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Drake, Certified Lover Boy (2021)
Drake, Certified Lover Boy (2021)@champagnepapi

Drake fans take to Twitter to drag Damien Hirst

The rapper’s latest album artwork, created by Damien Hirst, has been the target of ridicule from everyone including Lil Nas X

Drake has confirmed that his latest album, Certified Lover Boy, will drop on September 3. In an Instagram post, the rap superstar also revealed the contentious artwork for his much-anticipated sixth studio album.

Designed by artist Damien Hirst, the cover features 12 emojis of multiracial pregnant women and has already become the subject of speculation and downright confusion. Coupled with the album’s title, the artwork seems to invite conjecture about Drake’s virility or his possible paternity of numerous pregnancies. 

One of the many fans dragging the artwork on Twitter said: “Would rather find out Drake has multiple baby mamas than this be the album cover. Please this has to just be promo”. Hyperallergenic denounced the new album’s cover as “comically bad”, while another Twitter user offered this more forgiving theory: “Drake is dropping Certified Lover Boy, an album about love (baby making) nine months after the expected release date, (nine months is a full term pregnancy), on LABOR day weekend (labor as in giving birth) which is why there are pregnant emojis on the cover”. 

Critics of Hirst have accused the artist of being lazily self-referential and drawn parallels between his Certified Lover Boy artwork and his series of Spot paintings. Also nodding to his sculpture “The Virgin Mother” (2004-2005), the Drake cover has been interpreted as the artist’s celebration of his own controversial oeuvre.

It’s not Hirst’s first foray into making album artwork. The British artist has previously produced record covers for Babyshambles, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros, as well as the unforgivable single “Vindaloo” by Fat Les. Neither is it his first encounter with criticism. Hirst has continued to invite high-profile contention ever since his first Turner Prize nomination in 1991 when his artwork “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living” famously suspended a shark in formaldehyde. 

Alongside criticisms on Twitter suggesting the artwork is simplistic and an “abomination”, it’s also inspired a series of parodies. One notable pastiche is by Lil Nas X, who responded to the news of Drake’s upcoming release with an Instagram post announcing his own forthcoming album. Hot on the heels of Certified Lover Boy, Nas revealed that Montero will drop on September 17 and he accompanied the news with an image of 12 pregnant multiracial male emojis. 

It’s not the first time Nas has publicly spoofed Drake. In 2019 he took to Twitter to share a glimpse of his new album which he referred to as “Nothing Was The Same” – the name of Drake’s 2013 album. He had also replicated the cover, this time replacing his own image over Drake’s.