The Six. The 6ix. The 416. A region comprised of six areas: Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough, York, East York, and Toronto. Before the year 2014, people wouldn’t have known what those words meant. One Toronto man changed that and the city for good. Aubrey Drake Graham, the 29-year-old Canadian rapper, Jimmy from Degrassi, and the frontman of Toronto, is using his fame and talents to make Toronto the most loved city on earth.
Listen to any Drake song and the lyrics praise the city that he was raised in. Watch any Drake music video and you can see the CN tower in every shot. He has the numbers 416 tattooed on his skin for life. Drake lives for Toronto, and by doing so he has made for his millions of fans Toronto the number one place to love.
Drake once told an interviewer, “When I think of myself, I think of Toronto. My music would never sound the way it does if it weren’t for Toronto.” And to many people Drake equals Toronto.
Will Smith uses “The 6” in his selfies and Toronto city councillor Norm Kelly has more than once referenced Drake on his Twitter account. Toronto Blue Jays player Jose Bautista sends out his support for Drake.
Coming from a diverse family with a Jewish mother and black father, Drake represents the multicultural Toronto perfectly. Even though in the rap world he seems to a bit of an outsider, being called “soft” or “not black enough”, the citizens of Toronto will always welcome Drake with open arms.
They should, considering the year Drake has had. He made the Toronto Raptors one of the biggest aspects of Toronto living, and if it’s that not enough take a listen to his album If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.
That album didn’t need any promotion and Torontonians know why. Thousands of fans around the world now know about “Kennedy” from the song Energy and Weston and Scarlett roads from You & the 6, and without Drake those would have just been areas that locals would know.
The lyric “running through the 6 with my woes” was the summer anthem and will probably remain the anthem of Toronto for this generation, at least.
The “Drake Fever” is so rampant that there’s an app Running Through the 6, where you play as a cartoon Drake collecting emojis that represent Drake and Toronto in some way. These emojis include The 6, praying hands, and the 100. You can even lose your ability to jump in the game and turn into Drake’s Degrassi role, “Wheelchair Jimmy”.
What might come as a surprise to many fans and rap enthusiasts is that Toronto was not always considered a ‘rap city’. In fact, it wasn’t even really on the rap scene at all.
As he said in an interview with the CBC, “I remember a time in Toronto rap where it was not cool to be patriotic and you wanted to sound just as far away from Toronto as possible. I remember that time where there was an extreme obsession with American culture because that’s where all the superstars were, where all the rappers were.”
However, it was the people and culture of Toronto that fascinated him the most.
“I was not only proud but fascinated with this city; with the way people talked, with the way people carry themselves and with the little trends that come with being young. My Toronto that I grew up in was what I wanted to put on the forefront if I ever got the chance.”
Drake has literally put Toronto on the map this last summer and with the upcoming release of Views from the Six, Toronto is only going to get receive more glory and fame. So before you call Drake “soft” or “not black enough”, remember that he writes for Toronto and, in doing so, makes Toronto even cooler.
By: Madi Fuller