To cap off summer 2021, Drake has released his highly anticipated album "Certified Lover Boy." Rumors have been circulating since early 2019 about the release and Drake, himself, has teased the album since early 2020, leading him to post a teaser trailer for the album in October 2020. The trailer features references to Drake’s previous albums and mixtapes while announcing a release date of January 2021.
Drake delayed the album due to a leg injury. With more delays and editing, we now have the final version of the album. After all this hype, how does the actual album sound? Pretty good. Drake doesn’t disappoint and crafts a top-tier album. The best aspects of this album have to be the clever lyrics, its phenomenal features and Drake’s skillful vocal and rapping capabilities.
Fans typically joke that when Drake releases a new album everyone finds their Instagram captions for the next few months. Drizzy did it again. Starting from the intro track “Champagne Poetry,” Drake delivers memorable lyrics, such as, “And if money's all I need in my grave, then bury me now” and “My soulmate is somewhere out in the world just waiting on me.” The beat utilizing Masego’s “Navajo” is the cherry on top.
The quotable lyrics aren’t just on “Champagne Poetry.” Tracks like “Fair Trade ft. Travis Scott” and “No Friends In The Industry” have great lines. One of the best tracks on the album “Way 2 Sexy” also has to be mentioned in this conversation. The collaboration with Future and Drake features an amazing sample of “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred.
The chorus alone makes it one of the best songs of the year — “I'm too sexy for this syrup /
Too sexy for your girl / Too sexy for this world / Too sexy for this ice.” Drake and Thugger also glide on the beat delivering their best work. “Way 2 Sexy” is the perfect hype song when going out to party with friends.
Speaking of Young Thug and Future, "Certified Lover Boy" features numerous great features with the best of the best. The album contains a phenomenal collection of artists, from living legends Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross and Kid Cudi, to up-and-comers Lil Durk, GIVĒON, Yebba and Tems. Everyone brings their A-game.
On “You Only Live Twice” Drake, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross add to their collection of amazing collaborations. This song is a sequel to the infamous “The Motto” from Drake’s 2011 masterpiece “Take Care,” which popularized the phrase YOLO — you only live once. This new track features a hard-hitting beat that excellently samples “Can’t Get You Off Of My Mind” by The Brothers of Souls. Drake, Ross and Wayne trade bars on this smooth track.
Not only is the lyrical and production quality of this album great, but Drake has also improved on his vocal quality compared to some of his last few projects. The 6 God has always been known as the rapper and the singer. Some fans like both — some only enjoy one or the other. That can be disputed. What can’t be argued is the fact that Drake is not always the best singer — sometimes he’s off-key or he’s straining his voice. His questionable singing can be heard on tracks like “Fake Love,” “U Wit Me?” and “Peak.”
However, on "Certified Lover Boy" Drake’s singing voice is pretty good throughout the album, especially soaring when he expresses the more emotional side of himself. Some of Drake’s best singing is on “Fountains,” (feat. Tems) “TSU” and “Love All” (feat. Jay-Z). “Fountains” is that perfect track made for dancing late at night with your boo. Tems and Drake pair very well together. The duet between the two is reminiscent of the musical banter on some of Drake’s best tracks with Rihanna — “Take Care” and “Too Good.” TSU was a leaked track that has been around the internet for a long time and it fully meets expectations. Drake effortlessly floats on the suave beat about another mystery woman in his life. On “Love All” (feat. Jay-Z) fans can hear the best Jay-Z and Drake collab since “Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2.”
Even though this album has a lot going for it, it isn’t perfect. Some tracks either have corny lyrics or simply sound awkward, including “Girls Want Girls,” (feat. Lil Baby) “Papi’s Home” and “Race My Mind.” The emotional moments are there but they don’t reach the peaks of previous Drake tracks like “Marvin’s Room,” “Passionfruit” and “Feel No Ways.”
Also, this album is definitely a sausage fest. The only female contribution being some background vocals by Nicki Minaj and Tems’ excellent feature on “Fountains.” That’s unfortunate — especially for Drake who creates amazing music with female artists. Past collaborations with Beyoncé, Rihanna, Summer Walker and Jhene Aiko are some of the highlights of Drake’s career. He could have even collaborated with female artists that he has inspired like Kehlani, SZA or Kali Uchis.
The lack of a female perspective is what stunts some of the more emotional moments on the album. Oftentimes Drake seems like he is speaking into the void due to the lack of a female presence on a song about a woman. Or he’s awkwardly reflecting on a woman — while another guy is reflecting on a different woman — which translates as a bit strange. Having more variety in the features list would have definitely made the album better. It’s so sad because fans can hear the potential of a great Drake, female artist collaboration on “Fountains.”
Drake strikes gold again with his new album that has homages to much of his older stuff — but still brings attributes that are new. Drake fans should definitely give this album a listen and even those who are not should give it a try. They might find something that’ll make them a certified Drake fan.