Album Review: For All the Dogs
By Angel Rhoades
For All the Dogs is Drake’s eighth studio album released Friday, October 6 at 6 a.m. with 23 tracks and a runtime of 1 hour and 24 minutes. You might be wondering “How does he know the exact time it was released?” Well, that’s because I made the regretful decision to wake up at that exact time to listen to Drake’s new album.
I think we all can agree that Drake has been the most popular and successful rapper/artist of this current generation. His mega-hits have made his name a household name in the music industry and put him in many people’s top three when it comes to who the best rappers are of all time. Now with this background knowledge and mutual understanding, there were HIGH expectations for this album release. The album was teased back on September 6th, 2023 when Drake posted on Instagram with the caption “FOR ALL THE DOGS SEPTEMBER 22”. Due to reasons Drake explained on his social media, the album got pushed back to October 6th. So, the hype was real with featured artists like J Cole, Yeat, 21 Savage, SZA, and PARTYNEXTDOOR. Drake clearly assembled the Rap Avengers for this album, but how did he do?
A Desperate Attempt to fit in with the New Era of Rap
Now first things first: this album is NOT terrible or even “bad” in my opinion. However, my opinions are strictly through the lens of Drake’s known talent and his expectations. Drake starts the album off very strongly; the features did their job and it was decent for the first seven songs.
However, the album takes a HUGE dip afterward. After the first seven tracks, the songs are long and drawn out for no apparent reason and the same topics of being lovesick and heartbroken are repeated back to back for seven consecutive tracks. A major problem I have with this album is how long some of these songs are when they don’t need to be that long. The shortest song on this album is a little under two minutes due to it being an interlude, but the songs average around four minutes each. When your repetitive topics and lazy delivery is being exposed in every song, it makes for a pretty boring and uninspiring album.
Drake is known for having lyrics that have meaning and tell a story however, with this album nothing much is being said. That’s why I stated in the title it appears Drake is trying to fit in with the new age of rap. Nowadays all it takes is for a song to go viral on TikTok, and it’s a hit. Rap as a genre has lost its meaning and relatability with its listeners as of late, and it doesn’t seem like that’s going to change anytime soon. Sadly, it seems like Drake has fallen into this same trap. Hopefully he can realize his mistakes and make a much better album next time, but this album missed the mark on so many levels.
There are some bright sides to this album that I do want to address. My favorite songs on the album were:
1. First Person Shooter ft. J Cole
2. IDGAF ft. Yeat
3. Slime You Out ft. SZA
4. 8am in Charlotte
5. What would Pluto do?
A thing I think Drake does do well on this album is having good production and beat selections. The samples he used on this album are definitely top-notch and the best I've probably heard this year.
Another thing he does well is play into the “Dog” theme throughout the album consistently. There is a fictional radio that is brought up at the end of the songs saying “Thank you for listening to BARK radio.” He even had Snoop Dogg the reincarnation of a dog narrating his fictional radio and that’s something I could appreciate for its creativeness. Also his meticulous effort to add dog metaphors throughout the album to further play into the narrative he produced.
I really enjoyed the creative vision he had with this album. His singing was also pleasant on this album and songs like “8am in Charlotte” is Drake at his best in my opinion. I wish he had more songs like that on this album.
In closing, I was disappointed a little with the performance Drake had on this album. There were some bright moments in this album however, the dark moments seem to overshadow them. Hopefully, Drake can bounce back with a better album for all the dogs.