Album Review: "Donda" vs "Certified Lover Boy"
Written By: Mike Double G
Kanye West -Donda
Grade = 75% or 3.5 ️Stars
Track List - 1 hour 49 minutes
Donda Chant (Feat. Syleena Johnson) 0:52
Jail (Feat. JAY-Z & Francis and the Lights) 4:57 ️
God Breathes (Feat. Vory) 5:34
Off The Grid (Feat. Playboi Carti & Fivio Foreign) 5:39 ️
Hurricane (Feat. The Weeknd & Lil Baby) 4:03 ️
Praise God (Feat. Travis Scott & Baby Keem) 3:47
Jonah (Feat. Lil Durk & Vory) 3:15 ️
Ok Ok (Feat. Lil Yachty, Rooga, & Fivio Foreign) 3:25 ️
Junya (Feat. Playboi Carti) 2:28
Believe What I Say 4:02
24 (Feat. Vory) 3:18
Remote Control (Feat. Young Thug) 3:19
Moon (Feat. Don Toliver & Kid Cudi) 2:36 ️
Heaven and Hell 2:25
Donda (Feat. Stalone & Tony Williams) 2:08
Keep My Spirit Alive (Feat. KayCyy, Westside Gunn, & Conway the Machine) 3:41 ️
Jesus Lord (Feat. Jay Electronica) 8:59
New Again (Feat. Chris Brown) 3:03
Tell The Vision (Feat. Pop Smoke) 1:44
Lord I Need You (Feat. Sunday Service Choir) 2:42
Pure Souls (Feat. Roddy Ricch & Shenseea) 5:59 ️
Come to Life 5:10
No Child Left Behind (Feat. Vory & Sunday Service Choir) 2:58
Jail pt 2 (Feat. DaBaby, Marilyn Manson, & Francis and the Lights) 4:56
Ok Ok pt 2 (Feat. Shenseea & Rooga) 3:25
Junya pt 2 (Feat. Playboi Carti & Ty Dolla $ign) 3:03
Jesus Lord pt 2 (Feat. The LOX, Swizz Beatz, & Jay Electronica) 11:31 ️
Drake - Certified Lover Boy
Grade = 76% or 3.5 ️Stars
Track List - 1 hour 26 minutes
Champagne Poetry 5:36 ️
Papi’s Home 2:59
Girls Want Girls (Feat. Lil Baby) 3:42 ️
In The Bible (Feat. Lil Durk & GIVEON) 4:56 ️
Love All (Feat. JAY-Z) 3:48
Fair Trade (Feat. Travis Scott) 4:51 ️
Way 2 Sexy (Feat. Young Thug & Future) 4:18
TSU 5:09 ️
N 2 Deep (Feat. Future) 4:34
Pipe Down 3:26
Yebba’s Heartbreak (Drake & Yebba) 2:14
No Friends In The Industry 3:24 ️
Knife Talk (Feat. 21 Savage & Project Pat) 4:03
7am On Bridle Path 4:00 ️
Race My Mind 4:30
Fountains (Feat. Tems) 3:12
Get Along Better (Feat. Ty Dolla $ign) 3:49
You Only Live Twice (Feat. Lil Wayne & Rick Ross) 3:33
IMY2 (Feat. Kid Cudi) 4:12
Fucking Fans 4:05 ️
The Remorse 5:51
Drake and Kanye West have set the bar so high that they put themselves in a situation where they can’t win no matter what. With love comes hate and most people are looking for the next best thing instead of appreciating longevity. Some critics and fans will judge an album before its release and most will give their opinion before listening to the entire project. Certified Lover Boy is not Drake's best project and Donda isn’t Kanye’s, but both albums are better than 90 percent of the albums out today. I wouldn’t consider either of these projects as instant classics but I do think they are solid and will only get better with time. Both projects are exceptionally long for a rap album which makes it a tough listen for the average fan. On the flip side there is enough material and versatility on both projects to give it a longer shelf-life.
Both albums had a lot of features. More then we are used to seeing from either artist. JAY-Z, Lil Baby, Travis Scott, Lil Durk, Young Thug, Kid Cudi, and Ty Dolla $ign all appeared on both albums. Some of the bigger names that only appeared on Donda include Playboi Carti, Fivio Foreign, Lil Yachty, Swizz Beatz, The Lox, Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine, Jay Electronica, Roddy Ricch, DaBaby, Don Toliver, and Chris Brown. Artists who only appeared on CLB include Giveon, Future, Project Pat, Yebba, Tems, Lil Wayne, and Rick Ross. If you like a lot of features then Kanye probably had the edge. If Drake is one of your favorite artists then you probably wanted to hear less features on CLB. Kanye had a longer album and has become more of a producer at this point of his career so the amount of features makes sense. Only 3 of his 27 tracks had no features. I think he hit on 2 out of 3 while Drake connected on 8 of his 9 solo tracks. The best songs on CLB had no features and that’s the main reason I think CLB had a slight edge over Donda.
Kanye’s LP felt more like a playlist where Drake’s album stuck to a theme. Drake fans will appreciate this album being more personal while his haters we’ll lean towards Donda for its diversity. Drake was forced to tell the world about his son on his last album after Pusha T claimed that Drake was “hiding a child”. Drake confronted the issue on his last LP Scorpion. On the song Emotionless Drake says:
I wasn’t hiding my kid from the world. I was hiding the world from my kid.
On his new album Drake proofs he is a proud dad by mentioning his son several times. On the first track Champagne Poetry Drake opens the album by saying:
I been hot since the birth of my son.
He also mentions his son on the last song The Remorse (Sounds like The Calm which was on the So Far Gone EP). On this song Drake says:
My son is the one thing I hate to be apart from
Besides the intro and outro you can hear Drake mention his son in songs like In The Bible and TSU among others. By doing this I feel like Drake successfully dealt with the issue and put the topic to bed.
Drake once again brought a new artist to the table with this LP. Tems is a rising Nigerian star who appeared on the track Fountains. This is Drake’s newest afrobeat collaboration. Drake has been known for having a great ear when it comes to new music but I wasn’t super impressed with this track. I feel Drake was looking to find the next One Dance but I doubt this song will be nearly as big. Another song that didn’t really make sense to me was Knife Talk. I actually like the song a lot but I don’t think it fit with this album. This song felt like 21 Savage’s song and it would have fit better on Savage Mode II. I think Mr. Right Now which appeared on Savage Mode II would have fit better on Certified Lover Boy.
We haven’t seen Lil Wayne or Rick Ross on a Drake album since his second LP Take Care. Both rappers were featured on the song You Only Live Twice and both delivered. This felt like a vintage Drake collaboration. Although a solid song it just felt a little outdated. This would have been a bigger song if it came out in 2015. A song that sounded more current was Fair Trade. With the success of the song SICKO MODE I was looking for a Travis Scott feature a. This is one of my favorite songs and has a great one liner that appears in the chorus. Drake says:
I been losin’ friends and findin’ peace. Honestly that sounds like a fair trade to me.
A couple songs later Drake piggybacks off that theme with my favorite song on the album No Friends In The Industry. This has one of the hardest beats on the album and I like Drake’s energy on this track as he gets back to his shit talking. Drake says:
No friends in the industry. I had to draw the line between my brothers and my enemies.
Drake is talking about keeping a small circle and not trusting other rappers. Although a general statement he could be talking about Kanye West who is clearly jealous of Drake’s success. One rapper who Drake is close with is Future. On Champagne Poetry Drake says:
Trust in my brothers is as strong as I know it should be. Future sign the contracts, he don't even show it to me.
One of the songs that has received mixed reviews so far is Girls Want Girls featuring Lil Baby. This song is getting dragged but I’m confident it will catch. The main reason this song is getting some heat is because it’s not as good as Wants and Needs which appeared on the Scary Hours 2 EP. Lil Baby gave one of his best verses of his career on Wants and Needs. It was so successful that Baby opens up his shows with that verse. This is another artist I was expecting to see on this album as Lil Baby is the hottest rapper in the game. Drake and Baby have worked together since Baby’s first big song Yes, Indeed. At that point in his career Baby needed a Drake feature. Some people think at this point in Drake’s career he needs a Lil Baby feature. I don’t think Drake needs a feature from anyone but as a fan of both artists I was happy to see them work together again.
Kanye West’s last album was Jesus Is King. If you are secular that probably wasn’t for you. On Donda Kanye sticks to many of these themes with songs titles like God Breathed, Praise God, Jonah, Heaven and Hell, Jesus Lord, and Lord I Need You. Kanye also used the Sunday Service Choir on multiple songs. There is definitely religious references through out the album but I wouldn’t call it “Religious” music. There are more references when it comes to spirituality rather than Christianity or religion.
CLB was just as good if not better than Donda. With that being said, I think Kanye got a couple better features from the same artists. I loved JAY-Z on Jail. That was one of my favorite songs on Donda so it makes sense it was track 2. The song made me think of the Kanye, Rihanna, and Paul McCartney song FourFiveSeconds. JAY-Z was featured on Drake’s song Love All but this was probably the most disappointing song on CLB. JAY-Z didn’t deliver his best verse and I think the song would have been better with out him. Another feature where Kanye has the edge was his collaboration with Kid Cudi on the song Moon. Kanye only had backing vocals towards the end of this song but it was one of the better songs on his album. Kid Cudi was featured on Drake’s song IMY2. It’s seems Kid Cudi and Drake have squashed their beef, but I wasn’t crazy about this song. I didn’t like Drake in that spacey/vibey sound that Kid Cudi is known for. I felt like a Drake was trying to sound like Cudi. The song picked up when Drake started rapping and there was one line I liked. I like when Drake says:
You told me I was a phase. Okay, fine, I miss you too.
Overall, I think it would have sounded better on a Kid Cudi album.
There are also a couple features where Drake has the edge. I think Travis had one of the best features on CLB. Travis is on a good portion of the song Fair Trade. Similar to SICKO MODE the beat changes when the featured artist gets on it. In this case Travis is the featured artist. Travis was pretty good on the Donda album but Baby Keem was the primary artist on the song Praise God. Drake also got a better feature from Ty Dolla $ign which surprised me. Kanye and Ty Dolla $ign have been making a lot of music the last few years. On Kanye’s album he was featured on Junya Pt. 2” which also had Playboi Carti on it as well. I think Ty Dolla $ign tried to sound like Carti on this song and it didn’t sound good. On Drake’s song Get Along Better Ty Dolla $ign is singing and that’s where he’s at his best. Other than those few songs many of the artists that appeared on both projects delivered. Those artists include Lil Baby, Lil Durk, and Young Thug.
Certified Lover Boy won’t go down as Drake best album and Donda won’t be Kanye’s but neither of these albums are flops. Both albums were long and had a lot of filler. Especially Kanye’s which ran at 1 hour and 49 minutes. CLB wasn’t as bad at 1 hour and 26 minutes but I think both projects could have been trimmed down. Kanye’s last three projects were very short. Ye was 24 minutes, KIDS SEE GHOST was 24 minutes, and JESUS IS KING was 27 minutes. If you put all three of those projects together Donda would still be longer by 34 minutes. I would like to see both of these guys drop a project no longer than 60 minutes the next time around. I also think there was too many features on both of these albums. Especially Donda we’re Kanye was sometimes outshined by the featured artist. Drake also had a lot of features but he made up for it with a lot of good solo records. Overall, I think both of these were solid projects. Each album has a couple tracks memorable tracks. Kanye did a great job producing his album but Drake is still the better rapper. If I had to pick between the two I would go with CLB, but it was close so I could understand why some people might like Donda better. It’s going to be interesting to see which album gets better with time.
Best Songs = Jail, Off The Grid, Hurricane, Jonah, Ok Ok, Moon, Keep My Spirit Alive, Pure Souls, & Jesus Lord Pt. 2
Weakest Songs = Junya, Believe What I Say, 24, New Again, No Child Left Behind, & Junya Pt. 2
Download: Certified Lover Boy
Best Songs = Champagne Party, Girls Want Girls, In The Bible, Fair Trade, TSU, No Friends In The Industry, 7am On Bridle Path, & Fucking Fans
Weakest songs = Love All, Pipe Down, Yebba’s Heartbreak, Fountains, & IMY2
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