Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Drake’s prime is lodged comfortably in the past as he puts in a mediocre effort in For All the Dogs

"For All The Dogs"

Release date: 06 October 2023
Drake For All The Dogs cover
09 October 2023, 09:00 Written by Josh Herring

The rapidity in which Drake has released albums recently is seemingly unmatched by any other superstar this era.

He’s dropping projects like they’re Soundcloud riffs waiting to be discovered – and yet, his gems are comfortably lodged in the past. He’s sounded comfortable as of late, often scrutinized for lack of effort or formulaic ponderings of money, fame, and women – a trademark that has, admittedly, succeeded beyond all measures thus far.

With the promise of delivering a product reminiscent of the “old Drake” ("Ooo girl don’t tempt me"), and postponing the album, its lead single, “Slime You Out” signals his intentions to be problematically unforgiving and worryingly nonchalant with melodramatic crooning, cringy wordplay, along with a feature from SZA. This sentiment is relaid with the second lead single “8am in Charlotte,” featuring his son, Adonis, in the music video providing insight into his artwork for the album's cover.

While lousy wordplay is unsurprising, the voice of Frank Ocean opens For All The Dogs with his trademark distorted, high-pitched vocals outshining a monologuing Drake in “Virginia Beach”. An Ocean sample at this point is like recognising that one actor you saw in the background of a movie a decade ago for five seconds – extremely exciting, then immediately disappointing as their prime is defined by only a moment in time.

“Daylight” and “First Person Shooter” sees Drake portray himself as a kingpin of the 6, dropping bodies in broad daylight and throwing shots with reckless abandon. At times, he’s speaking a foreign language that not even Jimmy from Degrassi would understand – a cynical spit circuit defined by an artist that finally seems to be letting loose what they’ve been holding back for a while, as if it would harm the listener. The Toronto puppetmaster pulls the strings erratically here.

Some tracks feel like throwaways, then there’s the TikTok and radio cuts like “IDGAF” with Yeat and ear-shattering production from BYNX (who has been killing it btw) and “Rich Baby Daddy” that aren’t particularly rap-savvy but benefit from extremely catchy tracks with a large number of producers and the illustrious desire to pass Micheal Jackson for most number ones.

For All The Dogs has an odd mix of R&B and rapping Drake as he seems to flow between the two without warning in an often clunky and unprepared delivery. With a bloated 23-track, hour-and-a-half listen, there are bound to be moments that slip under the rug including the Chief Keef sample of “Don’t Like” in “7969 Santa,” the “Jumbotron Shit Poppin” of this album in “What Would Pluto Do,” his awful Spanish in “Gently,” and the cute but out of place Adonis’ verse at the end of “Daylight”.

Nostalgia feeders might love the crooning of the “Old Drake” that makes an appearance in “Bahamas Promises” and “Tried Our Best” as he leans into his R&B roots with Teezo Touchdown playing the role PARTYNEXTDOOR did in the 2010s (who does make an appearance later) — an eloquent vocal backing as he glides along a low energy track laden with the pitfalls of love and fame. The “Dragon Ball Z: Legacy of Goku II” type beats that have become so prevalent under Noah “40” Shebib are hilariously effective.

Proving himself as a true raphead by including a DJ Screw deep cut, gliding along a Conductor Williams beat in “8am in Charlotte,” and a Chief Keef sample plus feature, his best moments come when he isn’t trying too hard to prove his rap eclecticism. The additional radio show theme seems to slip in and out of focus with Quincy Jones, Sade, and Snoop Dogg shouting out BARK Radio and his consistency is runny at best.

The focus is unclear most of the album as Drake delivers a repetitive, monotonous project that he shleps through to finish out his current record deal. Of his past four albums, with For All The Dogs housing the most hype, it is simultaneously the worst and most disappointing in recent history.

Share article

Get the Best Fit take on the week in music direct to your inbox every Friday

Read next