Business

In the feud with Kendrick Lamar, Drake boasted about his success – Here’s a look at how he makes his money

BY Nii Ntreh June 19, 2024 12:02 PM EDT
Aubrey "Drake" Graham. Photo Credit: AP

On what used to be Twitter but now X, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary account found a way to wade into the feud between two of hip hop’s biggest acts, Drake and Kendrick Lamar. The dictionary defined diss as a noun but also, said the first known usage of the word was in 1987, that the word is a cooptation of disrespect, and carries just about the same meaning in African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) from where it originated.

The truly fascinating quality of the hip hop subgenre of diss tracks is that it is essentially music composed to tell off someone or stick it to the man. Hip hop diss is necessarily about showing that you are a better rapper, or person or even have more success than your adversary. This latter dimension of diss music is where Drake comes in because he is undoubtedly one of the most commercially successful rappers of all time.

In Push Up, one of his responses to Kendrick, Drake rapped: “I’m out in Tokyo because I’m big in Japan/ I’m the hitmaker y’all depend on”. These two lines were supposed to remind us and his adversary that he is a globally recognized brand whose addition to anyone’s song catapults the record to the top of the charts.

At the tail end of a long rap verse on the same song, Drake says:

“Numbers-wise, I’m out of here, you not creepin’ up/Money-wise, I’m out of here, you not sneakin’ up/Cornball, your show money merch money fee to us.”

A rapper singing about how much money they possess is not out of place but to be expected. The culture of hip hop requires that those to whom fortune has been kind embody their their success in the most ostentatious way possible. Hip hop feuds then become an opportunity for a rapper to make their case as they narrow the entire category of their “haters” to just one entity, and then measure their success against this other entity.

Success in hip hop culture is about money, power and respect, three terms that are incidentally the title of another hit song by The Lox, featuring DMX and Lil’ Kim. But all three terms can be substituted for each other because they all refer to the sort of currency one aspires to in a life that usually leaves nothing for Black Americans. If you come out of an environment with structural challenges and systemic gaps, you would like to earn enough money out of those challenges. When you do that, you would hope you are accorded respect, after which you would like to consolidate influence i.e. power.

This is the light in which Drake and any other rapper for that matter views the trajectory of their career and moneymaking.

Throughout his impressive career, Aubrey Drake Graham has established himself as one of the best-selling music artists globally, having sold over 170 million records. He holds the prestigious title of being the top-certified digital singles artist in the United States, as recognized by the RIAA.

Drake’s influence extends beyond music, as he has ventured into lucrative endorsements and partnerships. In 2021 for instance, he secured a staggering $100 million annual endorsement deal with the prominent gambling firm Stake.com. Additionally, Drake has made strategic investments in various high-net-worth companies across diverse sectors and industries.

In 2019, Forbes reported that the rapper was worth $150 million while more recent reports claim he is now in the bracket of a quarter of a billion.

Explore the extensive investments and business ventures within Drake’s portfolio by taking a look at these 10 holdings.

OVO

In 2012, Drake co-founded OVO Sound alongside Noah “40” Shebib and Oliver El-Khatib. The label’s name, OVO, represents October’s Very Own, paying homage to Drake’s earlier projects. Beyond being a platform for his own music, OVO Sound has become a nurturing ground for emerging talents. Presently, OVO Sound boasts an exceptional roster of artists, including PartyNextDoor, Majid Jordan, Roy Woods, and dvsn. This innovative record label is currently distributed by Warner Bros. Records.

OVO also holds investments in fashion, with another multimillion-dollar agreement with sportswear giants Nike.

DreamCrew

In 2017, Drake and Adel “Future” Nur co-founded the production company DreamCrew. This dynamic enterprise plays multiple roles within the entertainment industry, managing artists and producing compelling content. DreamCrew has achieved remarkable success, with notable credits including hit television series like “Euphoria” and “Top Boy,” as well as five films distributed by major platforms such as Netflix, Showtime, and 20th Century Studios. In 2022, Drake’s DreamCrew unveiled ambitious plans to invest $100 million in revitalizing the Luna Luna amusement park for a global tour in partnership with Live Nation.

100 Thieves

In 2018, 100 Thieves, a well-known American lifestyle brand and gaming organization in Los Angeles, gained a new co-owner in the form of Drake. The organization, founded by Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag in 2017, participates in video games such as Apex Legends, Call of Duty, League of Legends, and Valorant. Drake’s investment in the company solidified his position in the rapidly growing esports and gaming industries.

A.C. Milan

Drake recently collaborated with NBA superstar LeBron James as part of the investment fund Main Street Advisors. Together, they partnered with U.S. private equity group RedBird Capital and Yankee Global Enterprises to acquire Italian soccer club A.C. Milan. This landmark deal was reported to be valued at approximately $1.2 billion, marking Drake’s entry into the world of soccer sports ownership.

Virginia Black

Drake also co-founded Virginia Black, a whiskey brand, with Brent Hocking, the founder of DeLeón Tequila. The brand opened its first stores in New York, Nevada, and California in 2016. By the end of that year, Virginia Black became the top-selling liquor in Canada.

Sirius XM X Sound 42

Drake also founded a Sirius XM radio station called Sound 42. This 24-hour curated music channel is a new platform for his show, OVO Sound Radio. Previously, the show aired on Apple Music’s Beats 1 platform from 2015 to 2018. Broadcasting live from Toronto, the satellite channel features a mix of Drake’s songs and music from similar artists.

History

In 2021, Drake launched his grand music nightclub – History, in partnership with Live Nation. The highly-acclaimed event center officially commenced operations on November 7, 2021. Situated at 1663 Queen Street East in Toronto’s Beaches neighborhood, this world-class venue with a capacity of 2,500 has become a must-visit destination for local and international performers touring Canada. With its cutting-edge audiovisual system and an intimate atmosphere, attendees can experience up-close entertainment with their favorite artists that is unparalleled in Toronto. Moreover, the establishment plays a significant role in enhancing the vibrant culture and community of the east end by offering a diverse range of music and arts programming, with plans to host 200 events annually.

Wealthsimple

Wealthsimple is an online Canadian brokerage platform that recently gained attention when Drake and other celebrity investors acquired a stake in the company. This investment resulted in a funding round that raised C$750 million and a new valuation of $4 billion for Wealthsimple. With over 2 million users and more than $8.4 billion in assets under management, Wealthsimple has established itself as a prominent player in the industry.

Better World Fragrance House (BWFH)

In addition to his involvement in the financial and fashion industries, Drake also ventured into the fragrance market with his brand – Better World Fragrance House (BWFH). This fragrance brand, which aims to create a better world through scent, currently offers five unique home fragrances. Each fragrance is inspired by a distinct memory, adding a personal touch to the scents.

Dave’s Hot Chicken

In 2021, Drake invested substantially in Dave’s Hot Chicken, a rapidly growing restaurant chain in America known for its mouthwatering delicacies, such as their signature jumbo Hot Chicken Tenders and Sliders, as well as delectable sides like house-made Kale Slaw, creamy Mac n’ Cheese, and crispy, seasoned French Fries.