in his song “5AM In Toronto” and when you visit the restaurant, there’s a wall with photos of all the celebrities that have dined there—including Drake.
Not too far from Joso’s, Sotto Sotto is another Yorkville, Toronto restaurant that Drake loves. The upscale Italian spot was referenced in his song “Pound Cake/ Paris Morton Music 2.” He even sends his friends there. DJ Khaled posted a video eating at Sotto Sotto and thanked Drake in the caption for opening up the restaurant late at night for him.
The Real Jerk
Remember the Drake and Rihanna era? When you couldn’t leave your house without hearing their single “Work” playing everywhere. The music video was filmed at one of Drake’s favorite Caribbean spots in Toronto called The Real Jerk. Not as fancy as some of the other restaurants he frequents but well-known in the city for their unmatched jerk chicken and other traditional Caribbean meals.
Paying homage to his hometown and “6ix God” nickname, Drake has a tattoo on his right forearm of the number six and a praying hands emoji. On his left bicep, he has an east-facing compass to represent his love for the city’s east end. Both tattoos were done by celebrity favorite artist, Doctor Woo. Drake also has the CN tower tattooed on his right bicep but the artist remains unknown.
Mob NBA Ties
From rapper to Raptor, in 2013 Drake became the Global Ambassador for the NBA team Toronto Raptors. While it’s not uncommon for rappers to call out star players in their lyrics or sit courtside at NBA games, Drake is the first artist to have an official partnership with an NBA team. Since he officially joined the brand, the Raptors value has more than doubled going from $405M in 2013 to $2.15B currently according to Forbes. There’s no way to tell how much of that is directly attributed to Drake but his ambassadorship has popularized the only Canadian NBA team.
He’s Boosted Toronto Tourism
There’s no denying that Drake has boosted the popularity of his hometown city, Toronto, but in 2018 Vice News put a dollar amount to his influence. They estimated that five percent of the city’s tourism income, $440 million roughly, was attributed to Drake. He even included the CN tower, a popular tourist attraction, in his album cover for Views shot by Toronto photographer Caitlin Cronenberg. Cue the “six, six, six” ab lib.
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