Music Review, Certified Lover Boy


Story by Alex Paulino, Staff Writer

Certified Lover Boy was said to be a culmination of everything that makes Drake great, from clever lyric writing to the seamless mix of the echo-injected thrills of pop. After several shorter releases to ease the audience, including Dark Lane Demo Tapes and Scary Hours 2, Certified Lover Boy finally released on September 3, 2021. 

Reception on CLB (Certified Lover Boy) has been quite mixed. Some praise its energetic style and comedic lyric-writing, while others see the album as a messy project with some highlights, but one too many low points to keep the experience afloat. 

“I only liked it because Future was in it,” said junior Taheisha Jean, who specified that she liked the majority of the album, but only listened to it for specific artists. 

“There’s solid tracks on it, but people were making it out to be better than it actually was,” said senior Dallas Mason. 

Certified Lover Boy feels as if it never really knows where it wants to go. In tracks like Champagne Poetry, the sample mixing and tone is somber while immersing you into this uplifting feeling. The main issue, however, is that Drake doesn’t know when to stop this feeling. Each track feels like it doesn’t improve from the last without trying to do anything unique. Papi’s Home has this surreal and pulsating beat, comparable to the vibe of What’s Next in Scary Hours 2, but it can’t escape the same sort of feeling of Champagne Poetry. Then it’s immediately followed up by the messy lyricism in Girls Want Girls. All of these songs contain the same sort of laid-back yet grainy instrumental. It makes it superbly easy to mistake all of these as one long song. This is followed by In the Bible, which sees Drake being completely outshined by his features Lil Durk and Giveon.  Thematically it feels different, but instrumentally it sounds like a continuation of the previous songs. 

This would be an impressive feature if the songs had a coherent story or structure that forced them to be strung together like this. However, what we get is Drake rapping about the same things continuously. He is either rapping about his love for women or rapping about how he’s “at the top.” There’s no build-up to this album. In the Bible is led by Love All featuring the iconic Jay-Z, who does an overwhelmingly better job than Drake when it comes to adapting with the beat. The problem with this track is that it has no sort of rhythmic chemistry between Drake and his own feature.

The biggest and most prevalent issue with CLB is its lack of ambition. Drake doesn’t feel the need to experiment or try anything new. He chooses to remain with an old formula with these tracks instead of trying to reinvent himself.

“Hear the talks when I walk by like you know it’s over when we drop” -Drake, Papi’s Home

CLB isn’t entirely tainted by faulty tracks. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, which comes in the form of a few highlights. The track Papi’s Home, does a solid performance when moved away from the tracks that precede and follow it. Even if lyrically it isn’t entirely on par with Drake’s best, and an odd feature from Nicki Minaj struggles to close the song out, it still maintains energy that makes it an enjoyable listen. Future, a frequent Drake collaborator, makes a few appearances in this album and he does a fine job at picking up Drake’s slack when he appears. 

If Drake focused more on picking features that would flow well with the album then the reception would most likely be more positive. Instead we get tracks like Fair Trade which features Travis Scott practically mumbling his verse. The features either overwhelm Drake or completely mess up the song itself.


It’s incredibly difficult to pick out a positive in Certified Lover Boy when it seems like every positivity is neglected by more negatives. Drake struggles to innovate in this album while also dishing out some mediocre verses and features at the same time. Certified Lover Boy is certainly not that great.         


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