Drake – Certified Lover Boy [Review]

Ladies and restlessmen, it’s finally here. One of the most decorated & talented artists of our generation has made his highly anticipated album available to the public since teasing it at the end of last year.

Everyone, Donda is finally here.

*checks notes* Ohhh. I’m reviewing the OTHER highly anticipated album.

Aubrey Drake Graham’s Certified Lover Boy was first teased in May 2020, around the same time that the preceding project, Dark Lane Demo Tapes, was released. A really cool trailer that referenced Drake’s past albums (So Far Gone, Take Care, Nothing Was The Same, and Dark Lane Demo Tapes) was released that October, and confirmed a January 2021 release. An apparent leg injury forced him to delay the album indefinitely. This didn’t stop him from releasing a three-song EP, Scary Hours 2, in March, and becoming the first artist ever to occupy the top three spots on the Billboard Hot 100.

That got me hype for the project. Then, on an early morning show of SportsCenter, Drake “hacked” the broadcast and announced that CLB would be dropping on September 3rd via a handwritten message on a piece of cardboard, which got me even MORE hype. Then… the cover art dropped. I get that it was supposed to be released in January but was actually released in September, which is nine months, but come on. Anyone could’ve done that. But hey, albums with bad cover art have actually turned out to be masterpieces in the past. So let’s see if this long-awaited project lives up to the hype.

1. Champagne Poetry
Produced by J.L.L., Oliver El-Khatib, Maneesh, Masego, & 40

I been hot since the birth of my son

The first lyric we hear on an album that features pregnant woman emojis. Fitting.

This is a pretty cool intro. It’s always great when an artist’s delivery gets more intense and the beat matches the energy. That’s exactly what happens in the second half of the song.

I know I tend to talk about how I got a fortune on me
But with that comes the politics the city been forcing on me Man, I can’t even RIP and show my remorse to the homie Know I carry the guilt of the city’s misfortune on me

True enough. When you’re the most famous person to ever come out of a particular region, you’re expected to act a certain way and do certain things. Some are fair, some aren’t. He even comes up with some clever ways to say that he’s slowly losing himself in the fame.

Career is going great, but now the rest of me is fading slowly

My chef got the recipe for disaster baking slowly My heart feel vacant and lonely, but still
I’m makin’ the most of this shit and more

A more personal offering from Drake to start this album out. I personally don’t agree with the “Tuscan Leather” comparisons, but this is still a great intro. I don’t know why everyone has to compare stuff all the time.

2. Papi’s Home
Featuring Nicki Minaj… kinda?; Produced by Oriyomi Ojelade, Supah Mario, Jarrel Young, & Mark Borino

Yeah, and I’m coming with the wop

*Druski voice* “What do you mean by that?”

Definitely a step down from the intro, but there are still good things about it. Sampling “Daddy’s Home” by Montell Jordan was a nice touch, especially considering the song’s premise is that he’s the father of 90% of the game nowadays.

Used to wanna throw the Roc up, niggas know how I rock now

Reminded me of the Roc-A-Fella line from “Summer Sixteen”. I do not like Nicki Minaj at all, but I’ll even excuse her cameo because she made a career off the phrase “these bitches is my sons.” Decent song.

3. Girls Want Girls
Featuring Lil Baby; Produced by OZ, Ambezza, & 40

Yeah, say that you a lesbian, girl, me too

Okay… I will now occasionally refer to Drake as The Lesbian. This is what I wanted to avoid. The uninspired, corny Drake that has no emotion. And the beat is just as emotionless. Lil Baby injects some life in it though.

She like eating pussy, I’m like, “Me too”

See, Drake?? That’s ALL you had to say. But nope, you’re new nickname is The Lesbian. SKIP!!

4. In The Bible
Featuring Lil Durk & Giveon; Produced by Leon Thomas III, Austin Powerz, Eli Brown, & 40
This song starts with Auto-Tuned Drake mumbling through the chorus and his verse. But he made sure to put feeling into that corny line about Tiger Woods.

Think I’m Tiger Woods, the way I’m teed off thе 17

Lil Durk took his time on CLB to promote his girl’s cosmetics business, which is nice I guess.

India Royale cosmetic, I’m just promotin’ my bitch
Drake song do a billion streams for sure, I’m just promotin’ her shit

But Giveon steals the show, giving a great vocal performance that’s backed with smooth trap soul production that almost makes up for the both of them. But other than Giveon, this was just alright.

5. Love All
Featuring Jay-Z; Produced by The Rascals, Dez Wright, & OZ
This track’s cool only because of the Jay feature. I was a little bored until he came on. Drake’s doing his typical whiny toned voice thing and despite him not saying anything, he had a pretty good rhyme scheme going. But like I said, Jay steals the show.

Niggas wanted to kill me and y’all still with ’em
Nigga, y’all chill with ’em, and y’all wonder why we not friends?
Best thing I can do is not build with you
When I could destroy you, that takes some fuckin’ discipline
I could send a team to come drill you
I got a billion or two and I know where the fuck you live

Alright… let’s address the planet-sized elephant in the room. Everyone thinks that this line was about Kanye, which I never understood. Why would he hop on Donda and tell his mom that he’s looking out for him, just to turn around and throw that haymaker? Makes no sense.

You know the price of everything but the value of nothing

Jay is on a great feature run this year. Drake also gets respect from me for referring to Jay as the Goat on his New York CLB promotional billboard. Good song, but all these songs except the intro give me something I could’ve gotten from another Drake song. These features have delivered for the most part, though. Anyway, next.

6. Fair Trade
Featuring Travis Scott; Produced by WondaGurl, Travis Scott, Jahaan Sweet, Patron, & OZ

Feelin’ young but they treat me like the OG

I feel like he’s said this line at least 3,000 times in his career. Fitting, since this album is filled with a Drake that I’ve already heard before. The signature line is him saying that he’d rather have peace of mind than a lot of friends:

I’ve been losin’ friends and findin’ peace
But honestly that sound like a fair trade to me

…which is basic, but factual. The growing out the dirt line reminds me of when Wayne said “Throw dirt on me and grow a wildflower” on Eminem’s “No Love”.

Travis’s verse takes a second to get started, but when it starts the beat switches up and he goes in. He has a great rhyme scheme throughout and a change of flow toward the end of this verse. As a Travis fan, I enjoyed his feature. He was a great bolt of energy this album really needed.

7. Way 2 Sexy
Featuring Future & Young Thug; Produced by TooDope & TM88

My neck (Yeah), baguetties
Molest me (Woah), caress me (Woah)

Nahhh Thug you lost me with that one. I was on the fence about this at first because the beat has a lavish feel to it, but that line was enough to make me not wanna hear the song again. The chemistry between the three of them is nowhere to be found and it doesn’t sound like they’re having much fun. I don’t need Future telling me how sexy he is. *Shannon Sharpe voice* SKIP!

8. TSU
Produced by OG Ron C, Noel Cadastre, & Harley Arsenault
Don’t know why this song needed that long intro. He tells the story of a stripper he’s giving money to, who just wants better for herself. It had potential, especially with the beat switch, but in the end it went to waste as this is another throwaway track that features a Drake that I’ve heard thousands of times already. Probably not a good look to credit R. Kelly when he’s in the middle of his trial either. I could do without this.

9. N 2 Deep
Featuring Future; Produced by Noel Cadastre, Alex Lustig, Harley Arsenault, Kid Masterpiece, & 40
I have a hard time catching this beat. But this is definitely a standout. Drake sounds better than he’s been sounding so far. I definitely would’ve liked to hear him build off of the synths and electric guitar punches in the first half. Nevertheless, this song features a good beat switch. Future makes up for what he did on “Way 2 Sexy”, delivering a good verse in the second half. Still would’ve liked to hear them expand on the first beat though.

10. Pipe Down
Produced by Simon Gebrelul, Leon Thomas III, FaxOnly, Jean Bleu, & Anthoine Walters
Despite this song being a huge simp-fest, I like it a lot. It has good vocals over a soulful instrumental that apparently samples “Pussy Money Weed” by Lil Wayne. Next to “N 2 Deep” and the intro, this is probably the best Drake has sounded so far on this album.

I was on your ass like back pockets

Probably the most Drake line on this entire album. Kinda wanted to come up with a new nickname, but I’ll excuse it since I like the song and I only have to hear it once. Plus, I think The Lesbian will do fine for now.

11. Yebba’s Heartbreak
Produced by James Francies, Yebba, & 40
Pretty uneventful interlude. Yebba has a nice voice, which is showcased with a piano in the background. Hate to be that guy, but I don’t really see why this is here.

12. No Friends In The Industry
Produced by Vinylz, Nik D, & OZ
This could be considered the first jab at Kanye just by the title alone.

And I’m like Sha’Carri, smoke ’em on and off the track

Cool I guess. I guess we’re in the trap section of the album?

You get Drizzy on a track, he’ll put you on the map
Oh, it’s like that? Hell yeah it’s like that

He ain’t lying. 90% of the industry has had a Drake feature that boosted their popularity, so I gotta give credit there.

I’m being that nice because I don’t wanna sound like a complete hater when I say this song is a complete SNOOZER. From a boring and uncharismatic delivery to a cookie-cutter beat, this song screams out forgettable.

13. Knife Talk
Featuring 21 Savage & Project Pat; Produced by Peter Lee Johnson & Metro Boomin
This is a Savage Mode 2 throwaway and no one can convince me otherwise. The lesbian is an awkward fit here.

Checked the weather and it’s gettin’ real oppy outside

This dude did not just say oppy. That may have ruined it for me.

We in Paris with it, hundred carats with it

Okay, this is a good jab at Kanye. But the rest of his verse is boring and nothing out of the ordinary.

21 Savage was good on this. Of course since him and Metro have great chemistry, and he came with a lot more energy than he normally does in the second verse. I would’ve LOVED to hear Project Pat on Savage Mode 2. THIS HAS NO BUSINESS BEING HERE. Okay song, just not the right place. Replace this with “Mr. Right Now”.

14. 7am On Bridle Path
Produced by Maneesh, ​KND, Dez Wright, & Cardo
This is the aggressive and clever Drake I like to hear.

Switch it to the one I call “R.I.P. Nipsey”
‘Cause I swear to God the bezel got sixty of them blue stones

For example. And then there was the Antetokounmpo reference that everybody expected.

Could at least keep it a buck like Antetokounmpo

Anyway, I don’t know if you guys have noticed, but I’ve tried to mention Kanye as little as possible throughout this review. But when Aubrey comes with shit like this:

That’s why your people not believers, they all leavin’ ya
That’s why you buyin’ into the hype that the press feedin’ ya
You know the fourth level of jealousy is called media
Isn’t that an ironic revelation?
Give that address to your driver, make it your destination
Stead of just a post out of desperation

Okayyy… this is a full Kanye diss now. Meaning we HAVE to talk about him.

While you over there tryna impress the nation
Mind’s runnin’ wild with the speculation
Why the fuck we peacemakin’, doin’ the explanations
If we just gon’ be right back in that bitch without hesitation?

And look at the heroes fallin’ from grace in their older ages

Wow… he came at Kanye HARD here. Criticizing his listening parties, telling him to pull up instead of leaking his address, and even going as far as pointing out his music’s “dip” in quality. There were already a lot of shots thrown at Drake on Donda, but I feel like we’ll hear more from Pusha T’s album that’s supposed to drop soon. This was a great diss though, and a nice addition to the time and place series.

15. Race My Mind
Produced by 40, Monsune & Govi
This sounds good. I like the second half way more than the first. Don’t really know what else to say about it yet again.

16. Fountains
Featuring Tems; Produced by Batundi, Tresor, Monsune & 40
I guess this is supposed to be the “Once Dance” of this album. Pass for me.

17. Get Along Better
Featuring Ty Dolla $ign; Produced by Noel Cadastre, Nineteen85 & 40
This song screams toxic masculinity.

Trust me, this ain’t ’bout revenge
But now I get along better with your friend

And him harmonizing with Ty Dolla $ign sounds GREAT, but I would’ve liked it better if he had his own verse. Love the vocal performance from both of them though, and the beat is beautiful.

18. You Only Live Twice
Featuring Lil Wayne & Rick Ross; Produced by Brian “B-Nasty” Reid & Bink!
Now, Drake takes aim at Swizz Beatz for calling him a pussy and for saying that if he saw Drake’s plane, he’d shoot it down. He apologized the next day, saying that it was all love, but as you can see:

Unthinkable when I think of the way these niggas been actin’
Yeah, I never did you nothin’ and you play like we family, huh?
Next thing, you wanna shoot me down, it can’t be love
Not sure where you was tryna send it, it can’t be up
That day you sounded like a bitch, you fancy, huh?
Damn, how can I forgive like this?

Drake’s tired of the games. He calls back a song called “Unthinkable” he wrote with Swizz Beatz’s wife, Alicia Keys, and even called back “Fancy”, a song the two collaborated on. Drake has clearly held back no punches and kept receipts when it comes to anything that’s been said about him. Just wish we could’ve gotten to hear that aggressive nature throughout this album.

Ross and Wayne came on here and did what Ross and Wayne do, both far from their best work, but both serviceable. This is the first time Drake did better than the feature(s) on this entire project. Everything about this song feels big, but it isn’t that noteworthy in the end. I can do without it.

19. IMY2
Featuring Kid Cudi; Produced by Produced by Yume, KanielTheOne, Houssam, Harley Arsenault, Clibbo, & 3DDY
The Juice WRLD sample at the beginning was pretty moving. As for the song… it’s passable, but there’s not a lot to say about it. It’s something I’ve heard from BOTH Cudi and Drake before. This album is filled with so much of the same Drake as before that now the features are combining with him to make something that’s already been done. Crazy. Cudi’s humming and harmonizing is cool though. I wish we could’ve gotten a Mike Dean outro on this.

20. Fucking Fans
Produced by Aliby, 40, PARTYNEXTDOOR & Noel Cadastre
I’VE. HEARD. THIS. BEFORE. Sounds like it could be mistaken for a Weeknd throwaway. What can you say about something that’s not very notable and could easily be mistaken for something else??

21. The Remorse
Produced by 40
The Lesbian takes the opportunity to spit some more IG captions and throw one last jab at Kanye over a typical Drake instrumental on the last song of the album.

Y’all music gets watered down, when you love ’em back
And you know what I’m on, blowing past ya, owning masters
Said you’re like a father figure to me, but now daddy’s not around so I’m a bastard

Funny that he’s talking about watered-down music when most of this album is just as peeled back as it gets. I’m glad this is over. I’m tired of coming up with different things to say about something that isn’t new.


I’m not gonna lie to you guys, I like and respect Drake, but this feels underwhelming.

I’ll start with the good, as I always do. On some of the rap songs, he’s the normal witty and quotable Drake that we’ve gotten to know over the years. “Love All”, “Fair Trade”, and “N 2 Deep” have good features that all outperform The Lesbian. A few of the R&B cuts on here have good instrumentation, vocals, and relatable lyrics. “Pipe Down”, the first half of “N 2 Deep”, and “Get Along Better” are examples of this, and are all highlights of the album. “Champagne Poetry” is a song that got a body of work with so much potential off to a good start.

But alas, that potential ultimately went unrealized.

My problem is not that there are a lot of bad songs on this album, but so many meh songs that make the project feel longer than it actually is. Getting through this album wasn’t fun at times. Getting through the disappointing and corny “Way 2 Sexy” and the bland “TSU” before coming across “N 2 Deep” is like being forced to eat your vegetables before you can eat the good part of the meal. This entire album is like being rewarded for getting through forgettable tracks with the occasional gem, but getting the last gem sooner than you expected, as the last four tracks fail to make a lasting impact.

I’m having a hard time grading this album. Most of the good of this album doesn’t come from Drake, which is why this doesn’t feel like a very good Drake album. 6 out of 21 is NOT a good batting average, especially when you factor in a wait time that was as long as a pregnancy. But I don’t want to grade this too low and come off as a hater. I feel like with all things considered, the highest I can grade this album is a 2.8. A little above the halfway point, because while it was nothing new and predictable, the album was never truly unlistenable at any point.

  • “Love All” (feat. Jay-Z)
  • “Fair Trade” (feat. Travis Scott)
  • “N 2 Deep” (feat. Future)
  • “Pipe Down”
  • “7am On Bridle Path”
  • “Get Along Better” (feat. Ty Dolla $ign)
  • “Way 2 Sexy” (feat. Future & Young Thug)
  • “Girls Want Girls” (feat. Lil Baby)
  • “Fountains” (feat. Tems)
  • “No Friends In The Industry”