Album Review : DONDA vs. CLB

– blkcory and e

We want to start off these albums reviews by making it clear that these albums are actually not comparable at all. Donda and Certified Lover Boy are almost two different genres of music and comparing them doesn’t really make sense and is truly unfair to either artist’s artistry. However, we also acknowledge that the fact that both of these guys publicly don’t like each other makes it fun to have this nonsensical debate. Even if this debate really won’t matter to anyone in a few months here’s our album reviews of both Donda and Certified Lover Boy.

*Disclaimer: Nobody has actually had enough time to live with either of these albums and all opinions are subject to change as the year goes on.*

*Additional Disclaimer: As stated in previous posts we do not work in music and are not qualified in any professional sense other than being fans of music. So please allow us*

DONDA

blkcory’s thoughts:

The night before I finished writing this review, I had a dream that Kanye set himself on fire. When I woke up in a panic, I remembered that this man really did set himself on fire during one of the Donda live shows two weeks ago. Fam, that is completely insane…but we’ve never seen him do it before. I say all this to give you an idea as to where I’m about to go with this review. We look at Kanye West as an example of someone who always pushes the envelope regarding what we think music should sound like and gives us something we’ve never heard before.  Donda is no exception to this. “Slavery was a choice” rant or not, you have never heard anything like Donda in your whole life. 

This album is an entirely new genre of music. I cannot think of a time in recent history where an artist found a way to take gospel themes/music and combine them with secular music to create an entire project. This man has Westside Gunn and Conway on a gospel record. Are we taking in how wild that is?! This album is Sunday Service but a lot of your favourite artists were invited on stage to perform in front of the congregation. If you don’t listen to this on a Sunday morning, why did you listen fam? Too many records on here get your ready to wake up and just face the day. Amongst all of this guy’s wild antics, I actually like more songs on this album than I expected.

In a tribute album to his mother, I don’t think Kanye had the best verse anywhere on this album but in typical Kanye fashion, he was able to get the best out of all his features. This album has the best Fvio verse I have ever heard. I genuinely didn’t know this guy could rap like this.  It’s hands down my favourite verse on the whole album. The Lil’ Baby verse on “Hurricane” is hard, the Vory feature on “No Child Left Behind” is fire and of course Cudi and Ye always sound like they should make music together. 

Honestly, this is probably the first album Kanye’s put out in a few years where he sounded like he took time to put it together and create something that genuinely flowed up until all of the pt 2s at the end. However, I think his change to being more religious will result in the album receiving more criticism than warranted because some people just don’t wanna hear about God on an album. 

bangers:

Jail – Jay-Z’s on it. I’ll stop there. 

Off The Grid – this song slaps* fam

Hurricane – this song slaps (x2), the Weeknd went dumb* (this is going to be the gospel record that crosses over on to mainstream radio)

Jonah – the Durk verse has a lot of pain that you can feel on this record 

24 – try waking up to this song and feeling down, I actually dare you

Keep My Spirit Alive – Griselda’s on this, I’m not hitting skip

Jesus Lord – powerful confessions in Kanye’s verses (probably his best verses on this album after a week of listening) 

Pure Souls – Roddy Rich kills it 

No Child Left Behind – this should have been the outro song, Vory does what needed to be done

skips:

Donda chant – this did nothing for me 

God-Breathed – this song just isn’t as strong as the songs around it in the album sequence 

Tell A Vision– people need to leave Pop Smoke’s verse recordings alone, we’re doing his a disservice now 

All of the pt 2s except for Ok, Ok pt.2 – because Shensea’s on it and I’m attracted to her and currently support whatever she chooses to say in her music

e’s thoughts:

I’m going to be honest I am biased as fuck. I haven’t listened to a full Kayne West album since 808’s and Heartbreaks. Therefore, everything I say is irrelevant and feel free to call cap on me (I don’t care). With that being said, I can vehemently let you know that I am aware that Kanye West is a deeply talented man with a number of personal difficulties that he tends to shape into his music. With the changes in his personal life, he has been quite literal on art imitates life and we can hear the current state of his life with each album, with Donda not being any different.

I will say Kanye’s devotion to Christianity is demonstrated heavy in Donda and as someone who is not Christian there is a disconnect as a listener. However, his devotion to his religion he places into his music is very commendable.

What I can definitely say is that 27 songs is too many damn songs. By the time I reached halfway through the album I forgot the first half. The features are quite exquisite and are the many staples I took from it. Travis? Baby Keem? Jay-Z? Rooga? Phenomenal. If Donda was shortened to a solid 12 songs, I think this album can be a great cohesive piece.  

I read that the original iterations of Donda had more vocal features from his mother that were later removed. For an album devoted to the memory of his mother, that is something I wish he kept for the sanctity of the vision.

bangers:

Jail – Can we ever not stan a Jay Z feature?

Ok Ok – “You can hear the pain ‘cause I put my heart in it”

Praise God – Keem and Travis are wonderful

skips:

24, Moon, so many others

Certified Lover Boy

blkcory’s thoughts:

I want to start this off by saying that I think that both the album art and album title are deceiving to everyone except probably Drake. I think the masses wanted either an entire album of party records that they can play when they reunite with their friends or R&B love songs that all the women will love. This album is neither of those things. However, what I think it is as a project is actually being overlooked by a lot of people simply because it’s not what they wanted. Certified Lover Boy is essentially the memoirs of a playboy that is airing out his dirty laundry, embracing how toxic he is and then feeling remorse (no pun intended) for it all in the end. I think it’s potentially the chapter that he needed to write so that he can move forward as a man (we will find out on the next album if this was a reach). 

The discussion on the internet have been often about how people expected this to be some album that would reflect the current state of the world…I’m here to ask you, when has Drake ever done that? You must not listen to Drake’s music if you tuned in for that. The other thing I’ve been seeing a lot of is that this sounds like more of the same from Drake. Which is valid, aside from one small fact: Drake has never been this toxic before. Not for an entire album. If you really listen to the lyrics, this is the private side to Drake that we often get glimpses of but never full got to fully see. Well, the curtain is down and it’s on full display, so let’s talk about it. 

Drake starts off the album by giving us the typical update on his mental state and what’s going on around him personally. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it because it works every time. As you continue on through the album you see he proceeds to give us toxic but real lyrics like:

“Countin’ up my bodies, damn, the thing just start to pile
Judge me how you judge me, take them bitches out to trial
Fucked a hundred niggas, how them niggas love you now?”

Those lyrics are at the very beginning of the fourth song on the album fam. You have not heard him do this and he keeps it going through the whole album. On TSU the man essentially says: “this girl moved out of state, things went south for her, and she tried to figure it out. She became a stripper, she had no guidance from her mom and dad, so I became her sponsor and paid for her business ideas in exchange for frequent sex until she got morals and wanted to stop filming sextapes”…you want to tell me Drake said it just like this on all his other albums? I disagree. That middle portion from “TSU” to “Yebba’s Heartbreak” is arguably the most toxic run on the album. To go from “Pipe Down” to almost using Yebba as the vessel to say the words he couldn’t say to the woman he actually loves deep down is hectic. It’s almost like gaslighting whoever the songs are written about. It’s like saying “I will ruin you but I do care about you deeply even though I don’t show it so allow me”. From that point on in the album you get shades of the loving side of Drake and a feeling that although he’s been toxic, he’s aware and is working on himself at her expense every time. By the end of the album, you get to “The Remorse” where he acknowledges how his actions have impacted those around him and more on the burden he has to live with. 

One thing we’ve always appreciate about Drake as fans is the vulnerability of his music because it always reflected the reality of his life as we age with him. Although this might not be what we want to hear, this might be the reality of where he is in life. Reflecting on his sins and the grudges he’s held with others in the past and recognizing the error of his ways in the hectic life of being hip-hop’s biggest star. 

bangers:

Champagne Poetry – I listen to Drake albums for the intro (the second half is better than the first though)

Papi’s Home – this song slaps ( you could argue that he could have opened with this song)

Girls Want Girls – this is probably offensive but it’s also gonna be a single so… 

In the Bible – toxic fire for all the men you hate 

Love All – this is better Jay-Z verse than what was on Donda 

Fair Trade – Travis was rappin rappin, this is single worthy 

Way 2 Sexy – ladies this song isn’t for you, it’s for the guys that gained weight during this pandemic and want to feel nice about themselves (it’s not my fav but it’ll be around longer than you want it to be)

TSU – arguably my favourite song on the album (“back that thang up, it’s a wide load shawty”)

Pipe Down – I don’t know anyone that hates this song 

Yebba’s Heartbreak – beautiful record, similar to Summer is Over on Views 

No Friends In The Industry – this is a banger, can’t wait to hear this at a party/in the club 

7am On Bridle Path – arguably Drake’s best time stamp record (besides 5am in Toronto)

Fountains – The only issue with this song is that it’s not Essence. At least it’s not Essence (Remix). #StopRemixingEssence2021

You Only Live Twice – bars for all the backpack rapper fans and a crazy Wayne feature (lawdamercy*) 

The Remorse – I listen to Drake albums for the outros too, no misses here 

skips:

Race My Mind – your girl has to be coming home drunk for you to really wanna play this all the time 

IMY2 – cool record because it means there’s no more beef between Drake and Kid Cudi but I don’t think the record did what you would want it to

e’s thoughts:

I am a single Canadian woman in her 20’s which by default makes me a Drake fan. However, CLB has not given me the excitement or even the giddy shock value that previous Drake albums have gifted me. The name alone gives me the heebie jeebies. Certified Lover Boy sounds like a glorified Fuck Boy who gets manicures on Sunday’s and brings white wine to his hook ups. The tone of the album is typical Drake alluding to money, fame, trust issues and his overall insecurities that come with finding love with a massive fortune. Drizzy being Drizzy.  The album has some spectacular features, sampling “Feed the Streets” on “Knife Talk” transported me back to early Three 6 Mafia days. Tems could sing me the contents of the phone book and I’d listen to it. However, songs like “Girls Want Girls” causes immense pain to my brain and has me wanting to have a long conversation with the production team on this one.

Would I say this album is the best Drake album? No. Would I even think of putting CLB in my top 3 Drake albums? Also no. Does this album have some bangers? Of course. While this album has only been out for a week and has way too many songs for me to completely digest it, I just don’t feel the same way towards it as previous Drake albums. While albums like Take Care, Scorpion, NWTS and even his collab album What A Time To Be Alive all felt like a cohesive theme to me CLB just isn’t the same. With each Drake album I felt the growth of his artistry and here I just don’t.

bangers:

Champagne Poetry – Just soley for the Masego sample

Pipe Down – it’s a toxic banger

Knife Talk – I love me some Project Pat (& a dope Juicy J sample)

Fountains – a crooning Drake AND Tems?? Yes Please

skips:

Way 2 Sexy – While watching Drake channel his inner Jane Fonda is amusing, this song isn’t good

Girls Want Girls – It’s just offensive

Final Verdict

blkcory’s thoughts:

If we’re being honest, these guys were also competing for the title of worst album artwork of the year (and it’s a close race). Also, both of these albums are too long fam, hence why this review is so long. Drake’s album is long but Kanye’s album is damn near two hours long. That’s two worship services at church fam. That’s Sunday school twice fam. That’s two whole sermons from the pastor. At least tell us that there’s a part 1 and a part 2. This man said bun dat*, run that through for two hours in one sitting if you can do it. Anyways, all of that gets a slight pass from me because he essentially created an entirely new genre of music. However, CLB gets my pick for best album between the two. The reason being is replay value and bars. Although Donda is the more innovative and shocking album, I can play various songs from CLB throughout the week. Donda slaps on Sundays and sunny mornings. Drake showed that his pen is better than Kanye West’s at this current stage in his career. Drake might not be able to make the production that Donda is but I don’t think Kanye’s pen would enable him to write an album with bars to match the output on CLB. I came here to judge these guys as rappers, so Drake wins this round.

e’s thoughts:

I agree with the statements above. While Donda does have some great tracks and have an elevated element to them. Drake will always have his Drake-ness to him that makes him the most relatable and now has new tracks added to everyone’s ‘lightskin behaviour’ playlist.

Glossary:

Slapsto be very enjoyable (from a music standpoint)

Went Dumbto go crazy (from a creative standpoint)

Bun dat scratch that, forget that

LawdamercyLord have mercy

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