On Friday, September 3rd, Drake released his sixth studio album, Certifed Lover Boy. In a week where the Toronto superstar is going head to head with rival Kanye West, you would think Drizzy would bring more effort to one of if not the most hyped-up album of the entire year. Through 21 tracks, which add up to a tedious hour and a half of running time, Drake shows off some of the most boring and uninspired material of his entire career.
From a topical standpoint, Clb lacks any sort of direction or meaning. During the LP’s duration, it’s a surprise if Drake isn’t loathing in his success. While bragging about all you have achieved isn’t always a bad thing, hearing Drake gas himself up through thoughtless bars and sleepy singing for like the seventh straight project makes it seem like he’s lost the ability to talk about anything else. Adding insult to injury, the lack of a memorable soundscape and vocal showings make this weak writing appear more fragile than it already is. The only time Drake ever feels inspired to talk about anything of signgifnagce is when it’s regarding Kanye or any of the issues his camp has caused him. The constant assurance that Drake’s a good father makes it look like Pusha T’s disses still have an impact even three years later, and with moments like “7Am On Bridle Path” taking full focus on the Kanye situation, we see Drake rapping in one of the fiercest demeanors we’ve seen from him since 2015s If Your Reading This Its Too Late. When rapping with this same passion, the 34-year-old puts together some standout moments, including the jaded “Champange Poetry” and menacing “Knife Talk,” which features 21 Savage and Three 6 Mafia’s Project Pat. Keeping this same fire, the wartorn “No Friends In The Industry” shows off the most ruthless and cold-hearted form of Drake on the entire record, but it’s hard to grasp the message of the track due to the 15 big-name industry features contradicting the whole point of the song.
With 12 of the 21 songs having at least one featured artist, Drake looks to the star power of names ranging from Future to Kid Cudi to bail out his mediocre performances. The track “Girls Want Girls” best sums up how poor Drake does on this record. From picking an intuitive instrumental to writing a good hook, the 6 God seems as he can’t do anything right and the cuts only saving grace comes in the form of a Lil Baby verse. This is far from the only time this happens as everyone Lil Durk and Givēon on “In The Bible” to Jay-Z on “Love All” serve as the only forms of life on their respective tracks. While on some of the previously stated cuts, at least Drake just sounds painfully mediocre because in a song like the serenading R&B anthem of “Get Along Better” with Ty Dolla $ign, Drake’s singing is some of the most clunky and derailing I’ve heard from him in his entire career. One of the best songs on the entire album is “Yeeba’s Heartbreak,” which is good because Drake hops off the track and allows singer Yeeba to paint a tear-jerking portrait of heartbreak and loneliness through her godsent vocals. When it comes to Clb’s defining bangers, Drake at least offers some sort of presence and allows names like Travis Scott on “Fair Trade” and Future and Young Thug on “Way 2 Sexy” to turn these solid foundations into the genres next chart-topping bangers. Out of all these star-studded crossovers, “You Only Live Twice” was the definite standout between its chemistry and ideas triumph and victory, which feel so powerful due to the charismatic verses from Drake, Lil Wayne, and Rick Ross. While Drake sells himself short with these collaborations, it’s the presence of these guests that keep this album from becoming a complete disaster.
Overall, Certifed Lover Boy is just an uninspired record that embodies everything wrong with mainstream hip hop in this day and age. Even with each new album he drops being received worst than the last, Drake takes his biggest leap back yet as any remaining hints of his signature energy, charisma, and most importantly, hitmaking ability are nowhere to be found. No matter how mediocre the overall experience may be, you could always expect at least a few amazing bangers from Drizzy, but here, even those are absent, and the leading singles off this album are average at best. While this experience is far from the worst offering hip hop has given us this year, this is easily Drake’s worst album, and any hopes for a full-fledged return to form have passed.
- Great features
- When Drake’s actually rapping, he sounds great
- Solid collaborations
Why Isn’t It Rated Higher?
- Embodies the worst parts of Drake’s last records
- Drake gets bodied by almost all his features
- Tedious running time
- Should have been cut down to 10-12 songs
Written By: Mr. Fantastic