Drake publicly called out a few retailers who were trying to make profit off of the term YOLO, which was made highly public by Drake using it in his past songs. However, despite the fact that Drake may have been the one to make YOLO an internationally used and highly popular term, he wasn’t the originator of the phrase. The New York Post addressed the matter and provided dates in which YOLO has appeared throughout history, dating back to the 1700’s.
They gave examples of clothing companies from the 90’s, the 1937 movie You Only Live Once which starred Henry Fonda and a story published in The Lady’s Magazine and Museum urging readers to behave cautiously to avoid contracting a deadly disease as examples as well as artificial sun tanning, sportswear, and driver safety pamphlets, among others.
But the acronym and the meaning behind it actually has a long history before the ’90s, dating all the way back to the 1700s, meaning no one alive today can claim the blame credit for it.