Drake has been mostly tight-lipped about the details of his “Certified Love Boy” album, set to come out late tonight, but he’s heightening anticipation with a city-by-city billboard campaign that is alternately hinting at and outrightly revealing some of the the other artists being featured on the long-delayed release.
Each of the messages refers to a featured guest from the city where the billboard has popped up. In Georgia, the reveal is none too mysterious. “Hey Atlanta,” it reads. “Slime, Pluto, Savage and Baby are on CLB,” referring to Young Thug, Future, 21 Savage and Lil Baby.
The billboards have been seen as far afield as Nigeria, where a billboard reveals that Tems, aka Temile Openiyi, is on the album. Chicago drivers were the first to find out, meanwhile, that Lil Durk will be appearing on “Certified Lover Boy” (“”Hey Chicago, Smurk is on CLB”). Project Pat and Yebba will be showing up for Memphis, the campaign reveals, while Giveon and Ty Dolla $ign look to be representing for California.
In some instances, the tease remains open for interpretation, perhaps for a few more hours.
In New York City, the billboard in question reads, “Hey New York the GOAT is on CLB.” Presumably that does not refer to Kanye West, who, on his “Donda” album of last Sunday, took a number of not-very-thinly veiled shots at Drake and boasted of himself, “You wanna come in and play with the GOAT.”
Some fans have speculated that “the GOAT” could only refer to Jay-Z, which would make him an interesting double-agent in that rivalry, given that Hova already made a prominent appearance on West’s album and suggested that a return of “the Throne,” their more substantial collaboration, could be in order.
But this guessing game could be missing the forest for the trees, since among famous New York-based rappers, only LL Cool J has referred to himself as the GOAT in an actual album title, as he did in 2000’s “G.O.A.T.,” a release that helped bring the term into popular parlance.
Also still up for grabs as fans get out their decoder rings is the representative from Texas. “Hey Houston,” a billboard there reads, “the hometown hero is on CLB.”
The word “the” there is confusing, since Houston hardly lacks for multiple hometown heroes. Beyoncé night be the definitive one if Drake really wants to claim that “the.” But speculation has also landed on Megan Thee Stallion and Travis Scott (who previously collaborated with Drake on “Sicko Mode” in 2008). Another very promising guess, if one that’s slightly less of a household name: Trae tha Truth, who got a lifetime achievement honor at the most recent Billboard Music Awards for his activism.
All that’s cryptic will be revealed tonight at midnight ET or 9 PT… or possibly sooner, as a few influencers are tweeting that they’ve heard the album, and there are few guarantees the cats can stay in the bag that long. Or maybe Drake will crack open his own Easter eggs before the appointed hour.