If you're a fan of Kanye West and (or) Drake, the past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind. In fact, you don't even need to be a fan at all to have seen the discourse, articles, and social media posts online surrounding Ye's DONDA and Drizzy's Certified Lover Boy.
The two albums have been in the works for months, even years. Fans have been waiting for a new album from West since he started sharing bits from YANDHI (remember that?), and from Drake since Certified Lover Boy was first announced last year. Both albums kept getting pushed back, delayed, and teased, sending fans who were desperate for new music into raptures when they finally dropped. Kanye’s DONDA dropped on August 29, while Certified Lover Boy dropped a week later on September 3.
In the lead-up to both drops, the media, fans, and even Kanye and Drake (to a certain extent) were pitting both albums against each other, with both artists hoping to land top of the charts. As DONDA was first to drop, it was also first to take the number one spot, though CLB’s release has now eclipsed that of DONDA on the charts.
Taking a look at both albums head-to-head, it’s easy to see why. Drake’s album is refreshing and incredibly well-executed, whereas Kanye’s has been described by many critics as chaotic and unfinished.
After Kanye West's DONDA spectacle that included multiple listening parties, dozens of release dates, and different (and disappointing) versions of songs, Certified Lover Boy is a break from the chaos. It is simple and straightforward – and the internet is loving it.
The bulk of the tracks on CLB are produced by long-time Drake collaborator Noah James Shebib, better known as 40, who has become something of a right-hand man to the Toronto-native rapper. Features include Jay-Z, Travis Scott, Future, Young Thug, 21 Savage, Kid Cudi, and more, and the album is stacked with bars that are guaranteed to make their way into Instagram captions in no time.
The Kanye vs. Drake debate will live on forever. This past week doesn’t settle the argument of who is better or more iconic, but it goes without saying that Drake saw a huge win when it comes to album rollout.
By Ye's third listening party, fans were tired and wanted the album, and also had high expectations for the final product. When DONDA finally made its way onto streaming platforms, a lot of people were disappointed. Although some songs and features were amazing, it just didn't hit. The dramatic rollout was so long that when the album was finally released, the hype had already fizzled out, and most fans had heard the songs at least three times already.
With Certified Lover Boy, however, the excitement was built a week ahead of its release, with (arguably terrible) merch being shared on Drake's social media, as well as billboards hinting at CLB's features popping up all over North America, resulting in fans taking to Twitter to speculate who would be making an appearance.
Of course, Drake's album cover reveal also caused a social media frenzy, with people sharing multiple memes of the Damien Hirst-designed artwork. The viral graphic was a genius move by Drizzy, and reminded us of his "Hotline Bling"-era memes, showing that Drake truly understands his audience — and the internet.
Certified Lover Boy might not be a life-altering album or a future classic — and many fans are arguing that a lot of the songs "sound the same" — but its rollout, execution, and clean production far outdoes DONDA’s. CLB is carefully mapped out and captures multiple Drake-eras in one album, has a seamless listening experience, and is what some would call, a real album.
After the DONDA debacle, all we needed was a simple and straightforward album release – and Drake delivered just that. Statistics don't lie, and Certified Lover Boy has already reached number one on iTunes charts less than a day following its release, surpassing DONDA.
Whether you like it or not, Drake's new album is nothing but a success.