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Diving into the Soundscape: Drake’s For All the Dogs Album Reviewed and Analyzed

The album cover showcases an untidy drawing of a goat drawn by Drake’s son, Adonis Graham. At a mere six years old, Adonis made his artistic debut both in the album’s fifth track and on the cover. (Photo/Adonis Graham)

Drake released his eighth studio album, For All the Dogs on Friday, October 6th at six in the morning. To the dismay of his millions of fans, the rapper previously delayed his album release due to his ongoing tour with 21 Savage: It’s All a Blur.

Drake announced the delay with a statement on his Instagram story reading, “Okay my dilemma I am faced with is I either cancel shows to finish the album before the last show… I owe you all these memories we are building and anywhere we have missed to date we will be spinning back for sure… For All the Dogs October 6th… it’s only right…”

Drake’s new album is filled with prominent artists, including Teezo Touchdown, 21 Savage, J.Cole, Yeat, SZA, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Chief Keef, Bad Bunny, and Lil Yachty. During his tour, Drake confirmed rumors that Nicki Minaj would make an appearance on the album; however, that collaboration did not appear on For All the Dogs. Regardless, fans are still holding out hope that the duo may drop a single together or that a song between the two will appear on a deluxe edition of the album. Snoop Dogg and Sade also made appearances through short cameos. Even Frank Ocean, who has been on a musical hiatus since 2020 and has not released an album since 2016, received a writer’s credit on the album’s opening track “Virginia Beach.”

Speculated Shots Thrown

Since the release of this album, fans have speculated that Drake attempts to diss other artists throughout his work.

Attentive fans noticed a slight diss against The Weeknd on the song “All The Parties”. In this song Drake says, “Them shorties don’t listen to Weeknd.” We interpreted this as a clear diss towards the Weeknd, especially considering their relationship, which is known to be strained.

Listeners also think that Drake may be addressing rumors that he had a hand in the murder of rapper XXXTentacion back in 2018, on the track “Daylight.” The lyrics say, “Internet swear that I bought the body/ take more than that to pop somebody.” While these lines could be addressing the situation with the late rapper XXXTentacion, many also believe that Drake is simply creating a narrative to go along with his song.

On Drake’s fourth track, “Fear Of Heights”, it is rumored that he throws shots at Rihanna and A$AP Rocky when he says, “Why they make it sound like I’m still hung up on you? That could never be/ Gyal can’t run me/ better him than me better it’s not me/I’m anti, I’m anti.” Using the word “Gyal” could be referring to Rihanna’s Caribbean heritage, and his play on the word ‘anti’ could be referring to Rihanna’s 2016 album Anti.

While none of these speculations have been confirmed, they do impact the album. When listening it is easy to miss subtle lyrics that have real meanings. Although, because of these fan theories, we listen much more closely to what Drake is saying in his songs.

Authors’ Top 5’s

Amani Ronga

  1. Bahamas Promises
  2. First Person Shooter ft. J.Cole
  3. 8am in Charlotte
  4. Virginia Beach
  5. What Would Pluto Do

Honorable Mentions: Slime You Out ft. SZA

Elizabeth Cunningham

  1. First Person Shooter ft. J.Cole
  2. 8am in Charlotte
  3. Bahamas Promises
  4. Virginia Beach
  5. Members Only ft. PARTYNEXTDOOR

Honorable Mentions: Slime You Out ft. SZA

Opinions Unleashed

If we were to rate this album out of ten–one being the album should have never been released and ten being the album should win Album of the Year- we would rate it a 7.5/10. The reasons for the rating are as follows:

Many aspects of this album were widely appreciated by Drake’s audience, contributed to the album’s overall success, and made the album a very enjoyable listen. Drake’s lyricism, more specifically his play on words throughout the entire work, is unmatched. Drake is well known for his verses, and he continued to deliver clever and thoughtful lyrics consistently throughout his album For All the Dogs. There is a lot of discourse on whether or not “Virginia Beach” was the best choice for the opening song. Some say it does not set the tone for the rest of the album. Despite the controversy over this topic, we believe the song “Virginia Beach” was the best choice to start the album. The production style mixed with Frank Ocean’s vocals introduces a new style that was unexpected from Drake, while the lyrics and ad-libs still feel like ‘old’ Drake. This really sets the tone for the entire album which blends new styles with ‘old’ Drake lyricism.

With all this being said, the album falls a bit short of perfection. While it had many hits, it also included some songs that were simply not captivating. The album’s twentieth track, “Rich Baby Daddy” does not fit the flow of the album and sounds like it should have been a single. “IDGA*” ft. Yeat is undoubtedly a hit, but when analyzing the work as a whole, it has a very different feel to the rest of the album. This could be due to the fact that Yeat has a unique lingo and sound that doesn’t fit neatly into any one genre. Not only are some songs out of place, but it also feels like some songs are missing. Drake’s music– specifically earlier Drake music– is infamous for being vulnerable about his feelings in love and within his personal and familial life. However, out of all 23 tracks more than half describe a carefree, party lifestyle. Drake failure to be open to his fans about his failures in love and the weight of his personal life, caused the album to feel shallow.

Criticisms from the Public

Drake initially announced the album with the quote, “They say they miss the old Drake, girl don’t tempt me. For all the Dogs.” This statement emphasized his intention for the new album to touch on his old style which listeners often reminisce about. According to Mathis Valenta writing for the Roundup, “This announcement had many devoted Drake fans yearning for the release of the album. In my personal listening experience, “For All The Dog’s was quite different from the ‘old drake’.” Drake is often associated with vulnerable music, but most references he makes around money, haters, and women are fairly shallow. Alex Swhear criticized Drake in his review of the album for Variety, “Drake’s trademark pettiness, for example, has grown increasingly hollow, as when he bemoans “broken pinky promises” despite being nearly 37 years old.”

Additionally, Joe Budden, a former American rapper, spoke on his podcast The Joe Budden Podcast regarding the supposedly immature music. Budden condemned Drake for “rapping for the children” rather than making music that appealed to adults. Drake did not take the criticism lightly, responding in a way that addressed Budden’s failure in the music industry and his pursuit of a shallow podcast instead. In this reply, Drake also inspired future generations of musicians to pursue their careers despite any skeptics, writing that, “To any artist that’s doing what they feel is right don’t let these opinions affect your mindset after the fact.”

Despite the controversy and criticism, this album topped the charts and only added to Drake’s ever-growing impact on the music industry.

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Elizabeth Cunningham, Staff Writer
Amani Ronga, Staff Writer
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