Drake delivered on his promise from the year before to earn a second consecutive slot on our Man of the Year countdown . The Toronto lyricist followed up his star-making So Far Gone mixtape with an album that was equally celebrated, the platinum-selling Thank Me Later.
In addition to his recorded triumph, Drake scored onstage as well, piling up loads of buzzworthy moments in the past 12 months, from joining Jay-Z at Yankee Stadium to inviting Eminem to rock alongside him during his OVO Festival. Not to mention the former “Degrassi” actor helped steer the Cash Money ship while Lil Wayne was behind bars. For all that and more, we’re thanking Drizzy now.
2010 Highlights: Drake started the year with a bang when it was announced that he, Weezy, Eminem and Kanye West would perform at the Grammys . He quickly followed that news with word that he would go on an eco-friendly tour , his second in a matter of months, this time with Francis and the Lights and hometown ally K-Os.
In March, Drake made the transition from mixtape phenom to legit solo artist with the debut of his first official single, the rollicking “Over,” which premiered on his personal blog. With Weezy’s prison sentence set to begin, Drake proclaimed , “You won’t even notice [Lil Wayne is] gone. Promise.”
The Anthony Mandler-directed “Over” video arrives, further helping Drake move from underground act to full-fledged star. Toronto titans Justin Bieber and Drake then joined forces at Canada’s Juno Awards.
The blockbuster “Find Your Love” served Drake up as a ladies’ man over the Kanye West-produced track. Drizzy wasn’t afraid to show off his adolescent side during his appearance on “When I Was 17,” which was the highest-rated episode of the first season.
In May, just a month before his debut was scheduled to arrive, a series of songs from Thank Me Later leaked online , including “Unforgettable” and “Fireworks,” featuring Alicia Keys.
Just days before his debut hit stores, Drake held court during a star-studded listening session where media outlets virtually coronate the upstart with a slew of slobbering reviews.
The “Best I Ever Had” star’s expected attendance at an outdoor concert in Manhattan causes a riot as fans brawl before the show was eventually canceled ; the scene was captured in the MTV documentary “Drake: Better Than Good Enough.”
In July, Drake took flight after scoring a lucrative endorsement deal with Virgin , which added to his deals with Sprite, BlackBerry and Kodak.
The Toronto star closed the summer with a homecoming concert for the ages, as he brought Jay-Z and Eminem to town for his inaugural OVO Fest. As soon as he closed out one tour, however, Drake jumped right back on the road with Tyga for his Light Dreams & Nightmares jaunt, where along the way he would bring out J. Cole and Jay-Z and conclude things with a newly freed Lil Wayne in Las Vegas .
Add to that a rousing VMA performance , a Twitter marriage and divorce with Nicki Minaj and his first #1 record — his “What’s My Name?” duet with Rihanna — not to mention a placement on our Hottest MCs in the Game list and a highly anticipated R&B mixtape and sophomore album, and it’s easy to see why Drake was one of the year’s biggest acts.
We’ll be rolling out our Top Five Men and Women of 2010 all week, until we unveil MTV News’ Man and Woman of the Year on Friday. As always, we want to know what you think, so share your picks in the comments below!