Drake might finally be releasing his long-teased album Certified Lover Boy next week. A cryptic clip that aired on ESPN’s SportsCenter shows someone holding a sign that reads “CLB September 3.” A representative for Drake did not confirm a September 3 release date to Rolling Stone, but did tell the publication that the video can be taken “at face value.” The SportsCenter Twitter account alluded to the footage later in the day. Representatives for Drake and ESPN have not responded to Pitchfork’s requests for comment and information.
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Drake first announced Certified Lover Boy, his formal Scorpion follow-up, in August 2020 when he also released “Laugh Now Cry Later.” A few months later, he teased a January 2021 release, but the album, of course, did not materialize. Instead, Drake released his Scary Hours 2 EP, featuring three tracks. He later featured on Nicki Minaj’s “Seeing Green,” Brent Faiyaz’s “Wasting Time,” Smiley’s “Over the Top,” and Trippie Redd’s “Betrayal.”
On “Betrayal,” Drake rapped “All these fools I’m beefin’ that I barely know/Forty-five, 44 (Burned out), let it go/Ye ain’t changin’ shit for me, it’s set in stone,” as quoted by Genius. His lyrics appeared to reignite a simmering beef with Kanye West. Notably, the ever-changing iTunes pre-order page for West’s new album Donda lists a September 5 release date.
Last year, Drake dropped his Dark Lane Demo Tapes, a 14-track release featuring “Toosie Slide,” his Future collaboration “Desires,” and more. In 2019, Drake released Care Package, a compilation of tracks originally released between 2010 and 2016. The project brought fan favorites—such as “Girls Love Beyoncé” and “How About Now”—to streaming services for the first time.
Dark Lane Demo Tapes was the first Drake project in 10 years that didn’t debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, ending the streak that began with the release of Thank Me Later in 2010. He made an appearance on Lil Wayne’s Apple Music radio program Young Money Radio shortly after the release of the mixtape to talk about the project, how the COVID-19 pandemic made him reconsider how he wanted to release music, and more.