‘Lover boy’ vs. ‘God’s son:’ A review of both Drake’s ‘Certified Lover Boy’ and Kanye West’s ‘Donda’

Christiaan McCray, Staff Writer

Kanye West’s “Donda” and Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy” were released in a five-day span which led to the albums racing to win fans’ hearts. The two albums have become synonymous with each other, though both express two different auras. 

On Aug. 29, music fans awoke to West suddenly dropping his 10th studio album, “Donda.” The album was originally slated to drop in July; however, West delayed the release in order to perfect the album, going to extreme lengths by living in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in Atlanta, Georgia until the album was finished. Just a day after “Donda”’s release, Drake confirmed the Sept. 3 release date for “Certified Lover Boy.” 

Other than the close release dates of the albums, Drake and West were talked about in the same conversations due to their ongoing animosity for each other. This dates back to 2018, during the Drake and Pusha T dispute where Pusha T revealed that Drake had a son on his diss track, “The Story of Adidon.” On HBO’s “The Shop: Uninterrupted,” Drake strongly implied that he believed West was the one who told Pusha T that he had a child. 

As years passed by, the rivalry died down until August 2021 when Drake came at West in his feature on Trippie Redd’s “Betrayal.” Drake said, “45, 44 (burned out), let it go / Ye ain’t changin’ s–t for me, it’s set in stone.” This line infuriated West, who responded by posting Drake’s home address. 

With some backstory on Drake and West’s conflict, let’s get into the albums.


Jennifer McCue

Most 27-song albums are bloated and leave the listener thinking some songs should not have made the cut; this is not the case for “Donda.” The album’s first half takes a steady, yet exciting approach, with tracks such as “Praise God” and “Off the Grid” getting the listener’s adrenaline pumping while “Hurricane” and “Jonah” bring a more somber experience. The second half gives fans a more euphoric, gospel sound similar to West’s previous album, “Jesus is King.” 

“Donda” is flooded with several features that perform well. Don Toliver’s vocals on “Moon” and The Weeknd’s performance on “Hurricane” make the audience feel as if they are having an out-of-body experience. Fivio Foreign shows why he is one of the best drill rappers in the game with his best verse to date on “Off the Grid.” West is known for getting the best out of artists that are featured on his songs, and “Donda” is no different. 

This is not the first time one of West’s albums had a bunch of features; however, this is the first time West has been overshadowed by the other artists. West’s input on the album is represented more in the production than his rapping and singing. In particular, “No Child Left Behind” and “Junya” leave the audience wishing they got more from the Chicago rapper. 

Ultimately, “Donda” lived up to expectations and is a solid body of work. West’s ability to give his fans a new sound and a different perspective with every project is second to none. 

“Certified Lover Boy”

“Certified Lover Boy” (“CLB”) has an excellent start with the intro song, “Champagne Poetry.” Drake talks about the state of his life and how he is not giving up the crown of “best rapper” any time soon. The high-pitched vocal sampling of Masego’s “Navajo” and a refreshing beat switch sampling The Gabriel Hardeman Delegation’s “Until I Found the Lord ” gives fans Drake’s best intro track since “Tuscan Leather” off “Nothing was the Same.” The track made fans believe they were receiving something new from the self-proclaimed “6-god.” Unfortunately, the rest of “CLB” shows otherwise.

From its strong start, “CLB” slowly turns to the same template for an album that fans of Drake have become accustomed to. Tracks like, “Girl wants Girls,” “N 2 Deep” and ‘’No Friends in the Industry ” can be replaced with previous work from the Canadian-rapper. 

The tracks also contain lyrics that make you cringe at times, the worst being on “Girls wants Girls” when Drake thought it was a good idea to say, “Yeah, say that you’re a lesbian, girl, me too.” 

Metro Boomin’s produced cut, “Knife Talk” is a grimy track that will have your head bobbing, but the track does not fit well into the sequencing of “CLB” and feels as if it was a throwaway from 21 Savage and Metro Boomin’s recent collab album, “Savage Mode 2.”


There are still some standouts from the album. Drake responds to Kanye West leaking his home address on, “7am on Bridle Path.” In the song, Drake taunts West by rapping, “Give that address to your driver, make it your destination / Instead of a post out of desperation.” “You Only Live Twice” is another solid collaboration from Drake, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross with Drake declaring himself the modern-day Michael Jackson.

The R&B cuts on the album such as “Pipe Down” and “Get Along Better” exemplify Drake’s versatility and bring more acceptance to himself as a “lover boy” through his lyrics about his relationships with women. The rapper influences your mind with toxic lyrics including, “If it was ride or die then you should’ve been dead right now.”

“Race My Mind” is the track above the rest, with the song’s strong 808 drums infused with Drake’s mix of high-pitched vocals and rapping mixed into a track that is borderline addicting.

Overall, Drake gives his fans another project with catchy hooks and club bangers that will rule the airwaves for the next few months. Nevertheless, “CLB” does not progress Drake’s discography or give fans a new sound sonically.

Drake and West are arguably the two biggest hip-hop acts of this generation and continue to show their consistency through their recent albums. The artists know how to keep their fan bases satisfied with every project they release. Though Drake has a better performance rapping-wise on “CLB”, West curated the superior album with “Donda” due to its production and artistic approach.  All in all, we should appreciate the greatness of both rappers instead of constantly juxtaposing them.