Drake’s résumé as an entertainer might seem a bit peculiar for those that aren’t in the know. How did someone who got their start on the hit Canadian teen drama series Degrassi: The Next Generation become the hottest rapper in the industry? It’s sometimes easy to put rappers in a box and assume that they all must come from a checkered history to become successful, but that couldn’t be further from the truth for Drake. The Toronto rapper grew up in a middle class family, had a successful acting career and transcended all expectations to become a successful recording artist. His squeaky-clean past has made him unique, but it has also made him the most "memeable" celebrity among internet culture.
15 “Dance Like Drake"
Of all the ridiculous viral content the “Hotline Bling” video introduced to the world, the best were the GIFs of Drake slinging PokéBalls superimposed over what is arguably the most ridiculous dancing the video yielded. While the Pokémon-themed “dance like Drake” meme was the most popular, countless variations of the meme were also created. Examples include Drake raking leaves, dribbling a basketball, swinging a tennis racket and even wielding a lightsaber. This is just a tiny sample of the content this squatty dance move yielded. Drake’s videos and style don’t necessarily influence or set trends, but they certainly have an impact on internet culture. Lucky for Drake, he is completely willing to have a laugh at his own expense.
14 Hurt Drake
On a scale from 1 to Drake, how depressed do you feel right now? Drake has many instances in the songs he has created where he speaks on the heartbreak, disappointment and deceit that have resulted from trusting certain women in his life. As a result, the internet has created the “hurt Drake” meme, in which the rapper’s deeply sensitive feeling interfere with the everyday life situations he finds himself in. It is sometimes difficult to decipher if the text pasted over embarrassing photos of “hurt Drake” memes are actually quotes that Drake has said, or words from the keyboard of an internet comedian. Drake is a softie and if he decided to end his rap career tomorrow, he could probably have a lucrative career as a writer for Hallmark cards.
13 Screaming Drake
The year 2016 was a huge one for Drake as an artist and as the year reached its mid-point, he was on a successful worldwide tour for his fourth studio album Views. As you can imagine, Drake took his performances on this tour very seriously and images from the tour went viral (like everything else Drake touches). One of the most popular was a photo of Drake enthusiastically belting out lyrics for the audience, which was quickly dubbed “screaming Drake.” The image was then placed above lyrics from various rock songs that ranged from Evanescence to Fallout Boy and Brand New. The results were endlessly hilarious. Was Drake actually meant to be the front man of a nu-metal band and not a famous touring rap star? We may never know the answer.
12 Drake gets a text
When a picture surfaced of the titular Toronto rapper in a club sadly gawking at his iPhone, speculation began to run rampant as to what was actually on the phone's screen. This was prime material for the internet to poke fun at Drake and his longstanding on-again/off-again relationship with platinum recording artist Rihanna. Rihanna and Drake’s relationship, at times, seems a bit one-sided. After all, Drake has gone on record multiple times to sing her praises and has even gone as far as presenting her with an achievement award at MTV’s VMAs in 2016, whereas Rihanna typically refrains from commenting on the rapper. What was on the Drake’s phone? We may never know, but the memes that it yielded were just as, if not more, entertaining than the real answer.
11 Freshman year vs. junior year
A lot has changed for Champagne Papi in the time between his first major project "So Far Gone" in 2009 and his multi platinum album "Views" in 2016. The Toronto rapper has grown a lot as a recording artist, but the drastic change in his work matches the way his appearance has changed, as well. Comparisons of a skinny and more conservatively dressed Drake in 2009 to the brash and bulked up version we have today has spawned a series of memes called “freshman year vs. junior year.” It’s no doubt that the Drake we know today is a grizzled and battle-tested veteran of the rap industry—and it couldn’t be more obvious when looking at his appearance.
10 Meek Mill disses
Drake had an unbelievable amount of success in 2016, but he was able to gain one more win when he defeated fellow rapper, Meek Mill, in their well-documented “beef.” The feud began when Meek Mill accused Drake of not personally writing his own raps. As a result, a whirlwind of accusations were levied against the rapper in regards to his potential ghost- writing, but Drake quickly returned fire with the release of two diss tracks: “Back to Back” and “Charged Up.” The songs accused Meek Mill of being a less successful and subservient entertainer to his then-girlfriend, Nicki Minaj, among a slew of other painful burns. This lead to plenty of memes about Meek Mill’s loss, some of which Drake showed on the big screen at OVO Fest, a Drake-centric concert that occurred shortly after the beef began.
9 Young, dancing Drake
One of Drake’s most endearing characteristics—and this is something that continuously pops up in the meme culture that surrounds him—is his well-documented, dorky past. Drake doesn’t spend any effort trying to conceal the fact that he was part of a hit teenage drama or grew up middle class to better fit the mold of a “rapper,” though. Instead, he embraces these moments, which makes him much more endearing as an entertainer. One prime example of this is from the 2012 “HYFR” video, which features a now-infamous video clip of Drake dancing as a young boy. He’s wearing a vest, dancing like a nerd and has an unforgettable look on his face that was tailored made for meme creators. It’s no surprise that little dancing Drake has become a distinct part of internet hip-hop culture.
8 Wheelchair Jimmy
Drake’s portrayal as Jimmy from the hit Canadian television show Degrassi has to be considered the highlight of his squeaky-clean past. The scripted show that documents the growth and pain that several teenagers endure through their lives in and outside of the fictional Degrassi High School starred Aubrey Graham (Drake). Drake portrayed Jimmy, the school's basketball star and a heavily featured character on the show. The most notable arc of the character came when Jimmy was shot by an out-of-control school shooter, which lead to him becoming paralyzed and wheelchair-bound for the remainder of Drake’s stint on the series. Though the subject matter of the show was serious, it is no surprise to see an abundance of memes created that feature photos of the now famous rapper in a wheelchair as a teenager. “Wheelchair Jimmy” will always be a part of Drake’s career.
7 Basketball wife Drake
If you see Drake out and about, it’s typically at an NBA basketball game. He is an avid fan of the sport and is even an executive member of Canada’s own Toronto Raptors. That doesn’t keep the rapper from attending the games of other teams, though. Drake has been seen at a plethora of NBA games and oddly enough, the pictures that surface of him have spurred a meme that could only be called “basketball wife Drake.” The meme aims to make Drake look like the loving, supportive partner of the basketball stars that he is commonly seen fawning over. Drake can be seen being the “proud girlfriend” to NBA players ranging all the way from Kobe Bryant to LeBron James. Do you think the infamous Drake lyric “I’m so, I’m so, I’m so proud of you” was actually about a basketball player? Makes you think…
6 Views album cover
Views, Drake’s highly anticipated follow up to If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, was met with a mediocre critical reception. As a result, people began using the album cover that featured a tiny Drake atop the CN tower, the tallest structure in Canada, in all sorts of unintended ways. The memes commonly combined the cover with other popular memes like the infamous “crying Michael Jordan,” to show Drake’s disapproval of the lack of critical acclaim that the album amassed. “Tiny Drake” began popping up everywhere and could be seen on the album covers of other rappers, movie posters or on the shoulders of celebrities. Whether Drake intends to or not (and he probably does), his “memeability” is a genius marketing technique.
5 Thing you like vs. thing you hate
"Hotline Bling" was a momentous achievement for Drake—the song was an unrelenting number one hit and amassed an unbelievable amount of radio play. So how do you further the success of the most iconic song of the summer? You make a music video that is just as iconic. The premise for the "Hotline Bling" video is simple: place Drake in various James Turrell-inspired neon structures and let him dance his heart out. As is usually the case with anything Drake touches, it went viral. Drake truly danced like no one was watching and internet dwellers were instantly drawn to screen grabs from the video. One meme that became popular among users placed images of Drake next to things they approved or didn’t approve of. As it turns out, a photo of Drake’s facial expressions is worth a thousand words.
4 Softest in the game
Drake, by all accounts, is currently the “softest” successful rapper in the industry. He doesn’t shy away from that fact and is always eager to share his emotional strains in the music he creates. To highlight Drake’s “plushy personality," users created the “softest in the game” meme, which takes images of Drake and places it on the logos of fabric softener and toilet paper. Drake’s face could even be seen replacing the iconic teddy bear’s from the Snuggle commercials. Is Drake as soft as Charmin toilet paper? If you examine Drake’s tears, will you discover that he is, in fact, leaking fabric softener? Probably not, but Drake’s emotional vulnerability has made him a target that provides endless opportunities to poke fun at.
3 They said they miss the old Drake—girl don’t tempt me
When Drake was penning the lyrics to his smash hit song “Headlines,” there’s no way he could have known that one of the lines would live on in infamy long after the song’s radio play had come to an end. The line “You miss the old Drake—girl don’t tempt me” at its core is an innocuous throwaway line of little relevance. However, Drake's well-documented and squeaky-clean past raised a lot of eyebrows. Who is the old Drake? As it turns out, the “old” Drake that many fans were introduced to happened to come in the form of several geeky school photos, as well as various other unflattering pictures ranging from Drake working at a Popeye’s drive-thru to photos of his time spent on the hit show Degrassi.
2 Drake’s cashmere sweater
Drake’s sweater in the “Hotline Bling” video is, for lack of a better word, goofy—but who would have guessed that images of the rapper in the now infamous cashmere turtleneck could provide such a wide array of content for internet dwellers? The sweater, paired with some screen captures of equally goofy dance moves, created internet gold—and lots of it. The images provided a wide array of possibilities which were used for everything from asking if someone is going to “finish those fries” to showing utter disappointment with the person who was making your “hotline bling.” It’s doubtful that Drake had any idea that the sweater he chose for this iconic video would grace the internet in endless ways for years to come.
1 “Drake's the type of dude..."
One of the most notable characteristics portrayed in his Drake’s lyrics is his willingness to be vulnerable. He speaks about his feelings with unwavering confidence, whereas most “rappers” spend a considerable amount of their lyrical space making the listener believe they are “hard,” “tough” and impervious to any emotional pain. This is what makes Drake unique, but this is also what makes Drake a target for meme creators. “Drake's the type of...” memes are most common on Twitter, where there are several accounts dedicated to the joke. A “Drake's the type of dude” joke is constructed by attributing something that would be considered “soft” to the Toronto rapper. Examples include things like “Drake the type of dude to smile in the mirror after he puts on Chap Stick", or one of our favorites, “Drake the type of dude to ride a horse with both legs on one side.”