Certified Lover Boy vs Donda – A Song By Song Breakdown

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We’ve done a bit of a thing here in the last year, doing song for song breakdowns of the Verzuz battles.  So, we thought, why not do a song for song battle for the albums everyone is talking about right now!  Here’s our song by song breakdown of Certified Lover Boy vs Donda.  Kanye vs Drake.  With a bit of insight from some folks in the music industry.

Two of the most highly anticipated albums of the year were released in back to back weeks.  And it just happens to be 2 artists who have been trading shots for some time now.  Side note: Technically, Kanye is signed to Def Jam and Drake is signed to Republic Records, but both artists are under the Universal Music Group umbrella.  So nobody wants this beef to escalate any more than it already has.

These releases were good for Hip-Hop, which has had somewhat of a quiet year, despite releases from J.Cole, Tyler, The Creator, Nas, and DJ Khaled and so many more big names. And with Kendrick on the way, there is a lot more to come.

Kanye’s Donda went number one in it’s first week, and broke all types of streaming records in the first day of it’s release and Drake’s Certified Lover Boy has now pretty much broken all those records in less than a week’s time.  So a song by song breakdown of Certified Lover Boy vs Donda is just fitting.

Here goes:
We have Certified Lover Boy taking it 15 to 11 over Donda.

Adjusted score at the end.

Track 1:  Kanye – “Donda Chant” featuring Syleena Johnson/”Jail” featuring Jay-z vs. Drake – “Champagne Poetry”

Winner: Drake
“Champagne Poetry”

Both songs kind of hit a second gear mid-track.  “Jail” is just one long chorus until it is pretty much saved by Hov.  Drake takes us from album intro to mid-album form all on one song… and the sample is crazy.

Track 2:  Kanye – “God Breathed” featuring Vory vs. Drake – “Papi’s Home”

Winner: Kanye West
“God Breathed”

“Papi’s Home” is one of the Drake joints I enjoy, but it’s more of the same. i.e. “Jodeci Freestyle,” “Emotionless.” “God Breathed” is mostly beat driven, but it’s a feeling, and it sets the stage. I appreciate that much more than another okay sounding Drake song.
Lamont Sappleton, Founder & Host of The People Talking Podcast @thepeopletalkingpodcast

Track 3:  Kanye featuring Fivio Foreign & Playboi Carti – “Off The Grid”  vs. Drake featuring Lil Baby “Girls Want Girls” 

Winner:  Kanye West
Kanye featuring Fivio Foreign & Playboi Carti – “Off The Grid”

“Off The Grid” is a vibe. The word play, the inspiration in the record, & the transformations with the music..…it’s just perfect.  “Girls on girls” is fun, it’s the sound everyone loves and vibes to right now & it’s a sexy record. Classic Drake!

Sapphire Monet, singer & songwriter   |  “ROCK & ROLL” Single & Visual Coming Soon!

Track 4:  Kanye – “Hurricane” featuring Lil Baby & The Weeknd vs. Drake featuring Lil Durk & Giveon – “In The Bible” 

Winner:  Kanye West
Kanye – “Hurricane” featuring Lil Baby & The Weeknd

Both tracks have a R&B singer and a rap feature, but that’s about the only comparison.  The Weeknd is probably the difference here and if I told you he was on the Kanye project and not the Drake project that would probably be surprising.  Kanye’s beat makes up for Kanye’s verse.

Track 5:  Kanye – “Praise God” featuring Baby Keem & Travis Scott vs. Drake featuring Jay-z – “Love All”

Winner:  Kanye West
Kanye – “Praise God” featuring Baby Keem & Travis Scott

“Praise God” has a spooky, ethereal, hard hitting beat. The 808’s match perfectly with the organs holding the song together. Kanye effortlessly floats over his verse and hook. Travis Scott does his Travis Scott thing, and Baby Keem brings a fun, Kendrick like flow and energy. Overall track is a 4.3/5.
“Love All” is obviously a highlight of Certified Lover Boy, for the simple fact it features Jay-Z. The beat is quintessential underwater filter minimal drum Drake beat. Drake rap sings about feeling underappreciated by folks around him and wanting to avoid confrontation. Jay-Z does the opposite and raps about how now, it’s about “violence,” since people can’t seem to stay out of way of his buddies and his billions. Basically, Jay made clear he is here for all smoke. Overall, track is about a 3.7/5.
Sciryl Cooper, Hip-Hop artist, 1/2 of Rap Duo Mankind

Track 6:  Kanye – “Jonah” featuring Lil Durk & Vory vs. Drake featuring Travis Scott – “Fair Trade”

Winner:  Drake
Drake featuring Travis Scott – “Fair Trade”

I like Vory, but not a fan of what he does on the hook for “Jonah.”  Travis Scott’s verse is more intense and hits harder than Durk’s verse.  Drake > Kanye.

Track 7:  Kanye –  “Ok Ok” featuring Fivio Foreign, Lil Yatchy & Rooga vs. Drake featuring Future & Young Thug – “Way 2 Sexy”

Winner: Kanye West

Kanye –  “Ok Ok” featuring Fivio Foreign, Lil Yatchy & Rooga

Wish Kanye would have let these artists know that this was going to be an edited album.  This song would have been much better without the gaps where obvious cuss words exist. “Way 2 Sexy” is the lead single, but it feels like a joke. Drake could have provided way more.

Track 8:  Kanye – “Junya” featuring Playboi Carti vs. Drake – “TSU”

Winner:  Drake
Drake – “TSU”

Both tracks are boring, but for different reasons.  Playboi Carti provides no value to the song, at all.  I get that folks are mad about the Kelz sample/credit, but I have the feeling this song grows on folks.

40 Explains The R Kelly CreditNoah “40” Shebib Explains R. Kelly Credit On Drake Album

Track 9:  Kanye – “Believe What I Say” vs. Drake featuring Future – “N 2 Deep”

Winner:  Kanye West
Kanye – “Believe What I Say”

I miss the old Kanye… Chop up the Soul Kanye. “Believe What I Say” is one of the few moments on Donda that hearken back to The College Dropout/Late Registration era and I’m all the way here for it. While “N 2 Deep” is another stellar collaboration between Drake and Future, it doesn’t give me that warm fuzzy feeling of Ye rapping over a Lauryn Hill sample.
🤷🏿‍♂️Nate, Hip-Hop artist, 1/2 of Rap Duo Mankind
@mankindmusicacademy #Nates38Special

Track 10:  Kanye – “24” featuring Sunday Service Choir vs. Drake – “Pipe Down”

Winner:  Kanye West

“24” is the better song in my opinion. The musical composition is way stronger, and it makes you actually feel like you are in a church. I feel like this song could literally bring someone out of dark place. “Pipe down” is a great song, and the bar work is great, but the overall music composition doesn’t move me as much.
Mandella Eskia, Hip-Hop artist, new music available on Spotify

Track 11:  Kanye – “Remote Control” featuring Young Thug vs. Drake featuring Yebba – “Yebba’s Heartbreak”/”No Friends In The Industry”

Winner:  Drake

Feels like DJ Khaled is missing from the Drake track, but it’s some quick Drizzy spicy talking easily one of the better songs from CLB.  The Yebba Interlude had no factor in this decision.  “Remote Control” is actually one of the better Hip-Hop tracks on Donda, but doesn’t bring enough to the table.

Track 12:  Kanye – “Moon” featuring Don Toliver & Kid Cudi vs. Drake featuring 21 Savage & Project Pat – “Knife Talk”

Winner:  Drake
Drake featuring 21 Savage & Project Pat – “Knife Talk”

I’m team Drake for everything. Drake’s songs are better and more catchy. I don’t think Kanye’s records have any reply value.
Shawn Foxx, Singer/Songwriter, Influencer, Tik-Tok Personality

Track 13:  Kanye – “Heaven and Hell” vs. Drake – “7am On Bridle Path”

Winner: Drake
Drake – “7am On Bridle Path”

Rare solo track from both projects.  “7am” sounds like something that was left off If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, but it’s still a much more complete song compared to “Heaven and Hell.”

Track 14:  Kanye – “Donda” featuring Stallone & The World Famous Tony Williams vs. Drake – “Race My Mind”

Winner:  Drake

Obviously “Donda” is a touching, heartfelt song because of his mother’s voice on it. It’s good. “Race My Mind” is not Drake’s best song, but it’s a smooth, mid-tempo song you can enjoy. In the end “Race My Mind” just has more replay value, while “Donda” feels more like a personal tribute to Kanye’s mother, which is sweet but I’m not rocking it over and over again.
Marlon McCaulsky, Author/screenplay writer
Facebook & Twitter

Track 15:  Kanye – “Keep My Spirit Alive” featuring Conway the Machine, KayCyy & Westside Gunn vs. Drake featuring Tems – “Fountains”

Winner: Drake
Drake featuring Tems – “Fountains”

Yeezy feels out the round,  jabbing with Westside Gunn’s adlibs ( Brrrrrrrrrrt, boom boom boom!). He’s dropped by a right hand Drake throws from his longing heart, a modern day version of Marvin’s “Come Live With Me”.  Easy round for the certified lover boy.
Jeffrey Barreau, Music Journalist, Hip-Hop Afficionado

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