Jewish Journal

Drake: Last name Ever, first name Greatest, middle name—Jewish?

by Brad A. Greenberg

June 20, 2010 | 4:55 pm

Asher Roth swears he isn’t Jewish, and the Beastie Boys famously are. But who knew that Drake was Jewish? Besides Danielle Berrin, who has a good post about him at her Hollywood Jew blog. An excerpt:

In a culture of misfits and outsiders, he is the ultimate outsider – the first-ever black Jewish rapper.

According to an interview with Heeb magazine:

Drake was born to an African-American father and a Jewish mother, who divorced when he was five. Raised by his mother in Forest Hill, a heavily Jewish neighborhood of Toronto, he attended a Jewish day school, and was even Bar Mitzvah’d (the song of the night was Backstreet Boys’s “I Want It That Way”).

His upbringing wasn’t as rosy as it sounds. His father was primarily absent, and according to The Times, struggled with drug addiction and spent time in prison. His mother suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, which precluded her from working and forced Drake to grow up fast. In interviews, he often portrays himself as a loner.

“I went to a Jewish school, where nobody understood what it was like to be black and Jewish,” he told Heeb. “When kids are young it’s hard for them to understand the make-up of religion and race.”

Jordan Farmar knows how that feels. When I profiled the Lakers’ backup point guard last year, his coach told me that Farmar used to love going to play pick up and having someone on the other team say they were guarding “white boy”—before Farmar owned them.

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