Review: Donda by Kanye West vs Certified Lover Boy by Drake



Drake and Kanye West’s new albums have perpetuated their rivalry.

Max Lovas, Will McHale, and Charlie Raynor

Expectations for Kanye West’s “Donda” and Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy” were big; however, the debate between who has created the better album has been even bigger.

The anticipation for two of the largest artists in the world to drop their albums back-to-back while embroiled in a conflict with one another left fans expecting Drake and West to bring forth their best work. “Donda” and “CLB” were being analyzed before they were even released and many listeners stayed up late to hear them right away.

Starting with the highs of each project, “Donda” has an incredibly versatile tracklist, with catchy upbeat songs like “Believe What I Say” and “New Again” as well as more solemn, psychedelic tracks like “Come to Life” and “No Child Left Behind.”

Junior Francesco Thorick-Saboia of Long Branch listened to both projects and preferred what West had to offer.

“While I personally enjoyed ‘CLB,’ ‘Donda’ is a more impactful and emotional album that offers better production, mixing, features, lyrics, and it is simply more consistent,” Thorick-Saboia said.

Despite how much comparison there has been between “Donda” and “CLB,” they are distinctly different in sound and style. “CLB” has a monotonous sound, although Drake still comes through with a number of hits as he always does. “Fair Trade” with Travis Scott and “Way 2 Sexy” with Future and Young Thug are two songs with massive replayability. These songs feature stellar hooks, exciting production and animated performances from all of the artists featured. Junior Joey Esposito of Tinton Falls preferred “CLB” for the fun, accessible songs that Drake offered.

“I liked ‘CLB’ more than ‘Donda’ because I find myself coming back to listen to ‘CLB’ more often. The songs are catchier, more fun, and better to listen to on a day to day basis,” Esposito said.

Still, both “Donda” and “Certified Lover Boy” are certainly not without flaws.

“Donda” is not the most accessible album due to its 27 total tracks, some of which take away from the listening experience. The album is experimental, and while some of these songs may feel exhilarating, the execution is sometimes lackluster. “Tell the Vision” features Pop Smoke’s recycled, poorly mixed vocals over a dull piano and “God Breathed” has a chorus that can get repetitive, dragging on for almost six minutes. Occasional misses, some questionable mixing and length aside, the lyrics and story West has provided make for a heart-wrenching and inspirational album.

While “Donda”’s weak moments resulted from experimentation, “Certified Lover Boy” does not have any tracks that are objectively bad, but rather many songs that are simply forgettable. Drake does not take many risks in the project, instead sticking to a formula that has brought him success in the past, but feels a bit tired. “Yebba’s Heartbreak” is a slow, romantic song typical to Drake’s songwriting, while “Love All” with Jay-Z felt lackluster for how high-caliber a collaboration between two rappers who are regarded as being among the best of all time should be. Though many songs throughout “CLB” are written with the same technique in mind, Drake has still managed to top the charts with “CLB,” as it has spent five weeks at number one so far.

Considering each album’s strengths and weaknesses, West’s “Donda” is the greater album because of the creativity and originality he delivers. West provides not just catchy music, but an entire experience that connects with and inspires the listener with his story, making it the better album.