Certified Lover Boy review
By Joseph Astana, Contributor
The balancing act that he strikes as he moves smoothly between these two personas (lover and mafioso) shows a lyrical and personal complexity few in the industry can claim, let alone match.
Despite industry enemies sneak dissing, despite the criticism and memes, Drake is still at the top of the rap game. With the release of Certified Lover Boy, the man born Aubrey Graham does his utmost to remind everyone of that fact. Though the album stretches more than 80 minutes in length, Drake manages to blend enough of his signature style with new and fresh ideas to keep a listener engaged.
Throughout the 21-track album, Drake takes listeners through his life as both a lover and a mafioso. At times Drake tries to reach an agreement between these two disparate parts of his life: revealing his insecurities on his pillow in one line and promising death to his enemies in the next; bragging about his riches while reminiscing on the loves he has had and lost. The balancing act that he strikes as he moves smoothly between these two personas shows a lyrical and personal complexity few in the industry can claim, let alone match.
Throughout the album, the 6 God addresses his long-running beef with Kanye West and how little he thinks of the lines sent his way. Notable references include “7 am on Bridle Path” where Drake speaks about West posting his address online and the chorus of “Love All” which features a verse from Jay-Z who discusses his own enemies and rivalries. Drakes attitude throughout the album is that of a man unbothered by the hate and animosity simply because he knows he is above it and in control.
Though he is criticized by some rap fans for his nice-guy image and seemingly shallow bars, Drake shows real maturity in the way his new music focuses on his family. From discussing his parent’s divorce and going to therapy on “Champagne Poetry,” CLB Drake is aware of the responsibilities and treasures that come with his family life; in the same song, Drake calls himself ‘Co-parent of the Year.’ That’s not the only time Graham shouts out his son, on ‘F*cking Fans” Drake blends his longstanding ‘letter to an unnamed ex-girlfriend’ lyrical style with his new respect for his family by revealing how his unplanned child affected a relationship. Maybe the beef with fellow rapper Pusha T that revealed Adonis to the world helped Drake mature.
But Drake does not do all the lyrical lifting alone, he reaches out to many rappers including Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Lil Baby, Future (of course), and more. All in all, the album mixes many of Drake’s notable contemporaries to produce a successful and entertaining rap tour-de-force.
Drake has not been without his controversies and troubles, but it is undoubtable that he is on top of the rap game. Releasing his album immediately after Kanye West’s, fully aware of the storm of anticipation Donda was generating is a boss move, and the album itself proved that only Drake can take those risks.