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DRAKE - Certified Lover Boy

8 Takeaways from Drake’s Certified Lover Boy

Daddy's home.

by Ben Boddez

Although there has been no shortage of content from the man they call The 6 God in the interim, Drake hasn’t actually released a proper full-length studio album in over three years — the longest gap of his entire career thus far. After a couple lengthy delays, anticipation for Certified Lover Boy was at a fever pitch, especially as Drake dropped a couple massive singles that never even made it onto the tracklist, announced features with city-specific billboards, and once again reignited his famous beef with Kanye West.

Spanning 21 tracks and over 90 minutes in length, Drake doesn’t switch up his famous formula too much on the lyrical front. As always, he surveys his domain sitting atop his throne and gets emotional over scores of mystery women, but the overall sound of the project is his most cohesive in years. Drake leans heavily into his more laid-back, introspective side and puts the aggressive bangers mostly on hold – save for when he has to fire a couple shots at his rivals. The tempo slows, the beats get woozier and some warmer, lush textures are built up based around soul samples and vocal loops. Using his industry-wide connections to grab newcomers like Lil Baby and Lil Durk, old friends like Future and Young Thug and legends like Jay-Z and Kid Cudi, Certified Lover Boy is Drake keeping his stranglehold on the hip-hop landscape.

Here are eight takeaways buried in Champagne Papi’s musings:

1 | Lyrical Updates

It’s hard to believe that this coming November will be the 10-year anniversary of the project that many hip-hop fans now regard as a classic, Take Care. Having come a long way from his earlier years fighting for a place on rap’s Mount Rushmore, Drake takes the time to update a couple of his most memorable lyrics on this project. 10 years after Drake made “YOLO” a cultural phenomenon on his track “The Motto,” he brings Lil Wayne back for the playfully-titled “You Only Live Twice,” a reference to his longevity. On the track “Fair Trade,” as well, Drake says “Looking back, it’s hard to tell you where I started” – a reference to “Started from The Bottom” meaning that he’s now so far away from it, his memories of the bottom are fading.

2 | Poppin’ Tags

In one of Drake’s more outlandish boasts on the project, he opens the track “N 2 Deep” by telling the story of how he once paid to keep Houston’s massive Galleria Mall open for an extra hour, giving Drake, his date, and all of her friends an exclusive time frame to shop all they wanted. The Galleria is the fourth largest mall in the United States – even for an hour, that couldn’t have been cheap. It’s not the first time Drake has mentioned the famous mall either, once talking about it being “therapeutic blowing money” there on his 2013 track “Nothing Was the Same.”

3 | The Face of Toronto

On the album’s opening track “Champagne Poetry,” the often-cryptic Drake delivers one of the more candid confessions on the album as he speaks about pressures being placed upon him – not from the fans or the media, but from the actual City of Toronto, who view him as intertwined with the city’s public image. Things went too far when Toronto police publicly criticized him in the newspapers for not using his platform to assist with solving the murder of one of his friends due to gun violence in 2017, as Drake laments his fame preventing him from even something like mourning a friend normally.  

4| The PM Gets a Shoutout

Although the track effectively serves as the album’s most direct diss track towards longtime rival Kanye West, Drake was evidently feeling a bit of national pride while recording “7am On Bridle Path.” Not only does Prime Minister Justin Trudeau get a shoutout as Drake compares himself to the world leader in his ability to “run the country,” but he also references some more obscure Canadian lore. He offers his own Northern spin on drug kingpin bars by referencing Montreal mafia leader Vito Rizzuto, and even drops a reference to the CFL’s Grey Cup.

5 | The Costly Chronometer

It wouldn’t be a Drake album without scores upon scores of bars flexing Drake’s wealth. On the track “Way 2 Sexy,” he mentions that he nearly accidentally swallowed a diamond studding his teeth that cost him $60,000, but his biggest monetary mention on the album comes on “You Only Live Twice” where he drops a $2.2 million dollar price tag to obtain an exclusive watch, only 50 of which were ever produced by luxury brand Richard Mille in partnership with tennis superstar Rafael Nadal.

6 | Sampling Savant

Speaking of spending his enormous fortune, Drake has always prided himself on being able to afford some of the most untouchable samples in the game by shelling out extra to get them – the biggest example likely being his access to unreleased Michael Jackson material for his track “Don’t Matter to Me.” The big-name samples continue all across Certified Lover Boy, as Drake rhymes over material from The Beatles, Montell Jordan, Biggie Smalls, Tupac, Rick James, Right Said Fred’s novelty song classic “I’m Too Sexy” and even smaller-scale hometown hero Charlotte Day Wilson, whose “Mountains” is sampled on “Fair Trade.”

7 | The Beef Never Dies

While quite a few tracks on the project have bars overtly referencing Drake’s feud with Kanye West, even mocking his recent Instagram post of Drake’s address and alluding cheekily to a long-rumoured romantic rendezvous with Kim Kardashian, Mr. West is not the only superstar who has found himself in Drake’s crosshairs over the years. Beefs come and go, and Drake takes the time to provide some updates on a couple of them over the course of the project – he fires some incendiary bars in the direction of Swizz Beats over disparaging comments made on a recent IG livestream, and offers some lines mending fences with Jay-Z and Kid Cudi on two tracks that feature the hip-hop titans.

8 | Certified Single Boy

Despite the album’s romantic title, Drake makes it abundantly clear that he’s having too much fun to even begin thinking about settling down. He mentions that he simply can’t picture himself as a husband on closing track “The Remorse,” but if there’s one person who could cause him to make the switch, it’d be famous basketball wife Ayesha Curry, who he holds up to the gold standard of matrimonial dedication that Drake hasn’t been able to find on the track “Race My Mind.” Unfortunately for him, she’s still taken.