Last weekend, we were graced with a new album (er, playlist) from Drake. But just as importantly — if not more so — we were graced once more with the presence of Dennis Graham, Drizzy's father and the cover star of More Life.
Nor was this our first rendezvous with Dennis. As Drake has risen to the top of the rap game, so too has his dear dad. Who can forget his role in the "Worst Behavior" video?
Or the appearance he made in a random Canadian indie-rock band's video for a song literally titled "Drake's Dad" a few years after that?
And when Drake celebrated More Life's release this weekend, he did it by partying with his dad.
Between his zest for life and his consistently impressive mustache, it’s hard not to love Dennis. Especially since he's been so generous in lending his time — and his face — to his son’s cultural cause. Which, when you think about it, is something of a rare position in an industry built largely on the power of moms.
For the record, Drake’s love for both of his parents runs deep. Sandi Graham has been present and accounted for since the day we met Aubs at Degrassi. She’s been cited often in his songs, taken out for fancy dinners, and clearly been the object of Drizzy’s unconditional filial love. Those who love Drake knows Drake loves his mom. And that is lovely and beautiful — but it's also more expected, because of the way so many pop stars honor their moms.
To be a pop mom carries a special set of expectations and beliefs for both parties. Just as we know that Drake's public displays of affection are payback for Sandi’s lifetime of support, we know Justin Bieber’s mom has had his back through the past several years’ trials and tribulations. All the One Direction moms appeared in the band’s 2013 doc This Is Us, which offered a brief close-up look at the maternal dynamics that helped guide the singers to fame. More recently, we learned that Ed Sheeran’s mom took his A-level exams in his stead, and last year Zayn brought his mom as his date on his first post-Direction red carpet.
We celebrate these young men's closeness to their moms in part because the entertainment industry can so often carry artists far away from their families. At times, we even treat a dudely star's respect for his mother as evidence of his feminist ideals: If they love their mom, they must love women. And if their mom is encouraging in public, we smile at the knowledge that our beloved artist comes from a loving and supportive home.
Of course, there are often supportive dads in the picture, too. Zayn, for instance, wrote in his memoir about how his dad's heritage and musical taste inspired him to sing in Urdu on Mind of Mine. Papa Malik is an important influence on the artist his son has become, just like Dennis Graham is for Drake. But even there, you don't see Zayn putting his dad front and center in music videos and album art, because that's just not part of the pop playbook — which is part of why everyone is so delighted when Drake does it.
We're also just happy that Drake's dad walks the right line of lovable dadly corniness without seeming outright tacky or inappropriate, like some other pop-star dads we could name.
As cool as Drake's dad is, though, it would be nice to see some pop moms get the same Cool Parent™ treatment. Pop moms never seem to get to just hang — they're always being doted on, or doing the doting, or being escorted to awards shows because aw, isn't that so sweet. And it is, but moms are people too, with all kinds of depth to their personalities.
In conclusion: Drake's dad is funny and iconic, but so is Drake's mom! Don't you ever forget it.