Battle of the Goats: Donda vs. Certified Lover Boy


Courtesy of The New York Times

Kanye West and Drake battle for the Billboard Top 100.

Rohun Voruganti, Sports Editor

Drake and Kanye West have been running the rap game for some time now. Some may argue because of Kanye’s recent behavior and underwhelming music that Drake is significantly better. I argue that due to Kanye’s early classic albums like Graduation and My Dark Twisted Fantasy, he was still in the running for the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) of rap.

Recently, the two released albums way past their original release date. Kanye West dropped his tenth studio album, Donda, on August 29 in honor of his late mother. Drake dropped his sixth studio album, Certified Lover Boy on Sept. 3, nine months after the expected drop date. Unlike Drake, Kanye was mysterious throughout summer, giving false drop dates and tweeting and deleting tracklists.

Certified Lover Boy came out very strong. The production on the intro “Champagne Poetry” had one of the best beat samples, from Navajo by Masego. My personal favorite songs, “Knife Talk” and “No Friends in the Industry”, have an electric flow and bring Drake’s fun, hit-making ability to the album. “Knife Talk” also featured 21 Savage with a catchy-verse, making for a base-heavy song that brings me back to his 2016 prime.

“Way Too Sexy” is also a fan favorite after hearing the dynamic duo Drake and Future had fun writing this song. In the background, listeners hear a sample from Right Said Fred’s song “I’m Too Sexy” followed by a beat drop and Future doing what he does best. However, with all the highs, this album had some lows as well. The album in whole could have been much shorter, as it features many tracks that are unfortunately forgettable which is very unlike Toronto’s King. Especially in the second half of the album, songs like “Papi’s Home”, “The Remorse”, and “Pipe Down” should not have made the cut for this album.  There’s nothing more disappointing than an all-time great under-performing with generic songs, recycled beats, and dull bars. I would overall rate this album 8.2/10.

Donda (named after Kanye’s late mother) started out (some might say) dull with a fifty-two-second track just saying the word “Donda”. Some theories include that it is her heartbeat right before she dies. Other fans think that the Donda Chant is meant to represent the rapper’s grief at losing his mother, as her name is repeated over a hundred times. The incessant repetition of Donda could also represent the constant and intrusive thoughts of mourning as you process the loss of someone you love.

Once we dive into the music, we can see the new God-focused, spiritual Kanye that fans are skeptical about. Titles like “Praise God”, “Jonah”, and “24” remind listeners of West’s reliance upon his faith to get him through the many trials and tribulations that seem to find him.

The production on “Jail”, “Hurricane”, and “Moon” drive this album to the forefront with amazing beats and an ethereal experience. Perhaps the biggest way in which Donda failed was that structurally, its twenty-seven songs are a lot to try to string together. Kanye had too many ideas coming together and because he didn’t focus on some, a few of the songs felt incomplete. The album was much better than previous ones including JESUS IS KING, ye, and Jesus is Born. The biggest thing this album had against it was its length, but Kanye did a good job of conveying his new ideals. Overall, I would rate this album a 7.1/10.

All in all, this album has become the tie-breaker in their astounding careers. In my opinion, Kanye has had just as many 10/10 albums as Drake has had, and even though both albums weren’t the best they still performed very well. In the end, both rappers deserve the respect of everyone but for now, the King of Toronto reigns supreme.