Review: Certified Lover Boy by Drake

Drake season is officially upon us and last Friday the Toronto born rapper released his 6th studio album. Although there have been mixed reviews amongst his fans.

The project titled ‘Certified Lover Boy’ was announced back in February of 2019 and after a few delays, Drake fans have finally got their hands on the highly anticipated project. Drake’s previous album – Dark Lane Demo Tapes – saw him take a different approach to his music. Tracks like ‘Chicago Freestyle’ spring to mind as he showed of his vocal capabilities alongside Giveon. Like most Drake albums, Dark Lane Demo Tapes did extremely well in terms of sales, reaching 223 thousand in its first week. However, fans have called out Drake over the past couple of years, claiming that he has lost the true meaning behind his music and has instead opted for a more commercial approach when putting together a project. ‘Certified Lover Boy’ was supposed to break this stigma and bring us back to the Drake that everyone fell in love with, but instead may have pushed that further away. 

I first listened to the album with mounting anticipation, expecting amazing beats and some great vocals from a star-studded track list. The likes of Lil Baby, Jay-Z, Future and 21 Savage were all signposts for another classic album from Drake. However, the lack of enthusiasm and any real attempt at making good music creates a bland listening experience and one which I did not enjoy. The start of the album is so lacklustre, and any real hard-hitting bars are drowned out by mediocre beats and poor flow. For me, the first track of an album has to be one which excites the listener and encourages them to keep listening. ‘Champagne Poetry’ was quite simply one of the worst examples of this and sets up the album to flop before it even began. As I continued to listen through the album, I was picking up on what I thought was the idea behind this project as Drake attempted to combine his many different styles. His hard-hitting rap bars that were prominent in his early days, mixed with his newfound singing voice created a disconnected album that had no real outline or purpose. There was no story behind the songs or lyrics so listeners couldn’t connect or relate with what was being said and again highlighted the commercial drive behind the LP. However, despite all the criticism I did enjoy a couple of the tracks. From ‘TSU’ to ‘Pipe Down’ I felt as if I was listening to the old Drake and couldn’t help but bop my head along with the solid beats and continuous flows. There were also a couple of really nice beat switch ups which many might call a dead trend but for me they worked really well on the tracks. 

The feature list on a Drake album was always going to be something special and ‘Certified Lover Boy’ was no exception. With the huge names in the rap industry all joining in on the album it was set to be glorious. As well as this, Drake and his team paid for billboards all across the country that teased the guests on his upcoming project which added a whole other level to the excitement. However, much like the album, the features were a let-down. While some of the artists included upheld their reputation, the majority didn’t show off their true potential and perhaps were a big reason behind the failure of this album. For example, Lil Baby provided a 10/10 verse on ‘Wants and Needs’ with Drake earlier in the year yet on this album I forgot he was even included. The same could be said for the rest who also failed to stand out from the sub-par beats. 

Certified Lover Boy is an album that Drake and his fans will want to forget existed. It doesn’t truly show how amazing Drake is at what he does and is a true embodiment of how money has taken over the rap industry. If Drake had picked one genre of rap to focus on, I think the album would have done a lot better. Perhaps if he had gone back to his rapping days that we saw glimpses of earlier in the year the album would have been one of his best. But until he figures out how he can find his old flow and unique bars, he will be stuck making mediocre and forgettable albums for the foreseeable future. 

Overall I would give this album a 4/10.

Written by Joe Bell

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