There are a few things you could immediately think of when you hear the name Drake: that rapper who used to be on Dregrassi, the dude who was hiding a son, Rihanna’s ex. But you're just as likely to think of his hometown, Toronto.
In the process of crowning himself the 6 God, Drake revitalized the city's image. He injected a much-needed dose of cool into the Toronto Raptors, hypes up numerous restaurants and businesses around town, and leverages his brand to bring local artists into the mainstream. According to a new Vice News Tonight report, Drake's influence is much more important than a mere cultural boost: it’s worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
The so-called Drake effect has been felt throughout the city. DJ4Korners, a DJ for the Toronto Raptors, calls Drake a “hype man” for the Raptors and credits him with increased ticket and merch sales as well as an improved “general feeling about the team.” The restaurant where he shot the Take Care cover gets regular reservations asking for the “Drake table.” There are restaurants, gyms, and even computer stores that appropriate the 6 moniker.
"We did some calculations that suggest that he's worth $440 million to the Toronto economy,” Gordon Hendren, a marketing and branding consultant for Toronto brands, told Vice. In other words, he’s worth 5 percent of the city’s tourism economy, which is worth $8.8 billion. "Why? Because he's helped to rebrand the city. He's kind of made himself the same as Toronto.”
Michael Thompson, a Toronto councillor responsible for bringing in foreign investments to the city, uses the Drake effect to his advantage. "I was just in New Orleans over the weekend…to secure a technology conference to come to Toronto for the next three years,” he says. He gave his whole spiel: giving a background of the city, the population size, the kind of people who live there, and so on. “When I mentioned this was the home of Drake, the people just kind of went crazy. The mere mention of his name," he said. "The tech conference will bring in to the city of Toronto about $147 million dollars.”
Drake’s Scorpion album went platinum the same day it dropped; the idea that he's also a “walking economic stimulus package” for a major North American city is next-level.