Drake’s “For All The Dogs”: A return to old Drake or more of the same?

Shane Bagot reviews Drake's new album "For All The Dogs". Spoiler: he's not a fan. — Arts & Entertainment Editor / Al Harmon

On Oct. 6, Drake released his highly anticipated album “For All The Dogs.” This is his eighth studio album coming after the collaborative project with 21 Savage “Her Loss” and the house-influenced “Honestly, Nevermind.” This album had been promoted by Drake as a return to the “old Drake.” What some may think was a return to his glory days of projects like “Take Care” and “Nothing Was The Same.” Rather it uses the same playbook found in the last few Drake albums. 

One of these is the long bloated albums. “For All The Dogs” suffers the same fate as a lot of the past couple of Drake albums to release. The album runtime is 1 hour and 23 minutes and he finds a way to make it feel longer. There is a ton of filler on the album. Especially when you look towards the R&B section in the middle with songs like “Drew a Picasso” and “Tried Our Best” that do not offer much. While Drake is trying to bring the “old Drake” back, a lot of these songs lack the charm and creativity of his early albums. Settling more for what is in than what sounds good. There is another issue throughout the project.

“IDGAF” perfectly shows this off as Drake gets production done by the new up-and-coming producer BNYX. Also gets a feature from the rapper Yeat, an artist at the forefront of the new hip-hop age. There were two ways to go about this. Either have Yeat over a Drake style or vice versa. They elected for the second which was for the best. The problem that came from it is that Drake simply does not belong over a Rage/Trap beat of this nature. He tries to use the flows and styles of the rage genre. It ends up falling flat and not sounding as it should. It is even more apparent when you hear Yeat over the same beat. He is being expressive and unique in the deliveries. Just ultimately sounding more comfortable over the beat. Giving one of the best performances on the album 

This is not just a one-song instance as a lot of the features on the album outshine Drake. While Drake gives boring or half-baked verses. On songs like “Members Only”, PARTYNEXTDOOR can give some flavor to the bland track with some more lively vocals that help elevate the song. The one exception to this is the explosive “First Person Shooter” with peer J. Cole. It shows off the great chemistry between the two artists. While Cole drops one of the best verses on the album, Drake decides to try and give one of his best performances throughout. 

Drake decides to try again later on in the album with the stunning “8 a.m. in Charlotte.” This finds Drake over a beautifully crafted Conductor Williams beat as he reminds everyone that his pen game is still alive. More of these tracks blended with the R&B would have spoken to the whole “old Drake” agenda. The same tenacity and aggression are hard to find when looking through the tracklist. Instead left with disappointing tunes and missed chances for something great. The hardest one to swallow is the dance track “Rich Baby Daddy”, which has a phenomenal SZA verse that feels wasted by what feels like a phoned-in verse by Drake. A Sexyy Red feature that does not fit at all and could have been filled with possibly Pink Panthress. 

Drake seems to have been on autopilot for these last few album releases. He must agree as he announced with the release that he would be taking a break from music. While lots of fans may be disappointed. This is the perfect chance for Drake to regain some creativity and begin to try and evolve to the next step as an artist. He has the connections, talent, and money to put out a great piece of work. He chooses to put out albums like “For All The Dogs” that will do numbers but will not have any lasting effect on his legacy. He has the opportunity to still be great, I hope he takes it soon.

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