Competition in the charts between Drake and Kanye West

Drake’s Certified Lover Boy vs. Donda by Kanye West

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Photo by: Axel Antas Bergkvist

Popular rappers Drake and Kanye’s hit albums spark competition between the two.

Two of today’s most commercially successful artists, Drake and Kanye West, released their latest projects close to the same time — late August and early September. After drawn-out anticipation due to multiple delayed release dates for the albums, Drake’s Certified Lover Boy and West’s Donda combined for over one billion streams within the first week that they were made available to the public. The pair of albums hold their own style, however, Donda and Certified Lover Boy have still garnered a mass amount of attention by music fans across the world over the past few months.

Though the two albums share both similarities and differences, Midlo students have been in countless arguments trying to decide which album they believe is the best. Drake and Kanye have both been globally regarded as two of the greatest hip-hop figures of the twenty-first century, so while some students believe one album is obviously better than the other, the public may never reach a consensus.

When deciding which album they prefer, the majority of students are not only measuring Drake and Kanye’s performances on these projects, but are also looking at how some of the featured artists performed on their verses. For example, sophomore Malachi Freeman selected Drake’s album of Certified Lover Boy as his go-to pick because he enjoys listening to the featured rappers on the album. “I liked how well the features did for most of the album. My favorite song was Knife Talk with 21 Savage and Project Pat,” Freeman said.

Certified Lover Boy was better for me because of how consistent the features were for most of the album. My favorite song was Knife Talk with 21 Savage and Project Pat”

— Malachi Freeman

However, sophomore Jackson Pomeroy leans towards Kanye’s album Donda for the same reason as Freeman, except he believes this one includes more stand-out artists. “Donda is better in my opinion because of how well most of the features did on their songs. My favorite song . . . was ‘Hurricane’ (with The Weeknd and Lil Baby),” Pomeroy said.

Donda is better in my opinion because of how well most of the features did on their songs, my favorite song from Donda was Hurricane (with The Weeknd and Lil Baby).”

— Jackson Pomeroy

Students like Freeman noticed that most of the features on Certified Lover Boy elevated the songs to make it more enjoyable, which is why four of Drake’s five most popular songs on the album had at least one featured artist. The artists on these songs were the following: Travis Scott, Lil Baby, Future and Young Thug, 21 Savage, and Project Pat. This trend showed that listeners were extremely satisfied while listening to the features that were incorporated into Drake’s song.

Drake, Future and Young Thug, with NBA superstar Kawhi Leonard, a surprise guest on their radio hit “Way 2 Sexy” (Photo by Robert LIttal)

However, junior Alejandro Rivera prefers West’s album Donda because he felt the rapper had a more streamlined production and overall performance, allowing the featured artists their chance to shine.

“I liked Kanye’s album Donda more because of the production throughout the album, my favorite song is “Jonah” with Lil Durk and Vory,” Rivera said.

Kanye and Donda West on May 2007, months before she passed away. (Photo by:Vince Bucci)

As much as students found pleasure in listening to Drake and others on Certified Lover Boy, Kanye formulated an album with a sum of thirty-one guest stars, which led to most believing the album was a “hip hop celebration.” Kanye was actively making an album that remained in the gospel realm to pay homage to his mother Donda West with songs such as ” Jesus Lord” and “Believe What I Say,” but also provided energy and hype cadences in the works of “Junya Pt 2” and “Off the Grid.”

“I thought Donda was better because as I was listening to it I felt inspired. Kanye was making an album that was a movement,” freshman Tanner Fleck said.

Such opinions indicate that Kanye specifically focused on what he felt the meaning of this album was and how it would influence others, so he was then able to have the other artists on his album match his energy on all twenty-six songs. Nevertheless, students ended up being very hesitant on which album they thought was better, which may be because Drake and Kanye are two completely different artists and they both made two different albums with different meanings. As a result, most students took a neutral position.

Freshman Phoenix Andes was very reluctant to choose because of how the two albums were formatted, but he ultimately decided to choose Drake’s album. “I like Certified Lover Boy more because of how the flow and beats were in most of the songs, but it was tough for me. My favorite song was “Knife Talk” with 21 Savage and Project Pat,” Andes said.

I like Certified Lover Boy more because of how the flow and beats were in most of the songs, but it was tough for me. My favorite song was “Knife Talk” with 21 Savage and Project Pat”

— Phoenix Andes

Certified Lover Boy and Donda were both equally appreciated by most even without considering the positives and negatives of each album. Students who sided with Drake were motivated by the album’s features and the singers’ overall performance. On the other hand, those who enjoyed Kanye’s album were swayed more by his production, as well as the way he clearly spotlighted the other artists as opposed to those on Drake’s who were more in the background of the songs that they were in.

Despite the series of songs causing a difference in opinion, the pair of platinum albums successfully fulfills listeners with a variety of different beats, melodies and features so that they can continue to enjoy them for years to come.