Drizzy’s Social Swag

Siddiqi    November 10, 2015

Title: Drizzy’s Social Media Swag


Organization Name: Drake & OVO

Industry: Music & Entertainment

A number of individuals involved in the Canadian Hip Hop Music Industry were contacted for comment. At the time of publication, there was no response.

Web References: Drake; Degrassi: The Next Generation; MixtapesMixtape Marketing; Limewire; @Drake; @champagnepapi; Hotline Bling; Director X; Meme; Drake Vines; Vine ServiceTrump Hotline Bling; Cross Promotion; OVO Sound; OVO Store; The Fader; Sprite; Obey Your Thirst; Millennial Generation; The 6; We The 6; Meek MillBeef

You Only Live Once (YOLO); on Social Media You Live Forever

Drake (a.k.a Drizzy) is a Canadian Hip Hop artist who hails from Toronto. He started his career at the young age of 15 on the Canadian teen drama Degrassi: The Next Generation. Following his acting, he moved into the world of music. In 2006, he debuted his first mixtape: Room for Improvement. Here are six tracks from his debut:

The mixtape is a marketing method that began in the 1970’s and was employed by the underground urban music scene specifically DJ’s. Youth purchased mixtapes from the trunks of cars and word of mouth was king. This was social media before the onset of the internet. In 2009, Drake turned the mixtape world upside down by releasing a free album with a studio sound. Complete with studio collaborations with other artists. Take a listen and take note!

Through dropping the album online for free, Drake capitalized on a changing music landscape. Records sales were slumping due to file-sharing programmes such as Limewire. Newer and emerging artists needed to think creatively to generate buzz. Drake’s mixtape did just that and led to a nation-wide tour. Not to mention, the mixtape became an EP which sold over 500,000 copies. Not to shabby!

Since 2009’s So Far Gone, Drake’s brand has deepened and strengthened through social media. He joined Twitter in March of 2009. One month after his mixtape was released. Alongside Twitter, he is on Instagram as @champagnepapi. While there are more followers on Twitter, Drake posts more content to Instagram.  On Twitter, Drake tweets information about his artistry and retweets items pertaining to Toronto. On Instagram, Drake shares photos of himself and his crew of people that he supports and his associates. He also reposts content created by followers that is related to his work.

This leads me to his 2015 release of Hotline Bling. This track has generated over 59 million views on Youtube. The video was created by Director X and has catapulted Drake to meme status. There a close to 8,000 Vines of Hotline Bling. Vine is a 6 second user created video

Drake’s pop culture cache is so strong that controversial Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump recently parodied Hotline Bling on Saturday Night Live.

Aside from Hotline Bling, we must take a look at how Drake cross-promotes his brand. He is one of the founders of OVO Sound and owns an OVO store on Dundas Street in Toronto. OVO stands for October’s Very Own and the logo is that of an owl. Drake regularly wears the clothing from the store and features the OVO logo in many of his videos. The OVO logo figures prominently in Hotline Bling. In June of 2015, Drake worked with The Fader and Sprite to create a web length commercial that featured Drake’s music story titled Obey Your Thirst. The video highlights Drake as a brand and solidifies the strength that he brings to cross-promotion.

Drake is a millennial. This generation uses technology at higher rates than previous generations. His use of social media is both personal and professional. Drake demonstrates a deep love for his hometown and this is shown through his coining of the moniker “the 6.” The moniker appeared lyrically in Drake’s music and was swiftly followeda11b6eac0763695cba4ac20c54d5f5d5-260-260by images in social media and most recently a billboard along a major Toronto highway. As mentioned before, Drake’s pop culture cache has others picking up and using the moniker. This article explains some of the history and why the moniker is here to stay.

The man is savvy. He knows how to cultivate a brand. In July of this year, a rapper named Meek Mill engaged in a Twitter beef with Drake. Drake swiftly responded through Twitter with a scathing diss track.


Drake’s response through Twitter generated so much buzz that other businesses and individuals jumped on board to capitalize on the feud. Toronto City Councillor e29fcfdba0a82e7c99f4585e19c4146fNorm Kelly tweeted an image of himself standing back to back. While the company Whataburger added to the conversation with this hilarious tweet. You know your brand is tight when others want to ride in your tail wind.

Lessons for Others:

Be Personal & Think Creatively – Drake has created and marketed his brand through mostly music and images. His creative solution to the changing landscape proved his innovative spirit and his @champagnepapi account shows the personal side of him. Of course the images are curated; however, every marketing  image is curated unless it is coming from bad press. At which point, you need to spin it back to positive.

Cross-Promote – the internet is everywhere. The capitalist machine of North American encourages cross-promotion. It demonstrates strength of brand. Not to mention, it can connect you to wider audiences. So be thoughtful and strategic in developing partnerships.

Image and Video are King – The pervasiveness of the internet and the amount of information that it holds can be overwhelming; however images and short videos are the future of social media and of the internet at large. This is demonstrated through Hotline Bling and Drake reaching meme levels. Also, the video itself encourages fans to engage with the content and reshape it. The video is a series of camera shots that are single colour plain backgrounds with only Drake dancing or the occasional back up dancers. A picture is truly worth a 1,000 in the internet age. A 6 second Vine is worth at least a 1,000 more words!

Be Ready to Respond – The power of Drake’s diss track is not only from its lyrics but also from the speed at which Drake responded to Meek Mill. There are always going to be haters and sometimes addressing the haters is the best way to regain control of the messaging.

Be Strategic and Take Risks – Drake likes to coin terminology. He coined the acronym YOLO which stands for You Only Live Once. It is meant to bring urgency to actions. It is also meant to have you live life to the fullest. This is great advice for marketing; however be strategic with YOLO thinking. Social media lives on forever. It costs money to clean up your image and brand once you’ve deviated from your messaging.

Submitted By: Saara Siddiqi, University of Waterloo
To contact the author of this entry please email: saara.siddiqi@gmail.com

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