It’s been more than a year since Drake released “Laugh Now, Cry Later,” which was billed as the lead single from a new album called Certified Lover Boy. In the interim, he’s pushed back the album a couple times and released the stopgap EP Scary Hours 2, which ended up becoming a record-setting smash hit. Now, after a lengthy buildup that saw tensions between Drake and Kanye West reigniting, CLB is finally here, ridiculous cover art and all.
Certified Lover Boy is Drake’s sixth proper album and his first since 2018’s blockbuster double LP Scorpion, which included the #1 hits “God’s Plan,” “Nice For What,” and “In My Feelings.” Those songs feel practically ancient now, but it doesn’t feel like Drake has gone more than three years between albums because Drake never really goes away. He had top 10 hits with Chris Brown and Rick Ross in 2019, hit #1 with “Toosie Slide” from his largely forgettable Dark Lane Demo Tapes mixtape in 2020, shot back to #2 with the aforementioned “Laugh Now, Cry Later” last summer, and boxed out the top three spots on the Hot 100 with the songs from Scary Hours 2.
Although Drake’s had a heart shaved into his hair for a full calendar year, in another sense his CLB rollout has been succinct and maximal. He teased the release date by cryptically interrupting SportsCenter last week, confirmed it while revealing the cover art Monday, and announced the guest features with a series of billboards in the artists’ home cities. Those artists include Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Travis Scott, Rick Ross, Kid Cudi, Lil Baby, Young Thug, Future (twice), 21 Savage, Giveon, Ty Dolla $ign, Project Pat, Yebba, Tems, and Lil Durk (though not on “Laugh Now, Cry Later,” which isn’t on the album after all).
CLB also has spoken word from Nicki Minaj; samples of the Beatles, the Notorious B.I.G., Montell Jordan, and Right Said Fred; and unfortunately a lyricist/composer credit for R. Kelly on the track “TSU,” which also credits Timbaland and Justin Timberlake and samples ‘N Sync’s cover of Christopher Cross’ “Sailing.” (It’s as yet unclear whether Kelly was directly involved or has been interpolated or something.)
OK, here’s the album:
Certified Lover Boy is out now on OVO/Republic.