JK F. ‘26
For All the Dogs is here. After months of hype and a canceled release date, Drake’s long-awaited album is out on all platforms. Released on October 3, 2023, For All the Dogs is the eighth solo album released by Canadian rapper Drake. It features many prolific artists, including J. Cole and SZA, and critics expected it to make a big splash in the music industry, some even predicting that it might be worthy of the “Album of the Year” award. Given his reputation and all the hype surrounding the album, surely Drake had big things in store for us, right? Not really.
Although I myself have never been the biggest fan of Drake’s music, I think that most Drake fanatics will admit that this project left something to be desired. This album featured some unarguably good songs, but it was painfully obvious that some were written simply to please the crowd and become commercially successful. Songs like Fear of Heights and Daylight sounded similar to many of Drake’s more commercially successful songs, especially those on Her Loss, Drake’s 2022 collaboration with 21 Savage. Drake is going viral for including his son, Adonis, at the end of his song Daylight, giving him a verse to conclude the track; although it was an intriguing idea, it didn’t work out very well on the album. Drake missed an opportunity to feature another A-list artist over a unique beat, instead opting to let his son rap on the song. Adonis’ verse was perfectly on par with what one might expect a six-year-old to write, featuring insightful lyrics such as “I was playing on my iPad and I broke my iPad.” This moment on the album has led people to believe that Drake has “sold out,” and that he no longer cares about the quality of the music he’s releasing. Occasional mellow songs such as Bahamas Promises and 8am in Charlotte kept the album from feeling too repetitive initially, making for easy listening. However, some of these songs felt like they could be fillers, as if Drake only added them to the album for the sole purpose of increasing the run time and number of tracks.
Despite the overall lack of pizazz on the album, there were some objectively good songs, including First Person Shooter (feat. J. Cole), Virginia Beach, and What Would Pluto Do, which is my personal favorite. I enjoyed the amount of singing that Drake did on this album, returning to his older, more familiar style, something we’ve not heard much of on his more recent albums.
Most people will agree that the song Virginia Beach was a clear standout on the album. Produced by Harley Arsenault and 40 (who have both produced songs for Drake), this track has a majestic, cinematic feel, and it was a perfect start to the album. Virginia Beach samples the song Wiseman, an unreleased track by Frank Ocean, and it begins with an airy synthesizer, which is then joined by a violin to create a dramatic buildup into the song. After the sample comes in, the listener hears Drake talking to an unknown person. In this conversation, Drake mentions some motifs that he continues to build upon as the album progresses, hinting at some of the album’s thematic aspects and flawlessly executing the duty of an ideal opening song.
Although Virginia Beach was a beautiful song and an excellent introduction to the album, there wasn’t much that compared to it afterward. Drake struggled to keep the album engaging, causing it to become repetitive after only a few songs. Simply put, the album was too long for the quality of the songs. While there are some gems sprinkled throughout the project, too many boring, unoriginal songs make the album dull and unexciting. This album just didn’t do anything for me. Even the biggest Drake fan would confess that Drake did not meet the expectations with this one. Overall rating: 6 out of 10.