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Drake’s face on a plane

Virgin America Airlines names plane after Toronto rapper Aubrey "Drake" Graham

Jul 01, 2010

Just two weeks after his debut record, 'Thank Me Later,' topped the charts in both the US and Canada (it sold over 500,000 copies in the States alone) Toronto rapper Aubrey "Drake" Graham has become the first hip-hop artist to have a commercial airplane named after him, cementing his newly minted role as international star and Canadian ambassador.
Air Drake, as the newest plane in the Virgin America fleet is called, is also the airline's first international aircraft, providing flights between Toronto and sunny California destinations San Francisco and Los Angeles.

"It's breathtaking to stand out here and stare at this plane," Drake told Spinner shortly after arriving in Toronto with Virgin Group chairman Sir Richard Branson on the plane's inaugural flight. "It's phenomenal."

"We're honoured to name our plane Air Drake," echoed Branson. "He's Canadian through and through; he's one of the most successful Canadians. He bridges the gap between Canada and America very successfully."

Taking off from Los Angles at 5.30AM and arriving in Toronto nearly 11 hours later -- via a pit stop in San Francisco that featured an early morning press conference with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger -- the plane ride provided the Young Money star an opportunity to seek business advice from the Rebel Billionaire whose fortune is currently estimated at just under $4 billion US.

"He wanted advice on running companies." Branson recalled. "I said the key is finding great people, not trying to do everything yourself -- learning the art of delegation, not second guessing people."

"He told me I'm making the right moves," Drake elaborated, "doing [good] things for my city, being able to create jobs in the city. I'm on the right path."

Though Drake's relationship with his hometown has been tumultuous since he admitted to the New York Times that he felt "unsafe in Toronto at all times," the former 'Degrassi: The Next Generation' star claims he is still proud to represent both Canada and Toronto on the world stage.

"I'm honoured to be called a representative and ambassador; however people want to chalk it up," he said. "I don't go to the States and go to Europe and forget where I'm from. I say every night at the end of my shows 'I'm just a 23-year-old kid from Toronto Canada,' so I appreciate the love.

"I'm just honoured that my city loves me at all 'cause I love this city so much," he added. "I remember walking around [suburban Toronto Mall] Yorkdale with my friends saying, 'One day we're gonna do it' and [now] we're doing it."

It's hard to argue with a man whose face is on the side of a plane.

Virgin America Airlines names plane after Toronto rapper Aubrey "Drake" Graham
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