It's Drake's birthday. The rapper and Toronto native — who got his start in that quintessentially Canadian way, through a role on Degrassi: The Next Generation — turns 27 today. And it turns out he used the celebration as yet another opportunity to show some hometown pride, with an extremely unusual cake that, among other things, shows off his favorite places in the city.
Here's Drake himself blowing out the candles:
Though the CN Tower is looking a little precarious (and lumpy), the cake offers a lot to unpack about what the city means to one of its most prominent hometown heroes. Helpfully, Jon Dekel over at Canada.com put together an interactive, annotated version of Drake's birthday cake:
On the left is the CN Tower, which opened in October 1976, almost exactly a decade before the musician was born. Drake has a small tattoo of the CN Tower on his arm (he also has a tattoo of Toronto's 416 area code down his side).
Over on the right is Habibiz, a hookah restaurant in Scarborough, an area on the east side of Toronto that Drake frequents on his visits home. And of course there's the mascot for the NBA's Toronto Raptors, for which Drake now serves as a "Global Ambassador." The Toronto Star called him the "pitch man NBA stars will listen to," convincing superstar players to move to his hometown.
The cake also speaks to Drake's identity as a struggling, hometown boy made good. The imagery — including the flashy Mercedes representing his present success — is largely taken from his hit single "Started from the Bottom." In the center of the cake is the Shoppers Drug Mart, where Drake once worked and where he's shown stocking shelves at the beginning of the music video for that song.
It's clear Drake takes his self-appointed role as Toronto's messenger seriously. He told Jian Ghomeshi, the Toronto-based host of the arts and culture program Q, "I''d really like you to hear that album and know that this city is what inspired it. And if you like that album and you're looking for a place to go, come check out this city. There's great things here. It's very diverse. There's great places to eat, there's great places to go. I'm really just a messenger. I'm just giving you one guy's story from one city."
That's more or less the same message the musician has now had translated into baked goods. As someone who lives in Toronto but also spends a lot of time in Miami, all I can say is, your move, Rick Ross.