Certified Lover Boy Album Review

Conner McFarlane, Editor

Certified Lover Boy was released on Sept 3, 2021, and is Toronto rapper Drake’s sixth full length studio album. The release of the album was long awaited as Drake’s last full length album had not been released since 2018. CLB debuted at number one on the Billboards Top 200 charts, and through the first month accumulated 613,000 unit sales, and in the first week totaled 714 million streams.

From a first listen, it was very clear this album was going to be very commercially successful; due to the fact that Drake on this album stuck to what he does best by bringing the listener through his personal journey of love and heartbreak. Drake quite powerfully sets the theme of toxic masculinity and acceptance of truth that ultimately leads to heartbreak. Drake views himself as someone who wants everything, and can’t have it all. While also being the rapper at the top with every single other artist beneath him. He references multiple times throughout the projects that he’s spending too much time worrying about others, and not enough time spent worrying about himself.

 Before getting into the highs of this project, I want to talk about the lows. At the beginning of the album, I really enjoyed the constant beat switches in every song as it changed the pace and brought a different style to each song, but by the time I got about 10 tracks in, the beat switches became very predictable and boring. It seemed as if the song was different in its two parts, and that they should be two entirely different songs. For example, the song “N 2 Deep” (ft. Future), starts off the first two minutes with Drake singing very mellow and without a lot of passion, but then when the beat changes and Future joins in, it feels like a completely new song with new energy, that would’ve been better off being a song by itself. 

Another thing that bothered me listening to this album was that by the time you got to the back half of the album, there just wasn’t enough variety to keep a listener fully engaged. A lot of similar beats and not enough unique flows carried the back end of the album which was disappointing to say the least. 

I also don’t feel like this is really a cohesive project. Yes, a lot of the songs individually are really good, but as a full on project it doesn’t work as well. It just kind of feels like Drake is really comfortable with where he is at compared to the rest of the industry, which causes the album to feel like it has a real lack of inspiration.

But now let’s get into the highs of this project, which in my opinion, outweigh the lows. There are a lot of hits on this album, and I mean a lot. Six out of the first seven songs are tracks that I constantly find myself coming back to. Songs like “In the Bible” (ft Lil Durk and Giveon) and “Fair Trade” (ft. Travis Scott) are both just classic Drake masterpieces with really good flows and features that add another layer to the track. Later in the album, the song “You Only Live Twice” (ft. Rick Ross and Lil Wayne), is just a throwback to 2012 and the three artists all work to outdo each other with each verse. Which results in it being one of the most complete songs on the project. 

Also, the feature performances on this project are super impressive throughout. Many popular artists contributed to Drake’s album. For example, 21 Savage, Lil Baby, Travis Scott, Lil Wayne, Kid Cudin and Rick Ross all brought their best on their respective tracks, and all added elements that enhanced the tracks they were on.