Drake went from child actor to hip-hop superstar in the blink of an eye, thanks to his introspective and witty lyrics, impressive delivery, and raw talent. The Canadian-born artist began his career acting on the long-running teen drama series, "Degrassi: The Next Generation" (The N, 2001-16), as a young paraplegic who gives up his dreams of playing basketball and instead sets his sights on a music career. The music storyline slightly mirrored Drake's real-life pursuits. After releasing several mix tapes as an unsigned rapper, Drake gained strong credibility in the hip-hop community as well as a grassroots following. In 2008, he began collaborating with rapper and mogul Lil Wayne, who eventually signed him to his record label. Two years later, Drake released his highly anticipated debut album, Thank Me Later, which topped the charts, earned praise from rap royalty such as Jay-Z and Kanye West, and established his career as a promising and multi-talented artist who was ahead of his time.