Canadian rapper, singer, and 6 god – Drake returns with his sixth full-length album Certified Lover Boy. The album comes in the midst of an ongoing beef with fellow rapper Kanye West, who recently released his album Donda to generally positive critical reception. The record is an hour and a half long, comprised of 21 tracks that vary wildly in quality and effort by Drake.
“Champagne Poetry,” the album’s opener, is one of the strongest tracks on the album, with Drake flowing a nice level of swagger across a great sample. “Papi’s Home” is another solid cut, with Drake embracing his fatherhood over a soul beat. After these songs however, the quality of bars and beats Drake shows on this album drop tremendously.
“Girls Like Girls” is one of the worst concepts for a song Drake has rapped on in years. Unlike maybe the most boring Drake hit of his discography, “Tootsie Slide,” where its boredom is its main cause of pain to the listener, “Girls Like Girls” is just cringy. Lil Baby raps as if they’re his last bars on earth, but Drake just sounds like he doesn’t even care on this track. The lyrics “Said you were a lesbian / girl me too” just makes one’s skin crawl.
Somehow it seems as if most of the interesting parts of this record have already been discussed. Jay-Z provides a solid feature on “Love All.” Travis Scott and Drake have a solid track with “Fair Trade,” though granted, it’s not as exciting as what the duo has released in the past. “Way 2 Sexy” is practically a meme track, with Future and Young Thug both having more exciting verses than Drake himself. However, the Kawhi Leonard feature in the music video is pretty entertaining.
“Pipe Down” is one of those classic Drake cuts you listen to when your girl has just cheated on you, and serves its purpose fine. Hardly would it be a standout on a better Drake album, but here it just sounds like Drake trying to emulate the songs he made on projects like Take Care.
“You Only Live Twice” is probably the best track on the album. Drake finally comes through with some strong energy, and Rick Ross provides an excellent and tight feature. The beat is also one of the most entertaining and solid on the whole record.
Certified Lover Boy feels like a low effort album. Compared to some of the songs Drake has produced in recent years, “Wants and Needs,” and “Nice for What” as examples, most of the songs on this record have such little energy and effort to make them interesting. Everyone benefits when Drake is releasing bangers, but most of these songs will appeal to his diehard fans and not many others. Certified Lover Boy will likely be forgotten relatively quickly, not unlike previous projects like Views.