Drake had a lot of expectations going into his first hosting gig on 'Saturday Night Live,' and easily established himself as the show's next Justin Timberlake with an 'SNL' performance that began with a big Rob Ford joke in the monologue as he shouted out his city.
"Toronto, where the rappers are polite, and the Mayor smokes crack."
He then segued into a flashback to his bar mitzvah, complete with a recreation of the real vest he wore in the home movie clips made famous by his "HYFR" music video and an insta-classic rap, about his half-black, half-Jewish heritage: "I celebrate Chanukah and date a Rihannakah." Plus, he apologized for coining YOLO!
(Here's a flashback fun fact: Drake and SNL producer Lorne Michaels attended the same high school, Forest Hill Collegiate Institute.)
Drake Monologue - SNL 1-18-14 by IdolxMuzic
Demonstrating an ego-free ease that is nearly unheard of from musicians-who-host (save the likes of JT, Paul Simon and Bruno Mars), and even featured LARPing. ("Elven death potion!")
Drake also landed his impressions -- Jay Z, A-Rod, William Katt and a meme-worthy Lil-Wayne-as-Steve Urkel) and delivered some good character work, too, highlighted by his cheeseball, mustache-adorned dad.
But just in case the double-whammy of Drake as both host and musical guest, not to mention those 'Degrassi' references, wasn't patriotic enough, the show mocked Justin Bieber's egg raid in the cold open as Kate McKinnon's pitch-perfect impression tried to explain the incident as "a Canadian tradition."
All told, the 90-minute show was basically a Hollywood audition so that Drake could prove to Americans that he can act, too, a feat he accomplished by, well, acting. Which makes it even more impressive that it was also blackest, Jewish-est and most Canadian episode ever.
Drake's presence allowed for more hip-hop jokes than usual, and the episode also marked the debut of Sasheer Zamata, the show's first black female performer in some time (which has been controversial this season) as well as two black, female writers.
Oh, and Drake's performances were stand-outs, too, as he paired a stripped down, red-lit "Started From The Bottom" with new track "Trophies" as well as mixing strong vocals on "Hold On, We're Going Home" with the very personal "From Time" alongside duet partner and tourmate Jhené Aiko.
“Started From The Bottom”
Drizzy gave fans a sneak peek at the first single from "Nothing Was The Same" when he posted “Started From The Bottom” on his October’s Very Own blog on February 1. The song officially became available on iTunes five days later and sparked many a debate about the location of The Bottom, Drake’s relation to The Bottom and the actual bottomness of Drake’s starting point. Director X’s inspired video for the song, which sees the star working at a Shopper’s Drug Mart, came out on February 10.
"5am In Toronto"
A month after Drake unleashed the first single from his forthcoming album on the world, he treated his fans to this non-album track in which he references some hometown hallmarks, thinks about his haters, touches on recent controversies like his club altercation with Chris Brown and maybe says something vague about his oft-rumoured feud with The Weeknd.
OVO Fest 2013
Once again, Drake showed his love for his hometown of Toronto by hosting a massive music festival at the city’s Molson Canadian Amphitheatre and then packing the already star-studded bill with an impressive list of superstar guests. This year’s edition of OVO featured the likes of James Blake, The Weeknd, J. Cole, Puffy and Ma$e, A$AP Rocky, Kanye West, Lil’ Wayne and TLC.
“Hold On We’re Going Home”
Drake once again showed his softer side with this Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson-inspired slow jam. The second single from Nothing Was The Same, “Hold On We’re Going Home” was released on August 7 and became a top five hit in the US, Canada and The UK. It also unwittingly became the soundtrack and inspiration for Starbucks Drake Hands.
"Nothing Was The Same"
Drake dropped his third album on September 24 to critical and commercial success. The disc, featuring guest appearances by the likes of 2 Chainz, Big Sean and Jay Z, received praise from Rolling Stone, Spin, Complex and The Guardian, among other outlets, and debuted in the number one position on the Billboard 200, selling 658,000 copies in its first week in the US. Featured Track: "The Language"
Drake was named the Toronto Raptors’ “Global Ambassador” at a press conference on September 30. At said press conference,<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/09/30/drake-toronto-raptors_n_4017107.html" target="_blank"> the rapper declared</a> that “my goal is to do anything I’m asked to do to bring a championship to Toronto.” (Feel free to insert your own “Started From The Bottom” joke here.) He also called the beleaguered NBA team his new family.
The Nike Partnership
Just after Kanye West severed his ties with the footwear and sportswear giant over a royalties dispute, Drake announced that he would be partnering up with Nike’s Air Jordan brand to design a line of sneakers. Kanye <a href="http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2013/12/kanye-west-hard-feelings-toward-drake-nike-deal" target="_blank">is apparently cool</a> with this development.
Would You Like A Tour?
After some early hiccups and postponements, Drake successfully launched his Would You Like a Tour? in support of "Nothing Was The Same" on October 18 at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. Despite the rumours of slow ticket sales and snarky jokes along the lines of “Apparently we would not like a tour,” the tour, featuring opening acts like Future and The Weeknd, went on to be quite welcome and desired, indeed, selling out shows in major markets like Montreal, New York City and Atlanta. He also sold out his hometown Toronto show, which happened on his 27th birthday. Would You Like A Tour? will continue well into March of 2014.
His love life, or at least rumours thereof
2013 was the year in which Drake allegedly dated everyone or at least got them all hot and bothered with his general Drakeness. He had dinner with Tatyana Ali (and mentioned it in "Tuscan Leather"). Selena Gomez admitted that she had a major crush on him. He started publicly palling around with Rihanna again and reignited all of those rumours. And now he’s been seen getting cozy with Zoe Kravitz. On top of all of that, Amanda Bynes told Twitter that she wanted Drake to "murder my vagina" before she was institutionalized.
Drake was such a huge fan of the first "Anchorman" movie that he decided to flat out ask Ron Burgundy himself, Will Ferrell, for a role in the sequel. Ferrell and director Adam Kay welcomed the rapper on set, decked him out in an impressive seventies leather jacket and an even more impressive afro and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/24/drake-anchorman-2-role-will-ferrell-asked-for-it_n_3980855.html" target="_blank">put him in a scene with Ron and Veronica Corningstone</a> (Christina Applegate).
The Drake Memes
There's just something about Drizzy that brings out the internet’s creative (and occasionally mean) side. This year, we were treated to inspired reinterpretations of the album artwork for <a href="http://www.mstarz.com/articles/18291/20130822/drake-nothing-same-album-cover-art-memes-photos-fans-attack.htm" target="_blank">"Nothing Was The Same"</a>, made up <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/regajha/these-made-up-lyrics-might-be-the-funniest-drake-meme-yet" target="_blank">Drake lyrics</a>, and <a href="http://www.complexmag.ca/style/2013/05/the-funniest-drake-wearing-dada-memes/" target="_blank">Drake Wearing Dada</a>, among others. He also provided the soundtrack for the infamous <a href="http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/starbucks-drake-hands)" target="_blank">Starbucks Drake Hands</a>. And <a href="http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/drake-the-type-of" target="_blank">Drake The Type Of continued to be a thing</a>.
Finishing the year off the highest note possible for any musician who is not actually Yonce herself, Drake made an appearance on Beyonce's groundbreaking self-titled visual album. He performs alongside the singer in the emotional duet "Mine,” and also shows up in the accompanying video.
After claiming best rap album for "Take Care" at the beginning of the year, he ended 2013 with four new Grammy nominations for next February's award show, including best rap album ("Nothing Was the Same"), best rap performance ("Started From the Bottom") and two for best rap song ("Started From the Bottom" and for guesting on A$AP Rocky's "Fuckin' Problems.")