Australia’s affair with lover boy Drake hits new climax

Certified Lover Boy is a certified hit. Canadian rapper Drake’s new album has broken records on its way to a top spot on the local ARIA albums chart.

On Friday, the rapper set an ARIA record for most tracks on the top 50 singles chart in any one week, with 20 of the album’s 21 tracks – the sole holdout being its weighty closer, The Remorse – featuring on ARIA’s latest top 50 singles chart, including five in the top 10.

Drake’s new album Certified Lover Boy has been a global smash.Credit:Universal Music Group

Following its release last Friday, Certified Lover Boy has also dominated streaming both globally and in Australia.

On Spotify, it beat Drake’s own record for most single-day streams on the platform with 153 million streams, eclipsing the 132 million streams his last album Scorpion earned in July 2018. It also became the biggest album debut ever on Apple Music, beating the 170 million streams Scorpion earned in its first 24 hours in July 2018.

By last weekend, all of the album’s 21 songs were in the top 40 charts on both Spotify and Apple Music in Australia.

The album’s success marks Drake’s fourth #1 in Australia since Views topped ARIA’s album chart in April 2016.

Despite lukewarm reviews, the album – which Drake had prefaced as “a combination of toxic masculinity and acceptance of truth” – coasts on the rapper’s charismatic personality and ever-conflicted worldview from the frontlines of an extravagant lifestyle, empty romances, perceived industry slights (“It’s the pretty boys versus the petty boys,” he hilariously says on opener Champagne Poetry), and newfound responsibilities around co-parenting his three-year-old son.

It also includes some intriguing power moves befitting a rapper who was the most-streamed artist of the last decade, according to Spotify – including samples of The Beatles’ Michelle and Right Said Fred’s I’m Too Sexy. The video for the latter track, Way 2 Sexy, was YouTube’s top-trending clip for the week with over 18 million views.

Interestingly, Drake’s 20-track ARIA chart record beats out a record set by Kanye West just last week, when 19 of the 27 songs on his new album Donda made the ARIA top 50 singles chart, surpassing previous milestones held by Post Malone and Michael Jackson (17 each).

Donda, which features extensive production credits from Aussie duo FnZ, had topped ARIA’s albums chart last week – a short-lived accolade considering Drake’s current dominance – to also mark West’s fourth #1 album in Australia. (A representative from Universal Music said, while unable to reveal local sales figures, Certified Lover Boy outsold Donda by “almost 3 to 1” during this week’s chart battle.)

Kanye West onstage during a Donda listening event in July.Credit:Getty

The pair’s chart and streaming skirmish echoes a wider feud that’s been taking place across tracks and social media in recent weeks, bad blood that stems all the way back to 2018 when rapper Pusha T, on his album Daytona, which was produced by West, referenced allegations that Drake used a ghostwriter for his rhymes.

An ongoing back-and-forth at the time resulted in Pusha T’s explosive diss track The Story of Adidon, where the Clipse rapper revealed that Drake had a secret son, private information many suggested was disclosed by West.

After a dormant few years, Drake reignited the feud in a guest verse on Trippie Redd’s song Betrayal this August, taking aim at both West’s age and his infamous support of Donald Trump. Later that week, West posted (and then quickly removed) Drake’s Toronto home address on Instagram, an incident Drake references on Certified Lover Boy’s standout 7am on Bridle Path when he raps, “Give that address to your driver, make it your destination/ Instead of just a post out of desperation.”

While exhausting for music fans who have no interest in picking sides between two of the pop world’s most vitally creative artists, the attention-grabbing feud has at least benefited one party: both Drake and West’s wildly successful album releases share a parent company in major label Universal Music Group.

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