Drake – “Certified Lover Boy” review

This is the 6th full-length album from Toronto rapper, singer, songwriter, actor, producer & entrepreneur Drake. Skyrocketing in 2009 off his 3rd mixtape So Far Gone, the success of this groundbreaking project resulted in a contract with both Young Money Entertainment/Cash Money Records & helped put out the man’s full-length debut Thank Me Later the next summer. His sophomore effort Take Care the year after would be even better & I enjoyed Nothing Was the Same too but after If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late & then What a Time to Be Alive with Future (both of which came out in 2015), that’s when the quality in Drake’s music really began to take a nosedive. VIEWS was a terrible foray into dancehall, More Life was mediocre despite being stylistically eclectic, his YM/CM swan song Scorpion was a disappointingly failed attempt at making a double disc album showcasing his hip hop/R&B sides of his music respectively, Care Package is decent collection of 17 loosies from 2010-2016 that we’ve all heard before & Dark Lane Demo Tapes was a failed attempt at experimenting with new songs. However, I was curious going into Certified Lover Boy given the 4 singles that he dropped leading up to it.

“Champagne Poetry” is a top tier Drake opener, rapping his ass off over a chipmunk soul sample & a gospel flip from 40. The next song “Papi’s Home” is basically his version of Montell Jordan’s “Daddy’s Home” proclaiming himself as a top dog whereas “Girls Want Girls” with Lil Baby will go down as one of the worst Drake songs ever, them asking “You a lesbian? Me too”. Then we got Lil Durk tagging along for “In the Bible” as they try to hit on religious women just before Drake & JAY-Z spaciously calling out those who turned their backs on them on “Love All”.

Meanwhile with “Fair Trade”, both Drizzy & Travis Scott jump on top of a Charlotte Day Wilson sample from WondaGurl talking about losin’ friends & findin’ peace leading into him making his own version of “I’m Too Sexy” with Future & Young Thug on “Way 2 Sexy” for whatever reason produced by TM88 shockingly. “TSU” is a simp anthem telling a stripper to get her life together sampling *NSYNC] & R. Kelly, but then “N 2 Deep” with Future is more of a great sequel to “Life is Good”.

The vocal sample on “Pipe Down” is hypnotic with Drake telling a bitch to chill out & after the “Yebba’s Heartbreak” interlude, “No Friends in the Industry” bitterly disses G.O.O.D. Music & for some reason Kendrick. I dig how he & 21 Savage flipped Project Pat for the gangsta rap-themed “Knife Talk” produced by Metro Boomin’, but then “7AM on Bridle Path” takes a moodier route with the help of Cardo dissing Kanye once again.

“Race My Mind” is an R&B/hip hop fusion detailing his lover being drunk as fuck, but the Tems-duet “Fountains” has a catchy instrumental despite the songwriting being below average. “Get Along Better” has a luxurious trap beat from 1985 addressing an ex, but then “You Only Live Twice” with Lil Wayne & Rick Ross is an amazing sequel to “The Motto” laced by B!nk of all people.

The song “I.M.Y.2. (I Missed You 2)” with KiD CuDi has a pillowy sound asking how they’re supposed to move while the penultimate track “Fucking Fans” takes a cloudier turn with the help of PARTYNEXTDOOR looking back on his failures. “The Remorse” ends the album by showing love to the people over at his OVO Sound label.

As much as I enjoyed “Laugh Now Cry Later” & Scary Hours 2, this album as a whole was NOT worth the hype & I was very disappointed by the outcome of it. Not just because it didn’t need to be an hour & a half long, but he’s really not saying anything new here at all. By that I’m not saying he needs to get political or conscious, that’s NEVER been him. Just feels like we’ve all heard this from him before.

Score: 2/5

Drake – “Dark Lane Demo Tapes” review

Drake is a 33 year old rapper, singer, songwriter, actor & entrepreneur who blew up in 2009 with his breakout mixtape So Far Gone. The success of this groundbreaking project resulted in a contract with both Young Money Entertainment & Cash Money Records, who put out the man’s full-length debut Thank Me Later the following year. His sophomore effort Take Care the year after would be even better & I enjoyed Nothing Was the Same too but after If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late & then What a Time to Be Alive with Future (both of which came out in 2015), that’s when the quality in Drake’s music really began to take a nosedive. VIEWS was a terrible foray into dancehall, More Life was mediocre despite being stylistically eclectic & then his Young Money/Cash Money swan song Scorpion was a disappointingly failed attempt at making a double disc album showcasing the hip hop & R&B sides of his music respectively. He managed to put out a decent collection of loosies last summer called Care Package & with his 6th full-length album coming this summer, we’re getting a prelude mixtape outta nowhere.

Things start off with “Deep Pockets”, where Drake talks about how his crew is rollin’ now over a trippy instrumental from 40 & Plain Pat. The next song “When to Say When” charismatically brags over a Bobby Glenn sample while the “Chicago Freestyle” asks a woman to meet him by The Bean over an ethereal beat. The track “Not You Too” with Chris Brown talks about being backstabbed over a cavernous instrumental that later switches into something more synth-heavy about halfway through while the song “Toosie Slide” is a trite & annoying TikTok anthem. The track “Desires” with Future sees the 2 talking about women over a generically cloudy beat & even though the lyrics on “Time Flies” don’t sit well with me personally, the instrumental is just impeccably alluring.

The track “Landed” finds Drizzy flexing as Cardo backs him up with what could possibly be my favorite instrumental on the entire project while the song “D4L” with Future & Young Thug is pretty much a dedication to all 3 of the artists’ respectively self-owned record labels OVO Sound, Freebandz Entertainment & YSL Records backed with an aggressive Southside beat. The track “Pain 1993” with Playboi Carti sees the 2 getting materialistic over some signature Pi’erre Bourne production while the song “Losses” talks about losing this woman to the game over a more smooth instrumental. The track “From Florida with Love” asks this chick if she really has love for him over an intoxicating beat while the song “Demons” gets with Fivio Foreign & Sosa Geek for some surface level shit-talking, but I love the angelic vocals in the background. The closer “War” then goes full-on UK Drill & it’s just unbelievably awful.

Pretty boring overall & that really shouldn’t come as a surprise at this point. Granted it’s a lot shorter than More Life & Scorpion as it only runs at 50 minutes but the instrumentals are mediocre, the songwriting is & the guest are either hit or miss. The album can’t be worse though.

Score: 2/5

Drake – “Scorpion” review

In the midst of his beef with Pusha T late last month, Canadian superstar Drake is giving fans his long-awaited 5th full-length album. Interestingly too, it consists of 2 discs & 25 tracks in total: first disc is all hip hop songs & the other is all R&B songs.

The opener “Survival” is a reflection of his career over a killer Lil B sample from No I.D. & 40 while the next song “Nonstop” talks about his grind over some prominent bass. The track “Elevate” talks about becoming famous & making life better for him & his loved ones over some atmospheric background vocals while the song “Emotionless” is a response to Pusha T’s nasty “Story of Adidon” diss track from last month. He’s not dissing him, but he does confirm that he has a son named Adonis over this trap beat with a beautiful soul sample. However the one line where he says “I wasn’t hidin’ my kid from the world, I was hidin’ the world from my kid” made me chuckle a little bit. I mean it’s no question that the media would’ve been all over the baby if his birth was announced prior, but I kinda laughed because of the fact that the mother Sophie Brussaux went on Twitter last fall & dissed him. The track “God’s Plan” is just as fun as it was on his Scary Hours EP from earlier this year while “I’m Upset” boringly talks about alimony over a gloomy trap beat.

The track “8/10” talks about where he’s at now over an uplifting boom bap beat from Boi-1da while the song “Mob Ties” talks about cutting people off over a bouncy beat. The track “Can’t Take a Joke” is about hanging out with the titular people in Hidden Hills & Italy over a murky beat. The song “Sandra’s Rose” talks about how his life has changed since being in the music industry over a beautiful DJ Premier beat & the track “Take Up” sees him talking about childhood over a grimy DJ Paul beat with JAY-Z’s verse kinda reminds me of his mafioso days. I also love how he ends the song by saying “I got your president tweetin’, I won’t even meet with him. Y’all killed XXXTENTACION & let George Zimmerman live, streets is done”. The first disc then finishes off with fittingly with “Is There More?”, where Drake is asking questions about life over a moody beat.

The next disc starts off with “Peak”, where he sings to an unnamed love interest over a settle beat. The next track “Summer Games” talks about a breakup over a spacey instrumental that to me sounds like it would pop up on any KiD CuDi album while the song “Jaded” is a dedication to Jorja Smith over an atmospheric beat. The track “Nice for What” is an empowering women’s anthem over a Murda Beatz instrumental with a beautiful sample of Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor”, but it feels like it should’ve been on the previous disc. The song “Finesse” is a message to his current significant other over another settle instrumental, but then “Ratchet Happy Birthday” might be the worst Drizzy track I’ve ever heard. I get that he wants this girl to have a good time on her birthday, but it’s just really corny. The instrumental is buttery as Hell, too.

The song “That’s How You Feel” talks about spending time with an unknown girl over another moody beat while the track “Blue Tint” is a response to all his haters but just like “Nice for What”, it sounds like it was made for the first disc. The song “In My Feelings” asks the City Girls if they love him, but it seems desperate & sappy. The track “Don’t Matter to Me” talks about his ex doing drugs & alcohol as a result of breaking up with him, but it actually works well thanks to the unreleased Michael Jackson vocals that’re evenly balanced.

The song “After Dark” with Ty$ sees the 2 talking about hooking up with women in the late night hours over a laidback instrumental from none other than Static Major & while the penultimate track “Final Fantasy” is probably the freakiest I’ve ever heard Aubrey get, but it’s the 3rd track on this R&B side feels like it should’ve been on the first disc. The album then finishes with “March 14”, which is a 4th misplaced rap song on the entire album. However it’s not bad, because I like how he goes more in-depth about Adonis over this moody boom bap beat

While this is definitely better than VIEWS & More Life, it’s still a mixed bag. He sounds a lot more passionate on here than he did on the last 2 projects I mentioned & I can definitely appreciate the A Side/B Side concept, but there are 4 tracks on the 2nd disc that really should’ve been on the first one & A LOT of filler. If you evenly took the best tracks from both discs & put them onto just 1, then it would’ve been pretty great.

Score: 2.5/5