Drake’s “For All The Dogs”: A Banger-less, Bitter, and Disappointingly Average Farewell Before His Hiatus


Drake has a longstanding annoyance with the notion of the “old Drake.” He famously quipped, “She says they miss the old Drake, girl don’t tempt me,” on 2011’s Headlines, despite having only two albums under his belt at the time. Even his 2018 album Scorpion came with a note in all caps, addressing a sentiment he perceived from a portion of his fan base: “DRAKE IS FINISHED. I LIKE DRAKE’S OLDER STUFF… YEAH YEAH, WE KNOW.”

Of course, Drake is far from “finished,” and any album he releases is bound to garner record-breaking numbers of listeners. However, following a string of lackluster records, namely 2021’s half-baked Certified Lover Boy and 2022’s divisive mood-shift to moody-house on Honestly, Nevermind, it’s reasonable to think that the rap mega-star might be stuck in a creative rut.

Maybe Drake has sensed this as well, as his eighth studio LP, For All The Dogs, was anticipated as a return to the mythical “old Drake.” Quoting the aforementioned ‘Headlines’ line in the initial album announcement, Drake also reassured fans at a recent live show, saying, “If you ever loved anything I’ve ever done in the past, I promise you, this album will be for you.

However, if you were hoping that the Toronto native would finally deliver another classic to solidify his enduring mega-stardom, you’ll find yourself disappointed here. For All The Dogs is a frustratingly uneven affair that rarely sees the artist reach the heights of his potential. While there are occasional sparks, many songs on the album feel derivative, lack energy, or remain underdeveloped. Tracks like “Bahamas Promises” and “Drew A Picasso” come across as forgettable or one-note, failing to come to life.

Quality control has long been an issue with Drake albums, often criticized for filling albums with filler to maximize streaming figures. Unfortunately, this problem persists here. With 23 tracks and a total runtime of almost 85 minutes, For All The Dogs can feel like a slog, exacerbated by the inclusion of long-winded intros, unnecessary interludes, and various faux-radio show skits.

The album also seems to be short on standout hits. Drake’s albums typically deliver at least one track that becomes a cultural phenomenon, but when the lead single is a languid slow jam like “Slime You Out” featuring SZA, it’s evident that there aren’t many highlights to be found. Even “Gently,” infused with Latin influences, feels like a marketing ploy that not even Bad Bunny‘s cool can salvage.

Lyrically, Drake’s most negative traits are on full display. In his early career, these traits might have been easier to overlook due to his self-effacing tendencies or underdog persona. However, For All The Dogs showcases bitterness, pettiness, and finger-pointing at the perceived flaws of the women in Drake’s life. Lines like “I’m tryna f*** all the b****es that look like my ex” on “Daylight” and “Leave you at home if I wanna have a good time” on “Tried Our Best” paint a stark picture.

The controversy doesn’t end there, as Drake appears to make a jab at Rihanna on “Fear Of Heights” when referring to their rumored on-off romance. Additionally, he’s accused of sampling “West End Girls” from 1984 without permission on “All The Parties” by Pet Shop Boys.

While there are a few gems scattered throughout the album, such as the opener “Virginia Beach” and the Teezo Touchdown-assisted “Amen,” For All The Dogs fails to reach its potential. Drake’s signature one-liners are still present, like the Instagram-caption-ready line on the closing track “Polar Opposites“: “You tried to grease me, but we’re not in Mykonos.”

Shortly before the album’s release, Drake announced his intention to take a break from music to focus on his health. He stated, “I probably won’t make music for a little bit. I’m going to lock the door on the studio for a little bit.” Hopefully, he returns revitalized and renewed because For All The Dogs, his third solo LP in as many years, not only feels exhausting but also sounds tired.