Kanye vs Drake: Between Donda and Certified Lover Boy(CLB)? by VOFO.
If you're a fan of Kanye West and (or) Drake, the past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind. You don't even need to be a fan at all to have seen the critics, articles, and social media posts online surrounding Ye's DONDA and Drizzy's Certified Lover Boy.
In a battle for streams, sales, and overall success, Kanye West’s Donda and Drake’s Certified Lover Boy are head-to-head. 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 29th, while Certified Lover Boy dropped a week later on September 3rd.
The saga between Kanye West and Drake continues. The pair’s on-and-off beef dates all the way back to 2009 when Drake seemingly took shots at ‘Ye on Trippie Red’s “Betrayal” track.
Ye and Drizzy have been locking horns lately in a heated quarrel, making album triumph even more intense. Kanye West dropped Donda over the weekend after failing to meet his first release date… and second… and third. In awkward (perhaps intentional?) timing, rapper Drake also released his latest album, Certified Lover Boy on September 3rd.
DONDA released prior to Drake’s Certified Lover Boy, however, just before it dropped, West apparently leaked Drake’s Toronto home address to the public.
The petty move seems to have occurred after the release of CLB, where Drake seemingly called out Kanye in his new track “7Am on Bridle Path.” Earlier this week, Kanye’s manager even confirmed that the pair’s beef could be reignited once again if The Boy bashes Ye on his new album.
According to HighSnobiety, Drake’s Certified Lover Boy holds a firm winning place over Kanye’s Donda.
The outlet states: “Drake’s album is refreshing and incredibly well-executed, whereas Kanye’s has been described by many critics as chaotic and unfinished.”
This point makes a lot of sense, given that West reportedly added tweaks to the album over and over again before release.
NME, on the other hand, completely disagreed, writing: “On his sixth studio album, Drizzy sounds jaded and dull, treading water while he once again whines about women and fame.”
The publication gave Drake’s album a measly two stars… yikes!
The Guardian gave Donda a poor rating of 2/5, suggesting: “There is some sustained brilliance here, but unfortunately it comes from the guest stars – and at 108 minutes, this long-awaited album is in need of an edit.”
The same outlet boasted CLB 3/5, opening the review with: “Has hip-hop’s most self-pitying superstar finally grown up? The answer delivered by another album of toasts, boasts and dubious love songs is clear: you bet he hasn’t.”
Rolling Stone valued West’s album at 2/5, stamping Donda as: “an overlong mess, dotted with moments of sincerity and some spectacular music.”
It seems as though both albums have a mixed bag of opinions. The general consensus in terms of Donda is that it feels ‘unfinished’, whereas CLB is lacking due to Drake’s ‘overdone’ love songs.
Both Kanye and Drake are highly attuned to the power of putting out commemorative clothing for sale. Ye more or less revolutionized the merch business model during his Yeezus and Life of Pablo tours, and each of his three Donda listening events came with its own swarm-inducing wares. (Not to mention the crew-issued “Donda” tactical vest that recently fetched $20,000 on the resale market.)
The Certified Lover Boy merch has also had a prolonged rollout; the first round of Nike-branded album apparel dropped back in October 2020. Given that Drake is known for Instagram caption-ready lyrics, it's not surprising that his merch is more meme-ready. (Thanks to the artist Damien Hirst, the album cover, which features twelve pregnant-woman emojis, seems to have been created in the same vein.)
The FANS & Cancel Culture:
No matter how much DaBaby might rap about food being taken out of his daughters’ mouths, the DONDA events expose cancel culture for the fallacy it is: look at DaBaby’s and Manson’s monthly streaming figures and you’ll see that neither of their careers have really been cancelled at all.
Compared to rape survivors and sufferers of homophobic abuse, the idea that DaBaby and Manson are in any way "victims" is laughable.
It has been days since Drake dropped his anticipated album Certified Lover Boy, and the record itself has been met with mixed reviews, ranging from people singing praises, to others expressing that they thought it was boring and unoriginal. But the one thing that stood out the most is that on the album's track "TSU," R. Kelly is credited as a composer and lyricist.
R. Kelly has recently stood trial in New York Federal Court for sex trafficking, as well as grooming and abuse, and a woman testified at the trial explaining that the singer had been grooming her at just 15 years old. He was also accused of threatening victims that were testifying last year but has continued to plead not guilty.
The inclusion and platforming of alleged sexual predators and overall problematic people seem to be a common theme, with Kanye West's choice to bring out Marilyn Manson on stage at his third DONDA listening party, and featuring homophobic rapper DaBaby on "Jail Pt. 2," only being last week.
On twitter some users came forward to highlight their displeasure towards both albums;
Two of the biggest rappers in the world credited R Kelly and Marilyn Manson on their albums this week... tell us again how accusations end careers
— The Speak Up Space (@TheSpeakUpSpace) September 3, 2021
R. Kelly, while currently on trial for sexual abuse of countless Black women and girls, is going to be making money off the most anticipated album of the year thanks to Drake giving him a songwriting credit on #CertifiedLoverBoy
And that's why both #CLB and #DONDA are trash.
— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) September 3, 2021
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 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.