Album review: “Certified Lover Boy” defies expectations

I have never fully committed to a Drake album. This being my first true look at a “Champagne Papi” record, I wanted to come in nearly blind, do my best to listen without my previous knowledge of the artist. Fortunately for me, this album is incredibly well done and a pleasure to listen to. Drake might say some real questionable things, but his flow and verse crafting creates an incredibly satisfying album to listen to.

Before I tear into the nitty gritty, nearly every track had me audibly saying, “Wow, this is really good.” This is a rare occurrence for me. This might have to do with the supremely low standards I had for a Drake album, but it still doesn’t take away from the fact that this album is phenomenally well-produced. Every track, separate from the actual lyrics, has a unique and powerful instrumental. 

With that being said, some of the lyrics can come off as corny. This is pretty standard for a Drake album, but I am willing to look past it for the novelty of some tasty instrumentals. This might be the first Drake album I have really sat down and torn apart. That fact might also affect the way I perceive it.

Drake features a good set of other artists, as well as delivers some unique and tasty samples. Corny as The Beatles sample on “Champagne Poetry” is, it feels just right for the track. Maybe not the right track to start the album off, but still a solid piece regardless. 

Given Drake’s style, expect a lot of innuendo and some soft R&B influences. Some tracks are clear trap spots, while others deliver the naturally sensual nature of the R&B genre, and I’m not complaining.

Drake had to delay the album due to an injury he received playing basketball with Steph Curry, and I find this delay is directly shown in the quality of back tracks and instrumentals. Given his lack of time in the studio, his producers, and himself found themselves with more than enough time to pile in layers of complex drum beats and vocal samples. The Drake vocals make this album a Drake album, but the producers made this a legendary album.

Like Drake or not, this record is a replayable good time. Notable tracks are “Knife Talk” with a very tasty 21 Savage verse. “N 2 Deep” and “Way 2 Sexy” might be my favorite tracks to blast, with solid instrumentals and generally fun lyrics. “Papi’s Home” is also very good, with a total banger sample of Montell Jordan’s “Daddy’s Home.”

“Certified Lover Boy” is a solid record with the classic Drake shenanigans. Find yourself with some friends riding around, or having a nice night in with your special friend, play this album. If you and your friends can’t enjoy it, at least you can have a good laugh at everyone’s favorite Brazilian butt lift king.

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