Drake is back.
The Canadian hip hop star released his first new album since 2018 last night. He was actually a couple of hours late sending “Certified Lover Boy” to streaming services. Wise people on the East Coast went to sleep. But a few on the West Coast and other places kept vigil.
What they got was a long, kind of turgid throwback album with lots of samples and guest stars and not a lot of new ideas. None of that matters, does it? You must recall that Drake’s biggest hit of all was “Hotline Bling,” which relied totally on a sample of Mel & Tim’s R&B hit, “Why Can’t We Live Together.” And so, the kick off track here is taken from the Beatles’ “Michelle.”
What makes Drake’s “Champagne Poetry” a sampling notable is that it’s a double sample. “Michelle” was already sampled by someone named Masego on his own track called “Navajo.” So Drake lifted that sample for himself. It’s a sample sale! What makes any of this original is…nothing!
Nevertheless, “Certified Lover Boy” shot straight to number 1 on iTunes over night, displacing Kanye West’s “Donda,” and taking over the streaming charts.
I didn’t realize this but the Beatles have found themselves in over 1,000 sampling situations over the years. “Michelle” was sampled in 1985 by Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick for “The Show.” So this is not a new idea. But I’ll bet it’s an expensive one. To get “Michelle” now, I doubt Paul McCartney let it go for anything less than a goodly sum. So “Certified Lover Boy” starts with that amount on its Profit and Loss statement.
Who gets the Grammy when Drake is nominated? Paul McCartney. He wrote the song. In 1965.
Here”s the recipe. You take the Beatles:
and you get Champagne Poetry