Rapper Drake Relives Bar Mitzvah in Saturday Night Live Skit (VIDEO)
Popular black-Jewish-Canadian rapper Drake, hosted Saturday Night Live at the weekend, with an opening monologue talking about his unique upbringing, including a skit based on his bar mitzvah.
Being Canadian, Jewish and black were among the several “fun facts” Drake, born Aubrey Drake Graham, listed about himself on SNL. He also said he coined the phrase “YOLO” – “you only live once,” for which he apologized, as it’s now used too often by “annoying co-workers.”
In the bar mitzvah skit, he addresses both sides of his family, telling them that “as a man,” he would no longer be known as “Aubrey”, but as “Drake,” to which the actress playing his mother comes up to the podium, whispering something in his ear, then he corrects himself, “Drakob, rather!”
Born in 1986, in Toronto, Ontario, Drake’s real parents are Sandi Graham (née Sher), a Jewish teacher, and Dennis Graham, an Afro-American drummer who played for Jerry Lee Lewis, but they divorced when he was five.
His mother sent him to Jewish Day School until high school, where a classmate’s father, a talent agent, helped him get cast as ‘Jimmy Brooks,’ a high school basketball star who is shot and becomes disabled, on Canadian TV show ‘Degrassi: The Next Generation.’
His father, who moved back to Memphis, ended up serving time in jail, twice, giving Drake a counterpoint to his relatively upper middle-class life with his mother in Toronto, and fueling the emotion in his rapping.
His first beats were popular and in 2007, Drake became the first unsigned Canadian rapper to have his music video featured on BET when his first single, ‘Replacement Girl,’ was broadcast. From there, a long line of hits and provocative videos, including for the 2012 song ‘HFYR’ that featured his bar mitzvah, have Drake in the public eye.
That video, which starts out with actual footage of Drake at a bar mitzvah when he was a young boy, moves to a temple where Drake gets his “re-bar mitzvah”, as other hip-hop artists, including Lil Wayne and DJ Khaled are present at the ceremony.
While filming the video in Miami, Drake provided insight into why he wanted his “re-bar mitzvah.”
“I’m proud, a proud young Jewish boy. When I had a bar mitzvah back in the day, my mom really didn’t have that much money. We kinda just did it in the basement of an Italian restaurant, which I guess is kinda like a faux pas,” he told a videographer for Cash Money Records.
“I told myself that if I ever got rich, I’d throw myself a re-bar mitzvah. That’s the concept for the video,” Drake said.
The video was shot inside a real synagogue in Miami. “Stunna Man [hip-hop artists Birdman] and Khaled had to come and show their support. I learned my Torah portions; they had to come hear me read it,” he said.
In 2013, he won a Grammy for best rap album for ‘Take Care,’ after being nominated a total of 12 times since 2010.
Watch Drake’s monologue on SNL below: