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Drake, one of the hottest names in the hip hop world, has strong ties to Memphis.
Drake’s hometown of Toronto is an obvious contrast in culture from the streets of Memphis, but it was in the Bluff City where Aubrey “Drake” Graham spent his summers with his father Dennis Graham.
“Appleville, which is Shelby Drive and Neely – that’s where we always came to,” Graham said.
A former drummer for Jerry Lee Lewis and a musician in his own capacity, Graham sat down with Action News 5 on the eve of the release of Drake’s sophomore album to talk about the soulful influence Memphis has on his son’s style.
“I use to hold him in my office while I played the piano, so this is how it got started,” Graham said.
Graham said his son’s diversity comes from his mother, Sandy, who is an educator in Toronto, and his many visits to Royal Studios in Memphis, where legends like Al Green recorded.
“That’s why his metaphors are so phenomenal now, because he’s been in Memphis,” Graham said. “He considers Memphis home more than he does Toronto.”
Initially hesitant to sing on his records, Graham pushed Drake to be different.
“I said, ‘Drake, you have a beautiful voice,'” Graham said.
Drake took his father’s advice, and the rest is history. With chart topping singles and a platinum selling debut album on the Young Money Entertainment label with Lil Wayne, Graham says the success of his sons career is surreal.
“I look at him and I think, ‘Oh my God, this kid’s got it.’ I said, ‘Drake, you’ve done it man.'”