The last time we heard from Drake, officially, studio album wise, was 2018 with Scorpion. The headlines from that album centered around Drake admitting to fathering a son, which he had been previously called out for by Pusha T. The news took away from much of the musical focus of the album.
Post Scorpion we saw Drake go on to release his Dark Lane Demo Tapes, and Scary Hours 2 EP as well as a slew of singles all originally slated to be on the next official album, including "Laugh Now Cry Later" featuring Lil Durk.
Fast forward to today and Drake is embracing, and making light of the baby-making drama on Certified Lover Boy. For starters, the album cover art, designed by Damien Hirst, features 12 pregnant woman emojis.
He gets right to the point on the second track with a spoken word feature from Nicki Minaj who demands child support jokingly.
Certified Lover Boy sees Drake deliver us 21 tracks spanning 90 minutes. It features an array of artists including JAY-Z, Future, Travis Scott, Lil Wayne, Young Thug, 21 Savage, Ty Dolla $ign, Kid Cudi, Rick Ross, Lil Baby, and Project Pat. All of whom were hinted at in a series of billboards that sprang up this week throughout the globe in each artist's hometown.
Production on the album includes Noah “40” Shebib (of course), Oliver El-Khatib, Metro Boomin, PARTYNEXTDOOR (who is also featured on “Fucking Fans”), TM88, OG Ron C, Vinylz, and Nineteen85.
It's exactly what you would have wagered on a new Drake album being. Emo yet braggadocious as fuck. Drake goes to great lengths to tell us yet again why he's one the best to ever do it, but that we should still pity him.
The album starts off with a BANG on "Champagne Poetry", which highlights a chopped, uptempo sample of "Michelle" by The Beatles and credits John Lennon and Paul McCartney as co-writers. NBD.
"You Only Live Twice", the liveliest song with its clattering beats and rowdy verses from Rick Ross and Lil Wayne, sees Drake rapping: “Not sure if you know but I’m actually Michael Jackson.”
“Love All” opens with a sample from Notorious B.I.G.’s “Life After Death Intro” and features Jay-Z, proving those who guessed who this NYC billboard predicted alluded to either of the rappers correct.
“Way 2 Sexy” samples and reworks the Right Said Fred smash “I’m Too Sexy.”
The embattled R. Kelly is credited as a composer/lyricist as well as Justin Timberlake and Timbaland on “TSU” which finds Drake offering a stripper a generous business loan
Jay-Z has an additional credit on “N 2 Deep,”
and Charlotte Day Wilson is credited on “Fair Trade.”
Twitter has been buzzing with #Ayesha due to Drake dropping the name on the track “Race My Mind,” with everybody assuming Drake had shouted out Steph Curry’s wife. Steph didn't seem upset about it; he gave Drake a personal congrats for the album release.
In the footnotes Drake also went to great length to dedicate the album to the late Nadia Ntuli and Mercedes Morr, noting that the sixth full-length studio album is dedicated to them both.
For those looking for the Kanye smoke, they'll find it on "No Friends in the Industry" where Drake takes aim at his perceived enemies. Those who have followed the ins and outs the Drake v. Kanye fued forensically will spot the veiled shots at Kanye.
The standout tracks (for me, so far) are "Knife Talk" featuring 21 Savage and the incomparable Project Pat.
And “You Only Live Twice” featuring Weezy and Rick Ross.
All these three do is make certified bangers together. Every. Damn. Time.
As much as I enjoyed and respected the production quality of Donda, this album blows it out of the water. Kanye's work is a masterpiece in craftsmanship, and is sonically unlike anything we’ve heard in a long, long time. But Drake's newest offering is lyrically (and commercially) superior. You'll be playing, and hearing, Certified Lover Boy a lot longer than Donda. Chalk up yet another W for Drake.
Certified Lover Boy
01 Champagne Poetry
02 Papi’s Home
03 Girls Want Girls [ft. Lil Baby]
04 In the Bible [ft. Lil Durk & Giveon]
05 Love All [ft. JAY-Z]
06 Fair Trade [ft. Travis Scott]
07 Way 2 Sexy [ft. Future & Young Thug]
09 N 2 Deep [ft. Future]
10 Pipe Down
11 Yebba’s Heartbreak
12 No Friends in the Industry
13 Knife Talk [ft. 21 Savage & Project Pat]
14 7am on Bridle Path
15 Race My Mind
16 Fountains [ft. Tems]
17 Get Along Better [ft. Ty Dolla $ign]
18 You Only Live Twice [ft. Rick Ross & Lil Wayne]
19 IMY2 [ft. Kid Cudi]
20 Fucking Fans
21 The Remorse