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It Looks Like You've Made It: Degrassi Success Stories

1. Aubrey Graham (Jimmy)

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Career: Rapper
Can Be Found On: MTV, tour, Myspace

Aubrey is a famous rapper named Drake. Yes, this is true. I can't believe it either. People who have never watched or even heard of Degrassi listen to his music. His success completely surprised me. It was just a few years ago when he was still on the show and his rap career consisted of a Myspace page. I figured it wouldn't progress beyond that. But a couple of years, I kept getting emails from people who were all like, "OMG Jimmy is a rapper now! His name is Drake." And I would respond, "I know. I've seen his Myspace page" not knowing how famous he was. Then one day, I found out he performed at the Grammy Awards. I assumed it was the Canadian Grammies. I'm pretty oblivious to hip hop.

To my surprise, he is actually very famous. He has worked with Eminem and Kanye West and his album debuted at #1 on the non-Canadian, non-Myspace music charts. That's what his Wikipedia entry says, at least. Considering how little I pay attention to rap, Aubrey Graham could just be editing his entry with false information in order to look cool, and I will believe it all. He was even on a Super Bowl commercial, which I just learned about this week, because I did not watch the Super Bowl. I know I'm starting to come off like some crazy shut-in who spends 15 hours a day on my computer and only watches Degrassi and kids shows from the 90s, but I assure you that is only half true.

Aubrey--excuse me, Drake--even has some music videos, bless his heart. Above is the one for "Best I Ever Had" in which Drake is the coach of a jiggling women's basketball team, in a town where nobody has ever heard of sports bras. He also has to go through the ladies' locker room to get to his office. I think Aubrey was watching the Lingerie Bowl on Superbowl Sunday, thought he could do the same thing with basketball, then pulled up his pants and met with some investors. The Stripper Basketball Association (SBA) was born. I imagine the investors were like, "Dammit, boy, you're a genius!" and gave him two big sacks full of money. The sacks had dollar signs on them, so you know they were full of money. Drake held them high with a smile. It was a good day, a good day indeed.

The music video is nuts. Of course, his team does poorly, so Drake tries to rally the players by comparing them to the Mighty Ducks and himself to Emilio Estavez. Drake is so Canadian, he'll mention a fictional hockey team instead of a real basketball team. The first Mighty Ducks movie was as big in Canada as Avatar was in the US.

According to my extensive research on Wikipedia, Kanye West directed this video. That explains it all perfectly.

Aubrey was on When I Was 17, an MTV show where celebrities talk about what they were doing at 17. Aubrey tells the story of when he walked out of class one day and never returned. Yes, he really is bragging about being a high school drop out. He doesn't mention that he was on Degrassi: The Next Generation at 17, where he would have been seeing a tutor on the set as required by child labor laws. He doesn't mention Degrassi at all, actually, which is very weird, because that was what he was doing at 17. He was a child actor. He was actually semi-famous. They even show old promo pictures from his time on Degrassi, but he doesn't say a word about that show. Instead, he talks about getting his little afro cut and buying stuff on Ebay.

Man, if you want to really know what Aubrey was like at 17, track down the old Degrassi: Unscripted about him. It is a hoot. When Drake was 17, he was driving a year old Acura and living in suburban Toronto. Hardcore.

When I Was 17 is stupid. No one does anything interesting at 17. I want to become famous so I can be on that show. "Yeah, when I turned 17, 9/11 had just happened. It was kind of a scary time. We were at war and we didn't know if the terrorists were going to attack us again. I was just hoping they didn't start the draft. It was a miserable time."

Drake doesn't like to be associated with Degrassi. There was an interview Aubrey gave to in February 2009 about his burgeoning rap career. We've re-printed this clip twice now on this website, but commenting on it will never get old. You were on Degrassi for eight years. It must have taken a lot to leave that comfort zone. When did you know it was time to go?

Drake: I can't really say I left that show. One day we came in and all the names were just changed on the dressing rooms. Everyone got cut. We go upstairs and it's like, "Who are all these people auditioning in the front?" They owe us a lot of money. The amount of loyalty, the years we put in with these people…they did us foul. As far as the producers go, I don't talk to anybody over there.

Does anyone else suspect that didn't happen? One, Degrassi will keep actors on the show for as long as he or she wants to stick around. The actors who play Spinner, Chante and Peter are all close to 30, but were never asked to leave. Two, even if he was let go, it's a high school TV show. How long should he really expect to stay on the payroll after his character graduated? He wants to sound like he was betrayed by a kid's show, because that makes him seem hardcore somehow, getting fired from a kids show. He's just bitter because his erection wasn't made as big as Spinner's.

Aubrey really wants to us to forget his was on Degrassi, it seems. He is probably worried that it will ruin his rap cred if it becomes widely known he was on Degrassi during middle and high school, instead of skipping class to make rhymes in a warehouse. If I were him, I would just embrace it like Will Smith did about being on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, or G-Dog did with The Princess and the Homeboy.

Princess and the Homeboy- G-Dog - watch more funny videos

Even if he can get us to ignore the show, Aubrey was still raised in the suburbs of Toronto. I don't know how hardcore he expects to be seen with that background. Maybe he'll try to bolster his street cred by getting busted for hosting a dog fighting ring in his backyard. I'm sure he was doing that while working on Degrassi.

The fans will never let you forget who you really are.

Related Article: Life After Degrassi

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