What a finale: Drake drops by FIU Hospitality class just hours before release of new album

Students give A+ to hospitality course

“What’s up everybody? How you doing? Good evening,” said Grammy-award-winning rapper, singer and actor Drake, as he leisurely strolled into class at FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management — hours before he and 21 Savage released their new, 16-track album, Her Loss.

“I think it’s still amazing that at 8:30 at night, you’re all still sitting here and trying to learn something and trying to elevate yourselves,” he added as he was welcomed by stunned students.

The surprise appearance wraps up a five-week hospitality course open to all FIU students, The David Grutman Experience: The Class, where the Miami hospitality entrepreneur and founder of Groot Hospitality brings real-life lessons to life.

During a Q&A session, Drake talked about everything from his career to his family to social media and shared insights into how he finished up his album in the studio hours before class.

The artist, born Aubrey Drake Graham, told the class of 400 students: “Exploration as an artist…really just…boils down to confidence. I think you have to find the balance between doing what you know works for you and what you know people love you for, but also giving yourself a shock, waking yourself up because it can become very formulaic.”

From left: Drake and David Grutman

The question-and-answer sessions have been a hit all semester. For five weeks this fall, Grutman shared his origin story, while bringing along entrepreneurs, who just happen to be A-list celebrities, like fashion and beauty icon and former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, Grammy Award-winning artists DJ Khaled and Black Coffee, the founder of delivery service GoPuff Rafael Ilishayev, and millennial Youtube sensations and now entrepreneurs, NelkBoys.

Just before Drake took the stage, business partner David Einhorn of Papi Steak, in which Drake is an investor, also took the stage. Grutman’s entire team, from the “mood director” at LIV to his publicist, have shared their best lifehacks and lessons.

“We wanted to create a course where students can identify with the professor, get real-life advice for becoming entrepreneurs, and see themselves following in that person’s footsteps. The David Grutman Experience: The Class is all that and more,” said Michael Cheng, dean of the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management.

Grutman’s Groot Hospitality is behind the successful nightclub LIV at Fontainebleau, half a dozen restaurants—including Komodo, Swan and Gekko—The Goodtime Hotel, and, soon to come, a resort in the Bahamas.

This is the third time Grutman has taught the course.

One of Grutman’s best pieces of advice, besides building relationships (which is how he got Drake to class) includes, “Execute. Once you execute that vision, that vision becomes a reality and once people see that reality there, they want to keep doing it.”


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