Certified Lover Boy might be Drake’s most unambitious release yet
There are only a few artists in this world that, whatever your age is, you know about them. Artists that with a single release, can command the attention of the public. Drake is one of them. Everytime he drops a project, it’s a cultural event. Everybody listens to the record and it always breaks records. No matter how good or bad the album is, everyone is talking about it.
Certified Lover Boy opens strong with “Champagne Poetry,” where a laid back and introspective Drake raps over a well integrated sample of “Michelle” by The Beatles. Following the opener, the album struggles to find a pulse with multiple unoriginal and uninspired songs in a row. The third track, “Girls Want Girls,” might be one of Drake’s worst songs to date. One of the worst bars of the track sees him, in poor choice, saying, “Say that you a lesbian, girl, me too,” over one of the most generic and lifeless instrumentals Drake could have ever chosen to rap on.
Another track that drags Certified Lover Boy down is “Way 2 Sexy.” The song, featuring Future and Young Thug, is a horrible rendition of Right Said Fred’s song, “I’m Too Sexy” (which is also not a great song). From this point on, the record doesn’t really try to redeem itself. It continues to be as boring and uneventful as the first few tracks.
Part of what disappoints in Certified Lover Boy is hearing Drake be consistently outshined by his features on songs like “In The Bible,” “Love All,” and “Fountains.” The most obvious example is “IMY2,” a track that sees Drake hosting Kid Cudi, and one that feels forced onto the tracklist considering the nonexistent chemistry between the two artists. All of these have the recurring theme of Drake underperforming while the featured artist tries to save the song — but it’s too late.
There are a few highlights on this bloated tracklist. “Fair Trade,” which contains the most infectious chorus of the record, “Knife Talk,” “You Only Live Twice” and the aggressive “No Friends In The Industry” are all shining moments. They are gems in their own right as they redeem the album a bit, but by this point, the damage is done.
The biggest issue with Certified Lover Boy is that it completely lacks ambition. Many of the songs shouldn’t have made the final cut in the first place. Since Scorpion in 2018, Drake has not stepped out of his comfort zone. He has been delivering the same formula for more than three years now. You could take any song on Certified Lover Boy and put it on either Scorpion or Dark Lane Demo Tapes and the song wouldn’t feel out of place at all.
Certified Lover Boy’s 21 songs and an hour and a half run time is too much for it to be so poor in quality. If this is what new Drake looks like, then we have certainly witnessed the end of his prime. If he keeps dropping albums as mediocre as this one, we can’t expect to keep the rapper at the top of the game with countless other artists putting out quality projects.
Trial track: “You Only Live Twice”