Review: Drake hints at what’s to come on ‘Certified Lover Boy’

The 21-track project boasts a star-studded, wide-ranging feature list

Drake Twitter | Photo Courtesy
The album art quickly became a meme within minutes of its announcement.

After several single packs, demo tapes, re-releases and hit features, Drake is back with his first full-length album since 2018’s ‘Scorpion’ with the hotly anticipated ‘Certified Lover Boy’.

‘Certified Lover Boy’ was originally announced in the fall of 2020, with a video teaser and release date of Jan. 2021. However after a series of release days, a fight against COVID-19 and a blown-out knee, the album was delayed a full nine months.

While this could have very well been a coincidence, every woman on Drake’s love-themed album looks like they grew children right alongside the growth of the album. Other speculated reasons for the LP’s delay include the touring restrictions during the pandemic, as well as the fear of releasing alongside other titans in the rap industry, such as Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole.

Right from the start of the album, the listener is thrown into the world of Drake. He brings back a sound that hasn’t been heard in years with the project opener “Champagne Poetry”, which flips the timely classic “Navajo” by Masego, which was sampled in “Michelle” by The Beatles in 1965.

While most will take this as a careless flip of a light song, it’s nearly too much of a coincidence that The Beatles are used in the project after Drake’s infamous line from Meek Mill’s “Going Bad”, “ Back home, smokin’ legal, I got more slaps than The Beatles.”

Coming off of a memorable introductory track, Drake keeps the momentum going with plenty of his trademark crooning and occasional clever bars. While Drake may have put out some of his best verses in the last three years on the project, it doesn’t speak volumes when compared to the features he assembled for the album.

Across ‘Certified Lover Boy’, a wide range of rising artists including Lil Baby, 21 Savage, Giveon and Lil Durk bring some of their best verses in their career. While he may be swaying towards the younger artists to stay connected to the industry after 12 years, he didn’t forget to include some of the more seasoned veterans such as Jay-Z, Kid Cudi, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne.

Standout tracks include “Girls Want Girls”, “Way 2 Sexy”, “Fair Trade” and “Knife Talk”. While these are certainly getting replay value, it’s left to the listener to decide whether it’s Drake’s performance or the features that carried the songs, as all of the aforementioned tracks feature big-time artists.

While some songs hold replay value across the LP, it’s far from his most cohesive or best album. When listening in-depth, it sounds as if Drake was forced to release a project since it’s been so long, but was hesitant as he’s still unable to properly follow through with his vision of a grand, worldwide stadium tour.

It would be very shocking if Drake didn’t release another album within the next year that sounds much newer when the world is ready for large-scale tours again without the worry of the pandemic.

While the new project may not be his magnum opus, ‘Certified Lover Boy’ has a few certified gems hidden up its sleeve. It may not be his best, but it goes without saying that the “Drake effect” allows almost anything he releases to demolish the charts with massive success based on his name alone.

It may not be too long before yet another album from Drake sees the light of day, but this one will certainly hold fans over through the calm before the storm.

Review: 3.5/5

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