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192 words about Certified Lover Boy
This is Drake fan-fiction
I have a theory espoused to little fanfare on Twitter that every rapper should have to make either a Blueprint or a Daytona at some point. This is a late-career thing: either 12 regal and sumptuously overproduced edicts from the boardroom, or just a razor-sharp shiv of an LP, a throwback game a few years before retirement. Drake’s problem is that he keeps trying to do both on the same record, and what he actually needs to make is his Thriller. He has already reinvented pop and R&B and lorded as a benevolent but unquestioned hegemon of mainstream rap for most of the 2010s; he is still good at playing the half-dozen Drakes clustered, Klump-like, around the dining room table. But what Certified Lover Boy should have been, and isn’t, is an album that unifies all of those voices into a new whole; that panders, unapologetically, to wedding receptions and stadiums and minivans and nightclubs simultaneously; that does not sample the Beatles or namedrop Michael Jackson but aims directly to compete with them in a metric other than sales. That, or dad raps. Rap about Adonis more, man!