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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Look Both Ways: Does Drake’s new album fall flat?

Cover album for Drake’s new album “For All The Dogs” which features a drawing of a dog against a solid black background. This is Drake’s eighth album and can either be a hit or a miss for most people. (OVO/Republic via AP)


By: Sarah Rose

In order to listen to Drake, separating the artist from the art is required. As a person, his actions are questionable; but as an artist, his music is masterfully stimulating. 

Drake’s new album “For All The Dogs” dropped at 6 a.m. on Oct. 6 after changing the release date three times. His genius lyricism stays constant with his eighth album, as well as the blended vocals between him and the 10 artists featured. 

The album begins with “Virginia Beach” which opens the album with a soothing, R&B feel. Why this song is one of the best album openings is because Drake includes the refrain of the song “Wiseman,” an unreleased song by the one and only Frank Ocean. According to PitchFork, “Wiseman” was supposed to be a part of the soundtrack to the 2012 movie “Django Unchained,” but was cut out. Hearing Ocean’s melodious vocals will make any fans of his levitate like Pinocchio from that one scene in “Shrek.” 

Drake is the king when it comes to picking artists who are going to be featured on albums, and all of the featured songs were memorable stand-outs. 

One of those songs was “IDGAF,” which features rapper Yeat. Although, after listening to it, the title should have been “IDGAF (featuring Drake)” since Yeat carried the song. Their voices blend well to create a fun, body-jumping rhythm that’s already present in Drake’s songs. 

Another standout is “All The Parties (feat. Chief Keef),” a hard-core track that reminds me why Chief Keef is a legend. The most surprising part of this song is the nod to the Pet Shop Boys song “West End Girls,” which was released in 1984. The lyrics “In this 6ix side town, a dead end world / East End boys and West End girls, yeah / East End boys and West End girls, ayy,” are straight from the 1984 song, and Drake even changed his voice to sing the verse the way it was sung originally. 

Overall, “For All The Dogs” was arguably one of the most hyped albums of 2023, after the success of Drake’s last album “Her Loss.” Drake’s style in this album felt more nostalgic of the songs he released almost a decade ago, such as ones from his albums “Take Care” and “Nothing Was The Same.” 

When thinking of the rap genre, it’s hard to not think about Drake, and each year he keeps enforcing why he can’t ever be replaced. 


By: Nick Glover

Drake is inarguably an icon in the modern rap game. That being said, his most recent album, “For All The Dogs,” misses the mark. 

The 1 hour, 24 minute album is so bloated that it feels like it may pop at any moment. On top of that, a majority of the tracks feel like filler for a few standouts. While “8am in Charlotte” and “First Person Shooter (feat. J. Cole)” are legitimately good tracks, the album essentially hides them from listeners. 

By the time “First Person Shooter” comes up in the tracklist, anyone who actually cares about rap would have turned off the album at least twice. 

The third track “Calling For You (Feat. 21 Savage)” sounds like a six-year-old made the beat by pressing random buttons on an MPC. More than this though, the beat and the rapping don’t line up. The instrumentals and the rapping are pulling the beat in different directions, and the lyrical prowess just simply isn’t there. 

If a listener hadn’t turned off the album yet, the next track should bring about the end. “Fear Of Heights” feels like the single that one kid in your high school made. It’s outright surprising to me that anyone would have let Drake release something this downright bad. Drake sounds bored on the mic, and his lyrics feel like they’re AI-generated. There’s no personality, no flow, no substance. 

As always, this album contains the standard “Drake bar” (trademark pending). For those of you who haven’t listened to Drake before, a “Drake bar” is something so cheesy and laughably unfunny that it ruins the entire track. Standouts from this record include “You put the ‘no’ in monogamy” from “Bahama Promises,” “We in the club with your gay friends / Always put you on a straight flight” from “Tried Our Best” and “Feel like I’m bi ‘cause you’re one of the guys, girl” from “Members Only.”

On top of these downright corny bars, Drake gets outclassed by the artists he features on the record. On “First Person Shooter,” J. Cole has both the first and third best verses on the record. The standout bar from the entire album comes from Cole on this track, “Like a kid that act bad from January to November, n-, it’s just you and Cole.” 

The beat selection is outright fire here too. J. Cole killed the beat so hard that Drake had to switch up the beat to even have a chance of not being laughed off the track. 

Unfortunately for Drake, that chance did not come true. His verse is so bad that it makes J. Cole seem like the greatest rapper alive. Drake does his standard trope of repeating lines that were almost good the first time, hoping they get better the more he says them. The “beat it” line would have been an awesome mic drop at the end of a terrible verse, but Drake cannot control his unearned ego and has to repeat it for the last 25 seconds of the song.

Despite all of this criticism, I have to give Drake his props for one single song: “8am in Charlotte.” With its ‘90s-inspired beat, Drake feels like he’s actually trying here. The flow is diverse, changing emphasis and style throughout. His reference game is on point, and his punchlines are good. It is a genuinely good song, and I think I’ll actually come back to it. 

It leaves me with one question though: Why isn’t the rest of the album like this?

Drake still has something in the tank, but he doesn’t ever use the gas. Instead of adding gas to the fire, Drake is a lazy, uninspired wet blanket that ruins the killer beats and wild features he picked on this record. 

It’s clear that Drake and his team are in the game for money and status, not for the love of hip-hop. It’s clear that Drake doesn’t care about putting out good music. It’s clear that Drake has something left to give. And, it’s clear he doesn’t do that on this album (look, Drake, you can repeat things and not be corny!).

If you’re looking for the next classic album, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

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