To say I am a Drake fan would be both an understatement and a lie. His first few records linger amongst some of my favourites. Sure, Drake has never made a record without flaws more obvious than a bonfire on the darkest night of the year but 'Take Care' had such a unique charm to it you could overlook the moments of weak lyricism and experiments that didn't pan out as expected. The same could be said for Nothing Was The Same' but it featured a more grizzled and vetted Drake who’d eased more into the stardom. Although he has the ability to make astonishing hits and music for any occasion, Drake could also be a front runner for some of the lowest lows when it comes to certain tracks on his records. 'Views' was arguably his last solid effort. 'More Life' & 'Scorpion' lacked what made many fall in love with Drakes' music and although they do feature a few gems, ultimately, they were dim, exhausting, and uninspired.
Fast forward to January 2021 where 'Certified Lover Boy' was supposed to drop. The lead single 'Laugh Now, Cry Later' never made it onto the final record despite it being better than most of the final record. If I had to summarise this quickly I would tell you that Drake is stale and although there are tracks on this record that I will give a few more spins, the enormous twenty-one-track album would struggle being a seven-track EP. Amongst the tracks, I'd keep is 'Love All' featuring an incredible Jay Z verse. It features singing rap Drake, my personal favourite variation with a simple but catchy hook. Polar opposite to this is 'Knife Talk' with 21 Savage and Project Pat which is my least favourite version of Drake. On these beats he always comes off as if he is trying too hard and trying to be the sort of rapper he isn’t capable of being. One of ‘More Lifes’ major gripes was Drakes attempt to slide into some strange UK and Jamaican accents and I feel the same about them as I do about this. For the love of God, STOP!
Unfortunately, the lows don’t end there. In fact, they barely begin. Other low points include 'Papi's Home' which ends with his singing Daddy's home repetitively towards the end of the track and it feels uncomfortable and awkward immediately. 'Girls Want Girls' has Drake coming out as a lesbian and 'Way 2 Sexy' is a cringe-fest I hope I never hear again. Every "new" venture into something different fails drastically and the rest of the record sounds like the same thing we've been hearing for the last decade. I don't honestly know if Drakes quality is declining or whether the same flow and rap style has finally got tiresome.
'7 am On Bridle Path' is one the highest highs and at least here his bars are strong. It also features the next installment in the Kanye West and Drake beef and I use beef lightly because as far as the music goes, neither side has done anything worthy of mention. ‘7 am On Bridle Path’ again, suffers the way everything else does. We have heard it before. The flow, the beat, and the lyrics are all minor varieties of something we have been listening to for years. There is no 'Marvins Room' on this record, no 'Headlines', no 'Hotline Bling', no 'Just Hold On We're Going Home and instead we are left with a record that feels like leftovers. An album of filler material between the big hits or the bangers but the big hits and bangers never come. 'Certified Lover Boy' is just a feature fest with no real feeling of freshness or excitement. It adds nothing to Drakes catalog and lessens his already diminishing legacy.
Drake has a habit of opening his records strong, he has some of the best opening tracks on his album, and 'Champagne Poetry' was a strong opener until you listen to the rest of the record and remember how stale it feels. The only highs I can draw from the album is the beat choice which seems to be one of Drakes greatest skills, the Cudi & Jay features as well as the introduction to Yebba via 'Yebba's Heartbreak' which is easily the best track on this record and doesn't feature Drake at all. Overall 'Certified Lover Boy' is the most underwhelming record of the year. And if this is all Drake has left in the tank, I would rather he take his millions and ride off into the sunset. With every expectation I had to see Drake come back evolved, he returns lazier than ever.
Certified Lover Boy: One Cup