For the past couple of years, the music industry has witnessed a shift in nearly all aspects as new generations of music listeners have expanded their listening pallets and reevaluated what makes a music project truly great. No greater example of this shift can be found than in the fan reaction to the newest projects from Kanye West and Drake.
Legends of their respective eras, there’s been no shortage of drama between the two creators as the countdown to their respective albums ticked down. This tension reached a head with the release of Kanye’s Donda, which dropped to extensive praise from music critics and fans alike.
Despite the gospel approach that Kanye has taken to his everyday life as well as music, Donda felt more like classic Kanye than any project he’s released in the last decade. With inspired production and passionate instrumentation, Donda can make a solid claim to being the best produced album of the year.
As the name would indicate, Donda is a tribute to Kanye West’s late mother, Donda West. The album is filled with references to the West family matriarch and the spiritual connection that West still has with her. While no one would ever mistake Kanye for an all-time great lyricist, the passion that was put on display on tracks where West did rap was palpable.
Looking at Certified Lover Boy by Drake, listeners get more of the same of what can be expected from the Canadian rapper with a mix of rapping and R&B. Unlike Donda, CLB was built around its features and lacked a solid direction theme wise, taking a more abstract approach compared to the classic albums of the Boy’s hay day.
While Donda and CLB both featured long track lists, Drake’s final song count of 21 felt more bloated than West’s project, despite Donda having a grand total of 27 songs. While Donda leaned heavily on its production, much to its benefit, CLB banked on star power, sometimes at the sacrifice of fit on a given track.
While CLB’s production was by no means lackluster, this lack of fit with guest features proved to be a detriment to the final product as the audience received it. Despite all of this however, Drake performed as a rapper to his highest level since Views in 2016, with tracks such as Champagne Poetry, Girls Want Girls, and Fair Trade being some of the album’s standouts.
Regardless of the rapping ability that was put on display on CLB, there were a fair share of skippable songs that appeared during the middle parts of the album. There were more hit songs on CLB compared to Donda, but this is mainly due to the makeup of each project, with Donda’s clear theme working if it’s fa or.
While neither album was bad, they were both made for different purposes and audiences. If you’re a fan of great production and instrumentation, Donda is the project to go to. Likewise, if you’re looking for good beats and pristine rapping, CLB would have the advantage. Ultimately, it would have to come down to personal preference and what you as a listener value more in a song, but it definitely wasn’t a landslide in favor of one album over the other.