By grady boris, Staff Writer
It was as if gasoline had been poured on the proverbial “rap industry fire” months before Kanye West and Drake dropped their long-awaited albums. The two began butting heads publicly over the summer, leading to even more hype around the release of Kanye’s Donda and Drake’s Certified Lover Boy (CLB).
Donda, named in honor of Kanye West’s late mother, is a production-heavy musical project with lyricism sprinkled throughout the various tracks of the album.
The sound varies from a grimy feel with emphasis on bass in songs such as “Jail” parts one and two, while other songs such as “Moon” feature the smooth, graceful vocals of Don Toliver and Kid Cudi.
The album’s makeup is similar to some of the later albums in Kanye’s career such as Ye,Yeezus and Kids See Ghosts. On top of being slated more toward production, Donda offers an all-star line-up of more than 30 features, including Kid Cudi, Travis Scott and Jay Z.
Even so, Donda is not Kanye’s best work; My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, 808s and Heartbreaks, Graduation and Late Registration left such a mark on the music industry that it would be difficult for Donda to pass any of them. While it may not be his best work, it’s a great listen.
The second album to drop was Certified Lover Boy (CLB), Drake’s sixth studio album. The album has several features similar to Donda, but the production quality isn’t as strong as Donda’s.
However, the simplistic production style and use of samples throughout the album complement Drake’s voice and style. Drake and his features focus more on lyricism than production.
The emphasis on lyricism is fantastically introduced with the album’s opening song, “Champagne Poetry.” “Knife Talk” has the combination of a strong beat, an infectious piano chord progression and a strong feature from 21 Savage that sets the tempo for the whole song. Overall, most features are strong. The stars of the show are 21 Savage, Kid Cudi and Yebba.
Yebba’s vocals on “Yebba’s Heartbreak” help make not only one of the strongest features but also one of the strongest songs on the entire album.
Where CLB falters and Donda steps ahead is cohesion. CLB has several strong fea- turesandalotofgreatsongs on the album, but none of the songs bounce off of each oth- er, and there’s no bigger story being told. CLB is like a hodgepodge of singles on one EP, whereas Donda keeps a similar sound throughout the album, making it more of a collaborative effort rather than loose singles wrangled together.