Before Canada’s “baddest bad boy” (sorry, Dan Aykroyd) transcended from Degrassi star to rap MC, there was Eamon. Like Drake (real name: Aubrey Drake Graham), Eamon is a mononym for a much less edgy rap name: Eamon Jonathan Doyle. Eamon and Drake both hail from the relatively non-threatening areas of Staten Island and Toronto, respectively. Yet, in spite of this, they act in a manner that is intended to lead one to think that they’ve lived rough lives and, therefore, deserve the same street cred as your Jay-Z and 50 Cent types.
Not to say that there’s anything wrong with not being from a poverty-stricken background plagued by gunshot ambience, but there is something amiss with pretending as though that is the environment you hail from. In any case, while many like to imagine Drake is the first sensitive hip hop artist with a chip on his shoulder, it was really Eamon, with his 2003 hit “Fuck It (I Don’t Want You Back),” who branded this identity.
With pained lyrics expressing the angered hurt over being cheated on, yet still desperately wanting to be with the object of his affection, Eamon practically tailor-made Drake’s image for him. As Eamon’s career waned (perhaps actually opening for Britney Spears on her Hotel Onyx Tour would have helped, but alas, she injured her leg during the filming of “Outrageous” and had to cancel it), Drake’s began to pick up, with his first EP release, Room For Improvement, in 2006. This was, incidentally, the year of Eamon’s last album, Love & Pain.
With his sophomore album, Take Care, in 2011, Drake surpassed Eamon as the master of perfecting the art of being the jilted Mr. Sensitive. Songs like “Marvins Room” accented the softly rough-hewn snuggliness of his persona. And while neither man is particularly attractive, Drake’s well-groomed appearance and meticulously straight hairline is possibly what made him stand apart from Eamon’s Lugz look. Plus, Eamon got majorly fucked over in a record deal with SMC Entertainment. But at least he can take comfort in the fact that he wouldn’t have been a little bitch about kissing Madonna.