Acclaimed Rapper Drake, aka Drizzy, aka Champagne Papi, has tried on many alter egos for each era of his music. Drake has collected an impressive amount of accolades in the past decade, such as his collection of 100 awards, including four Grammy Awards from 44 nominations.
With the release of Drake’s new album, his current nickname has to be Certified Lover Boy. His newest album by the same name was originally announced at a concert in 2019 and was hinted at on multiple occasions, including in Drake’s Instagram bio, which read “Certified.”
Drake has been a hit machine since his song “Best I Ever Had” was released, topping the Billboard charts with every new release. Most of his LPs, created with the help of produce 40, comprise beats with sparse, ambient, slow-jam backing tracks dominated by brooding synths and stripped-down, often muffled drums and cinematic atmospheric vocals. Drake’s vocals are smooth on the ears, propelling him to the forefront of pop, and when he isn’t agonizingly performing his Patois accent on a dancehall track, he is often talking about being heartbroken or “in his feelings.”
Despite Drizzy’s accomplishments, including his most recent Billboard win of Artist of the Decade, as of late his tracks have been heavily uninspired and bland. Unfortunately, “Certified Lover Boy” (“CLB”) is no exception.
In a contemporary music industry where catchy soundbites have dominated TikTok, Drake has thrived. The “In My Feelings” challenge garnered millions of internet hits and users have gathered en masse to take part in the dance trends, skyrocketing the song’s popularity.
Drizzy’s most recent viral song, the “Toosie Slide,” was cut down to a 20-second sound bite. Whilst being mediocre productions, the tracks contain small excerpts that have exploded in popularity, allowing Drake to reap the rewards.
In the past few years, Drake has been in various “beefs,” which have undoubtedly weighed on his conscience. In 2018, Drizzy threw shade at veteran rapper Pusha T in “Duppy Freestyle” after Pusha T fired shots at Drake in his album “Daytona.” Immediately after, Pusha mauled Drake in “The Story of Adidon.” In the track, Pusha T disses Drake’s friend and producer, 40, who has multiple sclerosis, and reveals a past relationship and baby Drake had with Sophie Brussaux, a model and adult star.
One thing to keep in mind is that the music industry is extremely cutthroat, and only the ruthless make it to stardom, so when stars feel like they have been disrespected, they never truly let go. Drake has not responded to Pusha T since but has now revitalized a beef with Kanye West that has been brewing for the past decade.
Kanye West and Pusha T belong to the same Record Label, GOOD music, formed by West in 2004. With the recent news of “CLB” and West’s album, “Donda,” dropping, fans took notice of the tension. Drake’s virality has inevitably led to his spiraling downfall in quality and “CLB” has been an unquestionable example. Don’t judge a book by its cover until you see the “CLB” album cover, which comprises 12 pregnant emoji women wearing different color shirts and of different races.
The “Started from the Bottom” rapper starts his album with a flipped sample of The Beatles’ “Michelle.” The chipmunk soul vocals were strangely reminiscent of West’s early production style. “Pipe Down” also incorporated a great soulful sample, but Drake’s lyrics seemed to gaslight the subject of the track. Remember, this is the man who brags about loving Rihanna but keeps working with Chris Brown, who was sentenced to five years of probation after assaulting Rihanna in 2009.
There is no sign of any apologies from Drake — no attempt at forgiveness. Although the term “toxic masculinity” has been overused in today’s culture, there is an incredible amount of disrespect for women in this song and album. This mirrors Drake’s real-life persona as a playboy who has a track record of being the “nice guy” and then running away after things get too hot. Drake’s outward kindness and lack of sexual aggression have been misinterpreted as overarching respect for women.
“No Friends in the Industry” shows just how hard Drake can go over a dark Memphis-style beat. Arguably one of the hardest-hitting songs in the album, Drake’s bars hit and he leaves no crumbs.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a “CLB” review if we didn’t talk about “Way 2 Sexy.” With features like Future and Young Thug, who are frequent Drake collaborators, the TikTok hit delivers some comedic relief in the album, if one can call it that. The latter music video shows a playful side of Drake.
For rap megastar Drake, it’s hard to know when the rapping persona stops and the goofing around starts. His feuds with other rappers and many of his actions are questionable and unatoned for, but his songs can have good hooks … sometimes.