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The Murray State News

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The News Reviews: ‘To All the Dogs’

Cover of Drakes most recent album. Courtesy of Drakes Instagram.
Cover of Drake’s most recent album. Courtesy of Drake’s Instagram.

Aubrey “Drake” Graham is one of the biggest artists in the world. His creativity never ceases to shine, whether it be through designing clothes or constructing albums. But now, on his 17th full length project (15th solo), and fourth in just over two years, that creativity feels like it’s starting to wane.

Drake’s newest release, “For All The Dogs”, was teased for months after his new book came out over the summer. Everyone (myself included) was very excited. Accompanied by a text saying “they say they miss the old Drake, girls don’t tempt me” (a reference to his 2011 track “Headlines”), many speculated this was going to gonna be Drake returning to his roots.

What fans got, instead, was an attempt at mixing R&B and rap music in what felt like a missed opportunity. See, Drake hasn’t really put out an album worth more than one listen through since Views in 2016. I’m not counting his 2022 collab album with 21 Savage because that was, well, a collab album.

What Views had that projects since have lacked is a sense of hunger and urgency, which he mentions on the track “Hype” which was featured on Views. 

For All The Dogs feels like it’s lacking that. It’s not necessarily a bad project, but it’s not the Drake everyone has come to know and love.

The first two tracks, “Virginia Beach” and “Amen” featuring Teezo Touchdown, put the album on a promising road. Maybe fans will finally get what they’ve begged for. But this road turns from promising to windy very quickly.

“Calling For You” featuring 21 Savage is a mess. Drake’s verse is just bad, there’s a weird interlude in the middle, and 21 Savage carries the entire track, but he doesn’t come in until there 1:30 left in an almost five minute track. It ultimately feels like a throwaway from their collab album.

“Fear of Heights” has a fun flow, but it sounds like Drake did on his feature on “MELTDOWN” by Travis Scott earlier this year. “Daylight” is a track that carries a lot of heavy drums and Drake performs rather well. It also has a feature from his son, Adonis, at the end.

“First Person Shooter” featuring J. Cole is probably the highlight of this album. If this was a single released three months ago, it likely would’ve been number one on the charts until this album came out. Good production, a nice beat switch, great verses from two of the best rap artists in the world right now. This is a song that will be played for a long time.

Then we get to “IDGAF” featuring underground rapper Yeat. If you have ever listened to Yeat, you know what you’re getting yourself into. I think it’s a fun track, but Drake doesn’t really do much of anything here.

From this point on, the album is a mess. Drake tries to get into his R&B bag and misses probably seven-out-of-ten times.

“7969 Santa” is okay. It has a sample of “Don’t Like” by Chief Keef that makes it a bit more fun, as well as a feature from Touchdown at the end of the track. “Slime You Out” featuring SZA shows why Drake really can’t do it all, and why SZA is one of the best R&B artists in recent history.

“Bahamas Promises” is a great track. If you are a fan of melodic Drake, this is a song that you will love. It’s got an amazing beat,  and Drake has one of his best performances across the whole album.

It’s immediately followed by “Tried Our Best” where Drake can’t seem to switch his flow for the entire track and it drags on. The bridge sounds really good, but that’s the only saving grace.

But following that and an interlude, we get probably my favorite track, “Drew A Picasso”. This sounds like a track you would hear from 2015-2016 Drake, which is my favorite era. The atmosphere this beat creates is beautiful, and Drake performs rather well.

After that, there’s really only one track worth talking about in my opinion: “8am in Charlotte”. Produced by one of the hottest producers in the game, Conductor Williams, Drake does what he does best: rapping without a chorus and getting his problems off his chest. Like every song with a timestamp from him, Drake shines again.

That’s about it for the bright spots, though. His song with Bad Bunny got worse by the second (Drake rapping in Spanish didn’t help), he rapped about nothing but women for over five minutes with Sexxy Red and SZA, and he had Chief Keef singing, which he is NOT known for. Lil Yachty has a good verse toward the end of the album, but it’s ruined by a bad Drake verse.

Overall, “For All The Dogs” falls into this cycle we’ve seen from Drake since” “Scorpion” in 2018. It just sounds like he’s putting music out just to put music out. It’s turned to quantity over quality for Drake in most instances, with half of his projects since 2015 being 20 songs or more. It all just feels over-saturated.

After the release of his recent project, Drake said he’s taking a break from music. He’s been on tour, released four projects since August of 2021, he’s burnt out at this point. And I think that’s for the best. Maybe he’ll come back with more drive and passion.

But for now, we will sit with what we have. I’m giving this project a 6.5/10. It doesn’t accomplish anything groundbreaking, it feels too long, and I was bored at times. But the highlights and production were good enough to give it a passing grade.

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About the Contributor
Jakob Milani, Sports Editor
Jakob Milani is all about sports. He joined the staff of The Murray State News in 2020 as a sports writer, assigned to women's basketball, and by fall 2021 was named Sports Editor. He is a dedicated lover of all things Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears related, and loves to talk about all things sports. He is a co-host of "The Iron Grid" podcast with fellow sports writer Ronan Summers, and only ever watches ESPN in his down time. Aside from sports, Jakob also has a passion for music and baking. His favorite artists include Nirvana, Travis Scott, and Queen. His favorite item to bake is cheesecake.

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