Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Liner Notes: Drake’s ‘For All The Dogs’ takes a dismissive look back on his 15-year career

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Illustration by Yash Markendey
Drake promoted his eighth studio album “For All The Dogs” on Instagram.

Toronto rapper Drake released his latest album “For All The Dogs” on Friday at 6 a.m. after a series of delays and erratic announcements.

Featuring well-established artists including SZA, 21 Savage, Lil Yachty, J. Cole and Bad Bunny, the record transported me back to grimy high school house parties that got broken up because of neighbors’ noise complaints.

While the single “Slime You Out (feat. SZA)” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 last month, the album as a whole likely won’t reach the heights of commercial success of Drake’s previous seven studio albums. Chronically listless and poorly sequenced, “For All the Dogs” is bloated with uncharacteristically weak songs.

In “Virginia Beach,” which is laced around a warped Frank Ocean sample, he raps, “Drawin’ conclusions like you got a Parsons degree or somethin,” likely a reference to previous on-and-off partner Rihanna, who accepted an honorary degree from Parsons in 2017. Alluding to famous exes seems like a cheap way to add to the hype of a mediocre album.

“First Person Shooter (feat. J. Cole)” injects the record with some much needed energy, which is gone two songs later in “7679 Santa.” The latter’s seemingly random name comes from the address of a Hollywood nightclub and restaurant named “Delilah,” located on 7969 Santa Monica Blvd. The address points to the diss track’s target — his ex-girlfriend Delilah (also known as the R&B singer Lilah Pi) — whom he was rumored to have dated in June 2023. 

The differences between these songs show that while hopelessly outshined by collaborators, Drake also relies on them to produce quality tracks on the album. 

The Canadian rapper took out full page ads this past summer in major publications for his new poetry book “Titles Ruin Everything,” which was released July 14 and had 2.43 stars out of five on Goodreads as of Sunday.

In the ads, a QR code links to a website. The site features only simple, black text on a white screen and contains a lyric from Drake’s 2011 song “Headlines: They say they miss the old Drake girl don’t tempt me.”

Unsurprisingly, fans do seem to miss the old Drake. The rapper recently announced that he was taking a hiatus from music to focus on his health during his SiriusXM show “Table for One” Friday. With “For All The Dogs” lacking creative force, this break seems more overdue than deserved, a symptom of the rapper having nothing new to say. 

While the LP is getting its fair share of heat from critics, it is still relatively polarizing, receiving praise from a large minority of Drake’s fanbase. If you can see through the album’s greasy coating of petty drama, misogyny and flexes of wealth, there are moments of clarity and genuine emotion. 

Perhaps these are most present in “8am in Charlotte,” the album’s second single. The song is a long exhale with minimal production, in which Drake remincises on his 15-year career as an increasingly dominant hip-hop star. He raps, “I’m here on the road / You can hear it in the voice (Glory).”

As someone who prides himself on constant productivity, Drake appears to be taking a step back to share bitter reflections on lovers and enemies alike.

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @jillian_moore7

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