Kanye West vs. Drake

Rap Battle of 2021


Photo by Nicolas Gendrop

Junior Colm Logan has been listening to Donda and is really enjoying the album of his favorite artist.

Nicolas Gendrop, Staff Writer

Throughout the last few decades, the rap industry has seen many rivalries, but few are stronger than this year’s rivalry between Drake and Kanye West as they compete for top chart hits in their newly released albums.

Drake released his album, “Certified Lover Boy,” five days prior to West releasing his album, “Donda.” Songs from both the albums have made top charts globally on Apple Music, Spotify, and Billboard Charts. In the week of September 10th, both albums produced a combined total of 384.2 million song streams and 210.6 million  monthly listeners on their best songs from their albums on Spotify.

The true boiling point of their beef was this year on Aug. 21, when Drake’s feature on Trippie Redd’s new album was shared to streaming platforms and the rapper took aim at Kanye again. When Drake announced the date of release for his album, West had to delay his album due to this, and it was a turning point in their battle this year. This made their competition between both their albums in charts the best battle of the year. Then on September 3rd, Drake released “Certified Lover Boy,” and fans quickly noticed that many of his lyrics were towards West. On the surface, this looks like just another move by Drake to get back at West.

“Donda” is dedicated to West’s mother, who passed away in 2007 following a cosmetic surgery procedure. For West, this is more of an achievement of texture and logistics than catharsis. During his final listening event, he had a faithful recreation of his childhood home on a hilltop in the center of Chicago’s Soldier Field.

“I’m the number one Kanye West fan in the school,” junior Colm Logan said. “I’ve been there since day one. All of my friends were listening to him, and then I just got into him because all my friends were into him.”

For West, this is his tenth studio album. The album was initially supposed to be released in July 2020 but was delayed multiple times. One year later, West setup his recording studio to complete his album in Mercedes Benz Stadium, where his first two listening events sold out more than half of his tickets in Atlanta and Chicago.

“Kanye’s album was definitely interesting, overall I really enjoyed it, and it had many good songs, but also many great songs,” Logan said. 

The top songs in West’s album have a combined 235.2 million streams on Spotify. His top song in the album ,“Hurricane,” featuring the Weeknd is described by New York Times as, “disarmingly pretty” and for the album it is a masterpiece. “Jail” features the great Jay-Z and describes how he’s overcome his problems, including his split with Kim Kardashian and parenting his kids afterwards. “Off the Grid” talks about how West devoted himself to Christianity and didn’t depend on social media in his life in recent years. 

“(My) favorite song from Ye’s album was ‘Heaven and Hell’ because of how sick and intense the beat drop is and how it sounds like it’d be on a movie soundtrack,” Logan said. 

Drake’s album “Certified Lover Boy” is dedicated to the memory of Nadia Ntuli and Miss Mercedes Morr, two of his very close friends that both died this year. Ntuli died in a motor vehicle accident in Dubai, and Morr was murdered and found dead in her Texas apartment on Aug. 29, 2021. As the king of the streaming era, Drake battled against West where the stakes were the highest they have ever been this year. Many upcoming artist like Olivia Rodrigo, Kid Laroi, Billie Eilish, and other artists are making hits both these rappers have competition, but the real competition is between both Drake and West

“What I like about Drake is his flow and great lyricism,” freshman Zarek Haleem said. “He’s very versatile; he can actually rap on drill beats and more melodic rap.”

In the first week of release “Certified Lover Boy,” it opened at No.1 on the Billboards chart with the equivalent of 613,000 sales in the U.S. The album broke the record for most streamed artist in a day and most streamed album within 24 hours on Apple Music, just days after West’s “Donda” broke it on the streaming platform.

The intro song to the album, “Champagne Poetry,” is a meaningful song referencing the birth of his son Adonis Graham and protesting against police brutality. The leading hit in Drake’s album “Way 2 Sexy” features Future, and it is one of those tunes that everyone has either heard from TikTok or just listen to if they like music to vibe to in their cars. “Trade Talk” features Travis Scott and relates to having fake friends and how people cut them out of their life either because they’re not needed or they’re finding peace for themselves. The song brings out a good message between how most people deal with others and finding people who will be loyal to them.

“My favorite song from Drake’s album is definitely ‘Fair Trade’ because of the beat and tone, and Travis Scott in the feature,” Haleem said. “Drake is just talking about how people like to diss him and how he still does his own thing and I like that about the song.”

Drake and West, with arguably the best albums of the year by far, a fierce competition and continued their rivalry and their clout. All in all, both these artists have different styles in their music and many rap fans can argue who is better between them both, but at the end of the day these two will go down as the best rap artists of the year. 

“Many people will say ‘Certified Lover Boy’ is better than ‘Donda’, making the battle between Drake and Kanye very controversial,” Haleem said. 

“I think Kanye makes better music overall,” Logan said. “He definitely won this battle against Drake.”


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