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‘Certified Lover Boy’ edges ‘Donda’

Photos used with permission from Wikimedia Commons
Kanye West released an album, “Donda,” Aug. 29, while Drake released “Certified Lover Boy” Sept. 3. As the two albums garner streams worldwide, hip-hop fans across the globe share differing opinions on which album is a better listen.

Hip-hop fans across the globe spent the summer months anticipating the release of major albums from two of the most renowned artists in the music industry: Kanye West and Drake. As Drake dropped his much-anticipated album “Certified Lover Boy” Sept. 3,  a heated debate ensued among hip-hop listeners, comparing his album to Kanye West’s “Donda,” released Aug. 29. 

As household names and significant figures in the hip-hop genre and the wider music industry, both albums have risen to the top of music charts worldwide. Within the first week of the release of “Donda,” 14 songs from the album claimed places on the Spotify playlist “Top Global Songs.” Comparatively, “CLB” has set a new Spotify all-time record for most album streams in a single day. 

West drew inspiration from and later dedicated “Donda” to his mother’s death in 2007, which adds a sentimental element to the album. The album consists of 27 songs, rendering it a lengthy one hour, 48 minute listen. “CLB,” on the other hand, is comprised of only 21 songs and is a one hour, 26 minute listen. 

West has a variety of featured artists on his album – The Weeknd, Jay-Z, Roddy Rich, Kid Cudi and Don Toliver – all of which are established names in hip-hop. These artists provided a more melodic and mellow tone to songs such as “Hurricane,” “Jail,” “Pure Souls” and “Moon.” The laid-back mood emulated by these songs encourages listener relaxation.

Reciprocally, features from artists such as DaBaby, Baby Keem, Travis Scott, Lil Yachty and Fivio Foreign add energy to the more fast-paced songs. The stark contrast between the faster-paced and more mellow songs created nuance in “Donda.” Often, this contrast ruins the meaning of an album, yet West creates excitement by implementing this technique in his songs. 

The stark contrast between the faster-paced and more mellow songs created nuance in ‘Donda.’

“Donda” was ultimately worth waiting the two years elapsed since West’s prior album release, “Jesus is King,” on account of its range of selection. Even so, I would not choose to add these songs to my playlist given the lack of energy and quality one would hope for. Particularly in comparison with typical Kanye West songs, “Donda” did not provide songs of equal quality or catchiness. 

Contrastingly, “CLB” follows Drake’s 2020 release of “Dark Lane Demo Tapes. Akin to “Donda,” “CLB” has a range of features from renowned rappers: Lil Wayne, Travis Scott, Jay-Z and more. Unlike West, who worked with the majority of his featured artists for the first time on “Donda,” Drake’s features are familiar to listeners as they have collaborated with Drake on widely-streamed songs prior to “CLB”. 

Despite Lil Baby’s underwhelming feature on “Girls Want Girls,” the song was unexpectedly slow-paced and lower quality than other songs on the album. However, the other artists featured undoubtedly pulled their weight and solidified their ranking as the best songs on the album.

“Fair Trade,” “Knife Talk” and “You Only Live Twice” are the best “CLB” songs incorporating artist features, while “No Friends In The Industry” and “Papi’s Home” stand out as songs without features. 

 Although “Donda” contains more collectively enjoyable songs, the album is inconsistent in overall quality. Hence, “CLB” contains more songs worthy of adding to playlists for future listens. If West had removed the songs that were not dead weight, his album would have certainly come out on top. Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy,” without a doubt, wins the edge in this debate.

Which album do you prefer?


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About the Contributor
Tristan Weiss
Tristan Weiss, Sports Editor: Online
Tristan Weiss (’23) is Sports Editor: Online for The Standard. Since Grade 9, Tristan has created a variety of articles for The Standard, most notably the “Crocumentary” video. Outside of journalism, Tristan plays football and loves açai bowls.

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