Certified Lover Boy is a certified hit

Drake’s new album impresses

The cover of Drakes new album. The surreal, emoji-based artwork was created by British visual artist Damien Hirst.


The cover of Drake’s new album. The surreal, emoji-based artwork was created by British visual artist Damien Hirst.

Rating: 6/10

On Sept 3rd, Toronto-based rapper Drake released his highly-anticipated sixth studio album, Certified Lover Boy. With moody and atmospheric production and ripe with witty and confident writing and delivery, Certified Lover Boy stands as one of Drake’s strongest and most cohesive projects.

The record opens on a laid back yet still triumphant note with Champagne Poetry. Over a beat driven by sped-up vocal samples and upright bass, Drake raps on the track with ease and energy, not taking the role too seriously but still delivering lines expertly. “This the part where I don’t ever say ‘Pardon me’ anymore,” he raps, a sentiment which exists at the core of the album; its most memorable moments are characterized by a confident simplicity.

A perfect example is Love All, a track in which Drake introspectively rap-croons about the loneliness of fame. Produced by industry heavyweights and frequent Drake collaborators Dez Wright, OZ, and the Rascals, the song’s beat contains icy vocals, deep bass, and low-key drums, perfectly setting the mood for its dreary lyrics. Jay-Z also provides a strong verse on the song. “Shout out to the family,” he raps, “I don’t want no friends no more, not many understand me.”

While full of anti-social soul-searching in its lyrics, the album, especially its composition and production, is full of the fun and excitement one would expect from a major rap release. Papi’s Home, despite its poor lyrics and emotionless vocal delivery, has a hard-hitting trap beat that will make any car’s sound system feel like Madison Square Garden.

The album is, for the most part, high-quality, but it is far from perfect. Like any Drake project, it is plagued by some lyrical moments awkward enough to make the listener do a double take, wondering who in their right mind would say such a thing on one of the most (over?)-hyped releases of the year. Whether roasting his haters for using “Wi-Fi they don’t pay for” on Race My Mind or unconvincingly playing the role of a tough guy in Knife Talk featuring 21 Savage and Project Pat, Drake sometimes lacks a filter when he needs one.

In addition, at 21 tracks in length and clocking in at a total 1 hour and 26 minutes, Certified Lover Boy is simply too long. By cutting the five or six weakest tracks off the album, Drake and company would have left little to complain about.

Ultimately, Certified Lover Boy, while perhaps not iconic or groundbreaking, is a solid release. Though the countless artists and professionals who worked on the album were unable to completely buff out its flaws, they brought it close enough to make for a truly enjoyable and memorable listening experience.