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Certified Lover Boy

by Drake

Released September 3, 2021 via OVO Sound / Republic Records

Reviewed September 13, 2021

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Champagne Poetry (49%), You Only Live Twice (38%), Fair Trade (30%)

Drake is at a stage in his career where he can phone it in and sell 500K on a good day; this is no different on Certified Lover Boy, and it is a sentiment that’s evident from the first track. Thankfully, the album picks up and eventually becomes a solid effort overall. There are lyrics scattered on this record that are more than questionable, but the good (most notably “No Friends,” “7 AM...,” “YOL2”) outweighs the bad. The production and Drake’s overall performance are solid––despite a large variety of routes he explores––and the album manages to maintain an overall vibe effectively. But for the first album from Drake in three years, it’s not as good as many expected, mainly due to its artistic stagnation. He makes half-assed attempts, sounding awkward and out of place. If Drake wasn’t going to evolve––whether as an artist or as the person he depicts himself as in his lyrics––after a three-year period between albums, a nine-month delay, and time to get accustomed to fatherhood, it’ll likely never happen. Certified Lover Boy is, for the most part, Drake fully in his comfort zone. However, he’s a good enough performer to pull it off and it is an overall improvement from his last work. – Alan (8.3/10)

Love is a losing game, and Drake isn't known to take an uncalculated gambit on any battlefield. His sixth studio album, Certified Lover Boy is just about everything his previous albums have been. Is it formulaic? Yes. Has Drake and company developed a great formula? They have. Every kind of Drake fan always seems to get at least some of what they want upon a new release, often featuring a dead even split between the rapping and crooning to be heard. When artists become as popular as Drake, market share and control over the airwaves become as important as songwriting and production, and that’s an expectation that should be put into perspective by the listener. Of course it would be nice to hear Drake try to rap like Roc Marciano or croon like Baby Keem for the entirety of a project, but that doesn’t negate the fact he’s simply refusing to fix what isn’t broken. – DeVan (7.5/10)

With a better output than his previous album, Scorpion, Drake is able to execute and follow the theme of whatever a “Certified Lover Boy” is. There truly isn’t a miss on this project in terms of quality, but the substance is nothing new. And with no flops, there aren’t any standouts either; every song is solid, nothing more. Nonetheless, Drake deserves his flowers, as this album was a needed bounce back from lackluster performances on both Scorpion and More Life. This project would have been a magnum opus for most, but for Drake, this leaves much to be desired. – Daniel (7/10)

Drake has put out something nearly every single year since 2006; whether that be an EP, archival material, cash-grab compilations, a mixtape, a full-length or double album––such as in 2018’s brash Scorpion, his last “proper” album. Despite this consistency, it’s impossible to identify any sort of progression in his recent work. This is because Drake is a product. He exists to make mediocrity, and Certified Lover Boy is no exception. Its lack of marketing, or promoted singles could’ve meant that the album would make a statement. CLB does indeed say a lot, but at the same time, says nothing at all. It’s collection of exhausted pop-trap songs that could have easily been scattered on anything that Drake has released over the last five years. Amongst the rubble are isolated moments of lyrical mishaps (“Girls Like Girls”) or interpolation (“Way 2 Sexy”), which come off as utterly clueless. The only entertaining moments were guest performances. “You Only Live Twice” features an excellent sample flip, with production from Bink! and B-Nasty, and charismatic verses from Rick Ross and Lil Wayne. JAY-Z, 21 Savage and even Lil Baby out-perform Drake, too. That’s almost as far as my praise goes. Certified Lover Boy is everything I expected it to be: Hardly worth my time. – Cam (3.5/10)

Alan: 8.3/10 | DeVán: 7.5/10 | Pax: 6.9/10 | Dominick: 6/10

Daniel: 5.5/10 | Hadley: 5/10 | Peter: 5/10 | Cam: 3.5/10


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