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REVIEW: Certified Lover Boy

(Photo Credit: Creative Commons)

By Amoni Hayes | October 11, 2021

Drake’s long-awaited sixth studio album, “Certified Lover Boy”, is finally here. Though the album was slated to drop in January 2021, the release date was put on hold. Drake had sustained a knee injury in October 2020, and wasn’t able to recover in time for his album release. As artists need to film music videos for their projects for new releases, and with Drake going into surgery, that was not going to be possible.

The rapper pushed the release of the album back almost a year to Sept. 3, 2021, in the midst of his and Kanye West’s rivalry to prove who could drop the best project of the year. West dropped “Donda” a week earlier, blaming Universal for the early release, and selling 309,000 copies in the first week. Drake followed up with a tremendous 613,000 copies sold the first week, including nine out of 10 songs on his album topping the Billboard charts.

Through the first part of the album, the vibe is electric right out of the gate. In “Champagne Poetry,” “Papi’s Home,” and “Love All” featuring JAY-Z, we encounter Drake’s incredible lyricism and delivery. “In the Bible” featuring Lil Durk and Giveon, as well as “Girls Want Girls” featuring Lil Baby, are songs for the ladies, or songs two partners could enjoy vibing out to, which is not out of Drake’s realm. “Girls Want Girls” has become a popular hit early on, but I am not sure if it will last, as it was not a favorite of mine. Drake did not disappoint, from the hook, “Girls want girls where I’m from”, to his melodic outro, “But I know you wanna roll with the gang, and I know you want the finest of things. Askin' me about se— settlin' down 'cause you know that things are going my way.” I feel as if Lil Baby, on the other hand, could have put more effort into it. On Kanye’s song “Hurricane” featuring Lil Baby and The Weekend, Lil Baby put a solid effort in with innovative punchlines into verses such as “Wrote my hardest wrongs, and the crazy part I ain’t have no pen”, and “And she just tried to run off with my heart but I blocked off the exit.” On “Girls Want Girls”, Lil Baby had lines like, “ Ain’t tryna be outta shape well, stay up on them curls then”, and “If gym don’t work, get surgery”. It seems as if the creativity in his verses was not there like it was on Kanye’s song.

Drake came with club bangers and rager tracks with “Way 2 Sexy” featuring Future and Young Thug, and “Fair Trade” featuring Travis Scott. I think “Way 2 Sexy” is the surefire smash hit on this album. The song is already number one in the country and has many social media memes. I also believe that “Fair Trade” is the best track on the first part of the album and the song that potentially has the most longevity. The song’s beat selection and tempo switch ups make it a complete track. Travis Scott’s flow and cadence shine through especially in his verse stating, “At the crib all by myself this s*** be caving in, scrollin’ through my call log by emojis, how I’m saving them, Del Mar that’s the beach where my h* was but I favorite them.” It makes me want to jump out of my chair and throw something!

The highly anticipated song “TSU” is a year-old leak originally known as “Not Around”. The song is the same as the leak, but was presented with a beat and tempo switch up three quarters through which evened out the song well. My favorite track on the album is “N 2 Deep” featuring Future. The song gives you two vibes in one. Drake goes in with his normal slow melodic flow until it switches to more of a hype club banger with his chorus and Future’s verse that complete the song. “Pipe Down” fills up the same slow song, with the feeling of lusting over a significant other. “Yebba’s Heartbreak” is a heartfelt song over piano keys with Yebba singing throughout the entire song. Although the singing was amazing, I would like the track more if Drake had a verse, due to that this was not a favorite of mine either.

“No Friends In The Industry” showcases the more lyrical bar for bar style Drake has been known for in past years. “See, when I was young angel but these n***** turned me evil”. “7am on Bridle Path” follows the same style as “No Friends In The Industry”, but at a slower tempo. “Don't move like a p***, could at least keep it a buck like Antetokounmpo, I made north of the border like Vito Rizzuto”. “Knife Talk” featuring Project Pat and 21 Savage is more of a grimey, in-your-face song that would get a lot of listeners pumped up! An example of this is the intro opening with Project Pat’s verse,”I gotta feed the streets, my pistol gon’ bleed the streets.”

In the final part of Certified Lover Boy, a lot of the tracks begin to seem repetitive. “Get Along Better” featuring Ty Dolla $ign, “Race My Mind”, and “F****** Fans” follow that same slow melodic romantic theme. Drake as always does what he is known for with the catchy hooks and melodies that attract listeners, and the melodic flows of Ty Dolla $ign pull off an amazing track. I believe it has the potential to be one of those tracks we will always remember from Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy”.

“Fountains” featuring Tems, “IMY2” featuring Kid Cudi, and “The Remorse” all have different vibes from the slow melody which is a nice break from the repetitiveness. “Fountains” is a dancehall track that portrays a huge similarity of “One Dance” on “Views” from the beat to Drake's flow. “IMY2” with Kid Cudi which is another one of my favorite tracks on the album is more of a celebratory song, a sense of accomplishment and progression all in one song which can be seen in Kid Cudi’s opening verse, “Made another way my n**** watch me fly by. When I close my eyes my world comes alive. People grow, good times sometimes.” Finally, “The Remorse” is a track where Drake is on his full on rapping giving props to himself, his team, and his day ones for the hard work and dedication they have put in over the years.

Once again Drake has delivered another exceptional body of work with “Certified Lover Boy”, and though a few of the songs might be repetitive in theme, the quality does not lack. I give the album a letter grade of an A.


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