Donda vs. CLB

by Siddharth Athota ’23

Source: The Forum – The Student Newspaper of the Latin School of Chicago

Published Nov. 4th, 2021

The releases of both Donda and Certified Lover Boy (aka. CLB), was much anticipated amongst the hip-hop/rap community. Although the hype for both releases was high, there’s still much debate today about which album is objectively better.

Donda is Kanye West’s newest album; released on August 29, 2021, it contains songs dedicated to his mother, Donda West. The album was in production for 18 months before its final release. Due to mental health battles and fights with collaborators, the album was pushed back many times before finally releasing. The hype cycle for this album was immense, as the original release date was more than a year earlier on July 24, 2020. It allowed the album to build hype and excitement before the final release.

Canadian rapper and social media influencer Drake came out with his hit album Certified Lover Boy on September 3, 2021, breaking streaming records within the first week. CLB didn’t have as much weight behind it compared to Donda, but rising tensions between Drake and Kanye fueled the hype for the album. The five day release difference between the albums inevitably led to many fan-fueled comparisons.

No comparison between the two albums will be entirely accurate: both albums are different at their core. Most fans can agree that both albums will be in rotation for a long time to come. In terms of artistic risks between the albums, Donda takes more, and it isn’t close. Kanye’s approach to creating Donda was unmatched in terms of sound incorporation. The songs in Donda don’t connect very well, but the overall mix of two competing art styles (gospel and rap) result in one of Kanye’s most intriguing projects. 

On the other hand, CLB has stronger rapping and will certainly have greater successes over time. However, Donda has better production, more instantly memorable moments, and took more creative risks. 

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