It doesn’t matter what year, album, mixtape, “playlist”; more than ten years into his musical career, you’re guaranteed to get the same old Drake. I’d say “for better or for worse”, but let’s be real - it’s for the worse. To reference my review of “Scary Hours 2” - what the fuck do you do when the biggest artist in music doesn’t have a lot going for him artistically, when the music making the biggest numbers is both the most ignorable and forgettable as well? Especially when that artist seems completely resigned to not change the worst aspects of of their craft, which is completely evident with Drake’s long delayed “Certified Lover Boy”.
I suspected that this latest album from the Toronto rapper wasn’t delayed so long because of an injury or the pandemic but because the sessions weren’t resulting in good music, and that seems to be the case judging from the finished product. “Certified Lover Boy” is yet another bloated and overstuffed album from Drake that he’s been doing for the last few years as a way to break Spotify streams in his favor, and in the past that has lead to him accidentally stumbling onto a song that is actually enjoyable. Here, however, there is only one moment of relief from an hour and a half of bland, colorless rap over basic beats about how much better Drake is than you and how bad he is with women, and that’s a song that doesn’t even feature Drake at all. This album is a fair bit shorter than last week’s “Donda” yet feels even longer than that project, and I have to blame that on Drake coasting on his name and his formula being good enough for immature seventeen year olds for a week or two.
Speaking of which, Drake continues to have the maturity of a seventeen year old when it comes to lyrics and themes. As far as lyrics go at best they are boring and unremarkable while at worst they are completely whack. On top of that Drake is still sticking to the same boring narratives he always uses on every song, flexing about how much better he is than you and rapping about how bad he is with women. I feel like at one point you could potentially argue he knew he was the bad guy in these songs, but now I don’t think he understands or cares that he’s the asshole in all of these narratives. And it’s one thing to hear a young twenty something rap about hypothetical scenarios of his fuckery, but he’s months away from being thirty five and he’s still rapping about the same shit - this look isn’t cute anymore (especially considering the actual awful treatment we know he’s shown to women, his child, and young girls). Needless to say I don’t really think he’s spent any of his career showing vulnerability, and especially not on “Certified Lover Boy”.
If it wasn’t clear when Drake made a dance song that doesn’t make you want to dance at all, it’s clear with this album that Drake is just not putting in the effort and doesn’t have anything to offer, not even as much as a charming personality. While it might not have as many notably bad songs as some of the other worst albums released this year, this album is almost completely absent of good besides a track that Drake didn’t even contribute anything to. “Certified Lover Boy” certainly won’t fail numbers wise, but it’s a rock bottom of Drake’s already weak discography.