Rappers have a reputation for unabashed opulence. Remember 50 Cent’s outrageous Connecticut mansion or MC Hammer’s airport hangar-sized house in Fremont, California? Things didn’t work out too well for either of them. But Canadian rapper Drake, whose net worth is estimated at $170 million, is in a much better financial position than his big spending predecessors. And he’d better be. His new lair in Toronto’s prestigious Bridle Path neighborhood, first featured in the pages of Architectural Digest, is worthy of the most profligate billionaire or James Bond villain. The monster manor’s 50,000 sq. ft. footprint is matched only by the extravagance of its furnishings.
Aptly dubbed the Embassy, the home was done up by Canadian interior designer Ferris Rafauli, who assembled a majestic medley of bespoke materials: limestone, exotic woods, bronze and marble. With the craftsmanship to match, casa Drake is more an homage than a home — but if pressed, the place is best-described as a contemporary twist on Beaux-Arts architecture meets a modern Art Deco. “Because I was building it in my hometown, I wanted the structure to stand firm for 100 years,” Drake told Architectural Digest. ”I wanted it to have a monumental scale and feel. It will be one of the things I leave behind, so it had to be timeless and strong.”
Rafauli, whose namesake firm is based in Ontario, commented, “In form, materials and execution, the structure is a proper 19th-century limestone mansion. But the exterior profiles are more minimal and the lines are a bit cleaner.” Or, as Drake more succinctly put it, the place is “overwhelming high luxury.”
The two-acre property was purchased in 2015 for about $6.7 million and custom-built from the ground up. The epic great room, with its 44-foot-high ceiling, boasts a remake of Lobmeyr’s iconic Metropolitan chandelier — originally designed by Hans Harald Rath for the Viennese maker in 1963. Comprising 20,000 pieces of hand-cut Swarovski crystal, the stunning sculpture is the second largest of its kind in the world. The blinding, canary yellow lounge has already been featured in a few of Drake’s videos. There’s so much architectural distraction in that room alone — the backlit hexagonal faux suede ceiling panels and Venini glass sunburst chandelier, for starters — that the flamboyantly extravagant rapper faces being upstaged by his own palace.
The 3,200 sq. ft. master suite is bigger than most people’s homes, and is furnished with a bed and baseboard that together weigh about a ton, quite literally, and very likely cost more than a new S-Class Mercedes. Additionally, the 4,000-pound tub in the master bath was carved from a single block of black marble, and the two-story closet is adorned with amethyst hardware, rock crystal and seating upholstered in diamond-tufted shearling with polished nickel studs. Further amenities include a full-size NBA basketball court capped with a 21-square foot pyramidal skylight, a black granite-sheathed swimming pool and a swanky recording studio lounge styled like a nightclub.
It’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the sheer opulence of it all. Yes, Drake is rich and can afford it. But is it all really necessary? Unsurprisingly, Drake feels it is. “I think the house shows that I have true faith in myself to take on this task when I was just 27 and see it through,” the now 33-year-old said. “I also think the house says that I will forever remain solid in the place I was born.” Good to know. Because, if he decided to sell, he’d probably discover his decadent domicile might take a while to find a buyer with deep enough pockets to buy it.
Quite possibly Drake plans to spend the freezing Toronto winters away from his brand-new pleasure palace. While it was being built, he was also busy assembling a multi-residence compound in the celeb-packed Hidden Hills section of Los Angeles, where it’s almost always sunny. His buying spree started in 2012 with a $7.7 million splurge on a roughly 12,500 sq. ft. mansion and continued in 2015 with the relatively modest buy of an adjacent property — $2.85 million for a nearly 4,500 sq. ft., ranch-style home. In 2018, he paid another $4.5 million for a third contiguous property —this one with a not quite 2,500 sq. ft. ranch house. Whether he uses them as homes for his family or his entourage is hard to say. What is certain is that Drake’s lucky realtors and contractors probably own pretty nice houses of their own.