AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – Rap superstar and Toronto native Drake dropped his much-anticipated new album “Certified Lover Boy” early Friday morning.
Western New Yorkers who listened to it heard a surprise shout-out to a local college on the last track, “The Remorse”.
Drake, real name Aubrey Graham, raps about the start of his music career after he left teen soap opera Degrassi: The Next Generation in the song.
“Daemen College booking me to pull up and speak the facts,” he says, a reference to a Spring Fest 2009 show at the college that he performed at, shortly before his career took off.
Kathryn Hammer, alumni director at Daemen, was at that show.
“It was such an energetic show, it was a cool thing to see,” Hammer recalled. “The students loved him – they voted for him to perform. They were like, ‘he’s not big yet, but we have a feeling about this guy, can we book him?’ and they were right, it was a really good show.”
The rapper would go on to drop his debut album “Thank Me Later” the following year.
“We were one of his last big college tours,” Hammer added. “By the fall, he was booking the GRAMMYs.”
Hammer remembers Drake as being a kind and generous performer.
“He was such a sweet person – his manager was hoping to get him to the next stop [after the performance] and he was like ‘no, I have to see the students’,” she said. “He took pictures with them, he took pics with the staff.”
Hammer says the news that the rap star had name-dropped Daemen College took Wildcats past and present from “0 to 100” on Friday.
“We’ve had a lot of alumni texting us – our students are so excited, they didn’t realize he was a performer here,” Hammer said. “Everyone is so happy that this small school gets this public recognition.”
Drake is an inspiration to Daemen student and musician Jevon Jordan, who performed at the college’s Spring Fest last year with his group, Underrated Evolution.
“Drake, for me, personally, has been an inspiration for my musical journey,” Jordan said. “For him to shout out Daemen College, it’s legendary, it’s special.”
Understated Evolution started last year during the pandemic, making music in a campus studio that was built through Wildcat Media and Entertainment, a student organization Jordan started.
“There was not much to do but to make music,” Jordan added. “People started loving it, and we have continued to grow.”
Jordan says the sonic shoutout from an influential rapper is encouraging.
“It’s giving me confidence to see that Daemen College was part of Drake’s journey,” Jordan said. “It gives us that boost that we can get there too – if we keep putting in the work and sticking to what we love, we can make it there too.”