As an actor, Drake rose to prominence during his stint on Degrassi: The Next Generation that ran from 2001 to 2009. During that time, though, music tugged on him and Drake responded. His first efforts came via mix tapes, with Room for Improvement in 2006 and Comeback Season in 2007. The latter project yielded a single and video in "Replacement Girl" featuring Trey Songz. The track started to build a buzz and the video was aired on BET's "New Joint of the Day."
Another cut on the album included a free style over a Lil Wayne remix. In 2008, Wayne got wind of Drake's work and invited him on tour. They also collaborated on a handful of songs, including "Ransom," "I Want This Forever," and the remix to Drake's song, "Brand New."
Drake's third mix tape release, So Far Gone, dropped in early 2009 and featured Lil Wayne, Bun B, Omarion, Lloyd, and Trey Songz. Offered for free download via his blog, the album was snatched up by some 2000 fans in the first two hours. With a solid underground buzz, two singles found their way to radio -- "Best I Ever Had" and "Successful." They entered the top 10 in the same week, making Drake the second-ever artist to achieve such a feat.
Just before his charting success, Drake inked a deal with Young Money Entertainment following what Billboard described as “one of the biggest bidding wars ever.” The rapper also hit the road with Wayne, once again, on the America's Most Wanted Tour.
In September of 2009, So Far Gone was released as an official EP, debuting at number six on the Billboard album chart. It went gold in the U.S. and won a Juno award for Rap Recording of the Year in Canada.
More collaborations followed with Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige, Kanye West, Timbaland, Eminem, DJ Khaled, Young Money, Young Jeezy, Birdman, and even Jamie Foxx. Writing credits include working with Alicia Keys, Dr. Dre, Jazz Cartier, and Bishop Brigante.
Originally slated for a late-2009 release, Drake's official debut album, Thank Me Later, was bumped a few times and eventually came out in the summer of 2010. The first three singles, “Over,” "Find Your Love," and “Miss Me,” all did well, the second reaching number eight on the singles chart. The CD climbed all the way to the top of the album chart selling 447,000 units in its first week.
Drake's first headlining tour – Lights Dreams and Nightmares Tour – kicked off in September, 2010.