From the very first glance, Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy” and Kanye’s “Donda” are comically opposite from each other. The cover of Drake’s new album (put together by noted pot-stirrer Damien Hirst) gives the impression that it was created by someone who was given a very poor briefing on Warhol, while Kanye’s is simply pitch black. The cover art is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to just how different these albums are.
Drake’s album doesn’t attempt to stray from his previous work, and as Pitchfork observes, “Drake seems to be doing what he thinks Drake would do”. There are high points of the album, but every one of them proves to be an exception rather than a rule. “Girls Want Girls” is a fun track with memorable lyrics, and “Way 2 Sexy” borders on a comedy skit in the best possible way.
But the majority of the album seems to be the same regurgitated bemoaning that has marked the entirety of his career, and overall there is a whole lot of “fan service for people that still thrill at hearing a guy complain about text messages“, as Slate mentioned in their review.
“Donda”, meanwhile, has many more memorable moments than Drake’s album (as it should, considering the album is half an hour longer). The instrumental choices are exciting, and the organ on tracks such as “Junya”, “Pure Souls” and “Come to Life” go hand in hand with Kanye’s love and worship for Jesus—one of the more prominent themes on the album—along with his love for his late mother and his ongoing divorce with Kim Kardashian.
Regarding success on the music charts, though, Drake continues to be on top. “Certified Lover Boy” had the biggest 24-hour debut in both Spotify and Apple Music history, replacing the record for his 2018 album “Scorpion” on Spotify.
“Donda” is currently occupying 23 spots on the Billboard Hot 100 chart as of the week of Sept. 11, but considering that, according to Rolling Stone, “‘Certified Lover Boy’ out-streamed ‘Donda’ in just Three Days,” Drake is sure to topple that in the upcoming week.
Furthermore, twenty songs off of “Certified Lover Boy” (out of twenty-one songs, for those counting) are in the Spotify Top 50, a chart that becomes increasingly more important everyday as the popularity of streaming services shows no signs of halting.
The Billboard chart model, while still the marker used for determining if a song is #1 or not, is weekly and cannot keep up with the demands of an internet where a song can go viral in an hour and be forgotten the next.
Spotify doesn’t have to worry about gathering data for radio play and physical units, and can constantly update the charts on their service to reflect what is trending at any given moment. As shown with how Drake’s album is already a numerically proven hit before even landing on the Billboard charts, this could put the Billboard charts in danger of becoming obsolete unless they commit to constantly changing structure.
“Donda” is far from a flop, as being the second biggest album of 2021 isn’t bad. However, Drake proves to be unstoppable with what may become his biggest album yet. Nonetheless, there are sure to be many more songs and albums to come from both Drake and Kanye in the future.
Natalie Katsaros can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.