It’s been nearly three years since Drake dropped an album, and fans are eager for new music. Here’s the scoop on his next project, including when you can expect it to be released.
Will 2021 bring a new summer of Drake? Like DJ Khaled project, who released his star-studded Khaled Khaled on Apr. 30, a Drake album is more than that – it’s an event, one that usually shattered streaming and sales records. Drake (born Aubrey Graham) was supposed to release his follow-up to 2018’s Scorpion last year, but like practically everything in 2020, it was pushed back – first to the fall, then to the start of 2021, and now – well, fans are waiting patiently for an update.
June 2021 will mark eleven years since Drake released his first studio album, Thank Me Later. This debut project topped both the charts in the United States and in his homeland of Canada. It’s currently certified Platinum by the RIAA, which remarkably is his lowest-selling album to date. 2011’s Take Care (with singles “Headlines,” “Make Me Proud,” “The Motto” and the title track team-up with Rihanna) went platinum six times, a feat he would match five years later with 2016’s Views (“Hotline Bling,” “Pop Style,” and another collab with Rihanna, “Too Good.”)
In between Take Care and Views, Drake dropped 2013’s Nothing Was The Same, an album currently certified 4x Platinum. 2018’s Scorpion went Platinum five times, despite arriving to mixed reviews (it currently has a score of 67 on Metacritic, though none of Drake’s albums have a higher score than Nothing Was The Same’s 79). Even Drake’s mixtapes make money, with If Your Reading This It’s Too Late, What a Time to Be Alive, and More Life all getting certified Platinum (or more) by the RIAA. So, there’s clearly an audience that wants a new Drake Album. So, what’s the hold-up?
Here’s what we know so far.
When Will Drake New Album Be Released?
Update: Certified Lover Boy will be officially released on Sept. 3, 2021.
There was speculation that Drake would drop a new album in 2020 at the start of the year. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the fate of this then-unnamed and unconfirmed album was up in the air.
So, how did we get here? Drake had started 2020 on the right foot by teaming up with Future for “Life Is Good,” a release from Future’s High Off Life album. The song hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent eight weeks in that position while Roddy Ricch’s “The Box” ruled the chart. Drake would secure his own No. 1 with “Toosie Slide,” a song that many critics thought was both a calculating business move (“he’s made a song to push a dance designed for TikTok virality,” wrote Pitchfork, while NPR called it “a bit of trivial fun that will probably become an inescapable hit on the strength of its marketing and its catchy chorus.” Commercially, it made the Canadian rapper the first male artist to debut three songs at the top Billboard spot and his seventh overall No. 1 hit.
When Drake packaged “Toosie Slide” into the DARK LANE DEMO TAPES release in April 2020, Drake dropped this nugget of knowledge: “DARK LANE DEMO TAPES out everywhere at midnight…also my 6th STUDIO ALBUM DROPPING SUMMER 2020!!! Lucky number 6.”
If you are reading this, then you know it’s too late and that Drake missed that deadline. Drake released “Laugh Now Cry Later,” his collab with Lil Durk (which gave Drake his second Billboard Hot 100 No. 2 of 2020) in August 2020. In October, Drake announced the title of the upcoming album and that it was going to arrive in January 2021.
What Is Drake New Album Called?
Drake’s next album will be called Certified Lover Boy.
On October 24 — Drake’s 34th birthday — he released a short visual teaser for the new album. The preview was rife with scenes from Drake’s past. The video began with a little boy recreating the artwork to his So Far Gone, Drake’s breakout mixtape. Then, Drake recreated the artwork from Take Care, Nothing Was The Same, and the then-recently Dark Lane Demo Tapes. The teaser ended with a drone flying over an arena, revealing the album’s initials emblazed across the top. The teaser ended with the album’s supposed release date – January 2021.
However, the only thing Drake would drop in January is bad news. “I was planning to release my album this month, but between surgery and rehab, my energy has been dedicated to recovery,” he posted to his Instagram story. At the end of October 2020, Drake posted an Instagram Story that showed his right knee in a brace.
In 2009, Drake underwent surgery after tearing three ligaments while he was on stage, per CapitalXtra This latest medical issue could be something new or an old injury acting up. Either way, it meant that CLB was delayed — again. “I’m blessed to be back on my feet, feeling great, and focused on the album, but CLB won’t be dropping in January. I’m looking forward to sharing it with you all in 20201.
What’s Drake New Record Going To Sound Like?
Fans may have gotten a preview of what Certified Lover Boy will sound like when Drake dropped Scary Hours 2 in March 2021. The surprise release was a sequel to Scary Hours, the 2018 EP Drake put out ahead of that year’s Scorpion.
DJ Akademiks, a friend of Drake, hinted in February 2021 that Drake was “going to be dropping before April, so he’s not waiting until summer to drop his sh-t,” per Hypebeast. That “sh-t” turned out to be NOT the album, but an EP.
Scary Hours 2 featured “Wants and Needs” with Lil Baby, “Lemon Pepper Freestyle” with Rick Ross, and “What’s Next,” a song that debuted at the top of the Billboard Hot 100. It dethroned Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License,” which ruled the roost for the prior eight weeks. The other two tracks debuted at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, making Drake the first artist in history to have three songs debut in the top 3 of the Billboard Hot 100.
“What’s Next,” according to Rolling Stone’s Jeff Ihaza, features “Drake’s signature elastic flow punctuated by humble brags.” Still, the author noted that “you get the sense that bragging about being successful is getting tiresome, even for Drake.” On “Lemon Pepper Freestyle,” Drake and Rick Ross come off as “two hardened mob bosses who know their time is coming, whether it’s from a hungry new generation that’s increasingly difficult to predict, or from the pressures of adulthood.” The author also describes “Wants and Needs” as Lil Baby track that features Drake’s “new flow that manages to meander, sort of hypnotically.”
The Rolling Stone author suspects that Certified Lover Boy might be Drake’s curtain call. After all, Drake is a father and he’s in his mid-thirties. His perspective on life and the rap game would have obviously changed.
However, Drake could be priming himself for a second act, one where he’s a more mature — but still dynamic — figure in hip-hop. In 2020, he collaborated with Giveon, Headie One, Bryson Tiller, Popcaan, and Young Bleu. Earlier in 2021, he featured on Drakeo The Ruler’s “Talk to Me.” While Drake has, according to Rolling Stone, “been accused of leeching off of younger artists for relevance,” these recent features might hint at what Certified Lover Boy will sound like. It’s safe to expect a little R&B influence, possibly some Brooklyn or Latin-inspired Drill, and Drake’s signature weaving of his soft side with his tough-guy image.
Who Will Feature On Drake New Album?
As of May 2021, it’s unclear who – if there anyone – will feature on this new album. Scorpion had features from Jay-Z (“Talk Up”) and Static Major and Ty Dolla Sign (“After Dark,”), but the album’s biggest songs were “God’s Plan,” “Nice For What,” and “In My Feelings.” Drake
If Drake wants to silence those who think he’s washed and about to retire, he could recruit his fellow Toronto native (and frequent collaborator) The Weeknd for a collab. Following After Hours, The Weeknd is having arguably his hottest moment so that he could lend some shine to a Drake track. Champagne Papi could also bring PARTYNEXTDOOR, Popcaan, and other members of the OVO roster to contribute a verse.
What songs are going to be on Drake’s new album?
As of May 2021, all that is known about Certified Lover Boy’s tracklisting is that “Laugh Now Cry Later” will be a part of it. It’s possible that the tracks from Scary Hours 2 will be included, either in a deluxe edition, but now much is known.
Ultimately, 2021 will see a lot of delayed and postponed music come out. It’s quite likely that Drake’s Certified Lover Boy will be one of those records making 2021 one of the biggest years in music.