Drake rapped about getting the key to Toronto in his new song “Summer Sixteen” — and on Friday (Feb. 12), he got his wish.
“The world’s most famous Torontonian” was given the key to Toronto by Mayor John Tory ahead of coaching Team Canada to a victory against Team USA at the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game. The rapper now joins such illustrious key holders as Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and Celine Dion.
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At center court at Toronto’s Ricoh Coliseum, with family, fans and media watching, Tory presented Drake with the city’s highest honor, with one caveat: it’s non-transferrable. In Drake’s new song “Summer Sixteen,” he raps, “Six, six, six, six / Soon as I’m back in the city they throw a parade / I might get a key to the city and give it to Wayne / Or give it to one of the young boys to carry the wave.” The track is the lead single from his forthcoming album, Views from the 6.
Earlier Tory tweeted, “I’ll tell him he can’t give it to Wayne,” along with a photo of the gold key in the wooden box, inscribed in metal with Drake’s real name, Aubrey Drake Graham.
Tory said people have asked him why the city is awarding him with the key. “It’s not just because you are the world most famous Torontonian but because of what you do with your great presentation and with your fame as you promote the city, you love the city and you even renamed the city for a lot of people around the world,” the mayor said.
Drake to Receive Key to the City of Toronto
“I think what people may also not recognize is that you inspire people. You inspire us to be a better city and you inspire a lot kids to be better people and we hope you’ll keep on doing that. We’re counting on you to keep doing that as we build a great city, which is the greatest city in the greatest country in the world.”
As Tory said these last words, Drake beamed, became animated and started clapping. The 29-year-old, who raps and talks about Toronto any chance he gets, hugged Tory as he took the key, and the mic.
“I’m nervous,” he said. “First of all, this is probably one of the biggest moments of my life, if not the biggest moment of my life. I just want to say thank you to a city that is unconditionally supportive and unconditionally loving, a place is such a cultural mosaic, always teaching me so much about life as I’ve grown over the years.
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“And with this amazing honor, I just want to say that… I feel like I have a new purpose and new goal which is just to encourage all the youth in the city — actually anyone of any age — just to understand what we have; this place is really special, this place called Toronto.”
The rapper called it a “peaceful incredible place” to live and added he looked forward to working with “JT” (John Tory) to “set out on this mission” to unify and take pride in Toronto.
“I will never stop loving this city. I will never stop representing this everywhere I go.”