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Certified Lover Boy

2021 studio album by Drake

Certified Lover Boy
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 3, 2021 (2021-09-03)
Recorded2019–2021
Length86:02
Label
Producer
Drake chronology
Scary Hours 2
(2021)
Certified Lover Boy
(2021)

Certified Lover Boy is the sixth studio album by Canadian rapper Drake. It was released on September 3, 2021, through OVO Sound and Republic Records. It features guest appearances by Lil Baby, Lil Durk, Giveon, Jay-Z, Travis Scott, Future, Young Thug, Yebba, 21 Savage, Project Pat, Tems, Ty Dolla Sign, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, and Kid Cudi. Production was handled by frequent collaborators 40, Nineteen85, PartyNextDoor, OZ, and Vinylz, among others. The album was initially set for release in January 2021, but was delayed multiple times.

Background

In April 2019, Drake announced at a concert that he had started to work on a new album.[1] In June 2019, he teased the album via Instagram, where he captioned a post with "Album mode".[2] On December 10, Drake made a guest appearance at DaBaby's concert in Toronto, where he revealed that he was working on the album: "I'ma go back to the crib and try to finish this album up so we can turn up in 2020".[3] In March, on Instagram Live, Drake confirmed a finalized version of "Not Around", a leaked song later retitled to "TSU", would feature on Certified Lover Boy.[4] That same month, frequent collaborator Boi-1da previewed two snippets of songs with Drake during a Verzuz with Hit-Boy.[5] The two snippets were dubbed "I Did" and another snippet with Roddy Ricch was dubbed "In the Cut".[6][7] Drake officially announced his sixth studio album just hours before the release of Dark Lane Demo Tapes, and scheduled for release in late 2020.[8]

Drake later previewed two new songs, one an unreleased track titled "Lie to Me" and the other a demo version of his 2020 DJ Khaled collaboration "Greece", on Instagram Live.[7] On July 29, 2020, Drake's recording engineer Noel Cadastre revealed the album was "90% done".[9] On August 14, 2020, Drake announced the title of the album.[10] In October, Drake announced that the album would be released in January 2021, but it was postponed once again due to Drake suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury.[11]

Dedications

Certified Lover Boy was dedicated to the late models Nadia Ntuli and Miss Mercedes Morr.[12] Ntuli, who was a close friend of Drake's, was killed in a motor vehicle accident in Dubai in early 2021.[12] Morr, born Janae Gagnier, was found dead in her Texas apartment on August 29, 2021. She was believed to be the victim of a murder-suicide.[12]

Release and promotion

On May 1, 2020, Drake surprise-released his mixtape Dark Lane Demo Tapes, which was announced mere hours before its release. In the mixtape announcement shared on Instagram, Drake revealed that his sixth studio album, then untitled, would be released sometime in the third quarter of 2020.[13] Although the album was not released that summer, the non-album single "Laugh Now Cry Later" featuring Lil Durk was released in August.[14] On October 24, a teaser trailer for the album was released, revealing that the album was to be released in January 2021.[15] American football player Odell Beckham Jr. later said it would be released on January 1, 2021, which later went unreleased.[16] The teaser referenced covers of Drake's previous albums and mixtapes: So Far Gone (2009), Take Care (2011), Nothing Was the Same (2013) and Dark Lane Demo Tapes (2020).[15] Drake announced in January 2021 that the album would no longer be released that month, due to a leg injury he sustained which required surgery.[17]

On March 5, 2021, Drake released an extended play titled Scary Hours 2, a sequel to the 2018 EP, to generate further anticipation for the upcoming album.[18] The EP included three songs, and includes guest appearances from Lil Baby and Rick Ross.[18] The music video for the EP's lead single, "What's Next", premiered on the same day.[18] All three songs from the EP respectively debuted at number one, two and three on the Billboard Hot 100.[19] In April, Drake appeared on the YSL Records song "Solid" with Gunna and Young Thug. The song was originally intended for Certified Lover Boy, but because the album was postponed, Drake gave the song to Gunna.[20]

During an appearance on Fri Yiy Friday in August 2021, a radio show supported by OVO Sound, Drake revealed that Certified Lover Boy "is ready. [I'm] looking forward to delivering it".[21][22][23] On August 27, the album's release date of September 3 was revealed during a teaser aired on ESPN's SportsCenter.[24][25] Drake later confirmed the date and revealing the album artwork on August 30.[26][27] That same day, billboards featuring lyrics from the album were plastered around Drake's hometown of Toronto.[28]

On September 1, two days before the album's release, billboards were placed throughout the United States, Canada, and Nigeria revealing the album's featured artists according to their hometown. An Atlanta billboard announced 21 Savage, Future, Lil Baby, and Young Thug, a Chicago billboard announced Lil Durk, and a New York City billboard announced "the GOAT", which was assumed, and later confirmed, to be Jay-Z. A Memphis billboard announced Yebba and Project Pat, while Tems was announced on a Lagos billboard. Both Giveon and Ty Dolla Sign were announced on a California billboard.[29][30][31] As the reveal continued, a Cleveland billboard announced Kid Cudi, a Miami billboard announced Rick Ross, cited as "the biggest boss", a Houston billboard announced Travis Scott, referred to as "the hometown hero", and another Toronto billboard announced Lil Wayne, who Drake coined as the "best rapper alive".[32]

Artwork

The album's artwork features twelve emojis of pregnant women in varying clothing colours, hair colors and skin tones.[33][34] It was designed by English artist Damien Hirst.[35] The artwork was met with a negative reception from fans and critics alike, who called the image "lazy" and "ridiculous".[36][37]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?5.1/10[38]
Metacritic55/100[39]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic [40]
Clash6/10[41]
The Guardian [42]
The Independent [43]
The Line of Best Fit5/10[44]
NME [45]

Certified Lover Boy was met with mixed reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from professional publications, the album received an average score of 55, based on seven reviews.[39] Aggregator AnyDecentMusic? gave it 5.1 out of 10, based on their assessment of the critical consensus.[38]

In a lukewarm review, The Guardian's Alim Kheraj wrote, "Personally, sonically and thematically, Drake seems resistant to change. It's frustrating: the songs aren't bad, and in some cases they're excellent, a reminder of the unflattering emotional honesty that initially set him apart from his peers. However, they also hew to a formula that works for him".[42] Nathan Evans of Clash said, "Aubrey Graham hands over his fifth project to cross 80 minutes, an hour and a half smorgasbord of all-new tracks. In his defence, the Drake cuisine is far too extensive and varied at this point, but this dilemma has been around for a number of years now and some sort of sacrifice for a better, more cohesive project has to be made if he wants to release another classic".[41] Writing for The Independent, Sam Moore stated, "Certified Lover Boy's greatest crime is just how bland and boring it is. There's very little here that Drake has not done better or more emphatically elsewhere; his album is deprived of any kind of experimentation or insight. He rose to the top baring his soul. Now it feels like there's no soul to bare".[43]

Track listing

Certified Lover Boy track listing
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Champagne Poetry"5:36
2."Papi's Home"
  • Supah Mario
  • Young
  • Borino
  • Ojelade
2:58
3."Girls Want Girls" (featuring Lil Baby)
3:41
4."In the Bible" (featuring Lil Durk and Giveon)
  • 40
  • Thomas
  • Eli Brown
  • Austin Powerz
4:56
5."Love All" (featuring Jay-Z)
  • OZ
  • Dez Wright
  • Thomas
3:48
6."Fair Trade" (featuring Travis Scott)
4:51
7."Way 2 Sexy" (featuring Future and Young Thug)
4:17
8."TSU"
5:08
9."N 2 Deep" (featuring Future)
  • Arsenault
  • Kid Masterpiece
  • 40[a]
  • Lustig[a]
  • Cadastre[b]
4:33
10."Pipe Down"
  • Graham
  • Thomas
  • Robert Fairfax III
  • Hady Moamer
  • Anthoine Walters
  • Gebrelul
  • Derek Kastal
  • L. Camejo
  • Thomas
  • FaxOnly
  • Jean Bleu
  • Walters[b]
3:25
11."Yebba's Heartbreak" (with Yebba)
2:13
12."No Friends in the Industry"
3:24
13."Knife Talk" (featuring 21 Savage and Project Pat)4:02
14."7AM on Bridle Path"
3:59
15."Race My Mind"
4:29
16."Fountains" (featuring Tems)
3:12
17."Get Along Better" (featuring Ty Dolla Sign)3:49
18."You Only Live Twice" (featuring Lil Wayne and Rick Ross)
3:33
19."IMY2" (featuring Kid Cudi)
  • Graham
  • Scott Mescudi
  • Arsenault
  • Clifford Owuor
  • Ayoub Benfaress
  • Kaniel Castañeda
  • Eddy Bizimana
  • Dounia Aznou
4:12
20."Fucking Fans"
4:05
21."The Remorse"
405:51
Total length:86:02

Notes

  • ^[a] signifies a co-producer
  • ^[b] signifies an additional producer
  • ^[c] signifies an uncredited co-producer[46]
  • ^[d] signifies an uncredited additional producer[47]
  • "Pipe Down" contains uncredited background vocals by Future
  • "IMY2" features uncredited additional vocals by Juice Wrld

Sample credits

Personnel

Performers

  • Mark Ronson – additional vocals (2)
  • Chubbs – additional vocals (2)
  • Roxx – additional vocals (2)
  • Nicki Minaj – background vocals (2)
  • Kiefer – piano (13)
  • Brian "B-Nasty" Reid – keyboards (18)
  • Harley Arsenault – bass, drums, keyboards (19)
  • PartyNextDoor – background vocals (20)
  • Anthony Hamilton – additional vocals (21)

Technical

  • Chris Athens – mastering engineer
  • Noah "40" Shebibmix engineer (all tracks), recording engineer (4, 6, 8–10, 15–17, 20)
  • Les "Bates" Bateman – engineer (1–5, 18), recording engineer (1)
  • Harley Arsenault – recording engineer (2, 3, 7, 12)
  • Noel Cadastre – recording engineer (3–6, 8–10, 12–21), assistant mixer (1–5, 18)
  • John Rooney – recording engineer (11)
  • Young Guru – vocal engineer (5)
  • Eric Manco – vocal engineer (7, 9)
  • Dave Huffman – assistant mastering engineer (1–5, 18)
  • Greg Moffet – assistant mixer (1–5, 18)

References

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  46. ^ Jarom Su'a (September 3, 2021). "CLB ❤️‍🔥 @champagnepapi Had the honor of producing "7am On Bridle Path" w/ @beatsbyarum and a few other amazing producers🙏🏽 Big thanks to my incredible team ..." Instagram. Retrieved September 4, 2021. zero width joiner character in |title= at position 7 (help)
  47. ^ @shlohmo (September 3, 2021). "CLB *additional production* by me. Thank u @champagnepapi @oliverelkhatib for the opportunity 🙏 ..." Instagram. Retrieved September 4, 2021.