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The Arcadia Quill

The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

Album Review: Drake – For All the Dogs

Videographer: Aaron McMurtry

Drake is without a doubt the most prolific rapper of our generation, holding countless records among the top artists in the history of music, even going as far as tying Michael Jackson for the most #1 hits, both having a whopping 13. As a result, his long-awaited new album, For All the Dogs, has exploded in popularity, premiering with over 514 million streams, the largest streaming week of any album this year according to Billboard charts. What’s more, two of his songs have been featured on the Billboard Hot 100 hits of 2023, the most of any artist with the exception of SZA. Nevertheless, the album has been subject to much criticism due to it being not considered the same level as Drake’s previous music. As a result, I’ll be discussing some of the pros and cons of Drake’s For All the Dogs and my personal rating of his newest work, having listened to the album three times. 

The song ratings will be based on three major categories in hip-hop, all given a score out of 10. These include flow, the artist’s ability to perfect rhythm and sound according to the beat of the song, as well as the beat itself, which is simply how euphonious a soundtrack sounds. Last but certainly not least, the songs will be judged on their lyrics, or the verses told by the artist, which is arguably the most important component of hip-hop.

To begin with, the fifth-best song in the album in my opinion was “Members Only.” The flow throughout the song was very lofty and sweet, reminiscent of Drake’s older R&B music. Furthermore, the song featured PARTYNEXTDOOR, who collaborated with Drake to make a great and harmonious flow resulting in a 9/10 score. As for the beat, I found that it was quite colorful in the sense that it synchronized very well with the voices—especially the bass, which was perfectly timed in every appearance, resulting in another 9/10 evaluation. The one category that I thought was rather lacking in “Members Only” was lyrics. In short, the poetry of the song, though hilarious, was quite ridiculous. For instance, Drake sings, “Feel like I’m bi, because you’re one of the guys girl,” which was just one among the many eyebrow-raising verses in the song. Nevertheless, due to how much I laughed throughout this track I granted a 6/10 rating for lyrics, which would have been far lower if it wasn’t for the humor. Overall, “Members Only” earned a 24/30 assessment in my rating system. 

Moving on with the fourth-best song in the album according to my rating index: “Polar Opposites.” In my eyes, Drake had the greatest flow in this song out of the entire album. There was a nearly perfect balance of intonation and rhythm in his voice, deserving of a 9.5/10 grade. Moreover, the beat for this song was decent; I found it typical but with no real flaws and definitely above average, making it the definition of a 7/10 beat. Another great feature of “Polar Opposites” was the lyrics. I found that the song was full of sophisticated metaphors which granted a great depiction of the sorrow the speaker holds against his lover. For instance, Drake sings, “Tellin’ me what rocks your boat, what keeps your heavy heart afloat.” As a result, I rated the lyrics of this Homeric simile of a song 9/10. Altogether, “Polar Opposites” earned a 25.5/30.

The third best track on For All the Dogs was “Slime You Out,” which featured SZA and was first on the Billboard Hot 100. Once again, this song had beautiful flow from both Drake and SZA that I concluded to have a 9/10 rating. Definitely not the best flow I’ve ever heard from Drake, but still incredible. Additionally, the beat was mostly standard until the final verse by Drake when a retro, reverbed, choir-like effect was added to the tempo. As a result, I concluded the beat to be an 8/10 rating. Finally, the lyrics for the song earned the same rating as the beats, a solid 8/10. There were no specific bars that stood out but the entire song was lyrically very good. All in all, “Slime You Out” earns a 26/30. 

Exceeding “Slime You Out” and the second-best song on the album in my opinion is 7969 Santa.” The flow in this track included a combination of rap and R&B, making for a great-sounding song. Once again I found the flow fit for a 9/10 score. The beat was also great as it allowed for Drake to alternate between rapping and singing, holding the same class throughout the switches. In summary, a 9/10 beat. Lastly, the lyrics of “7969 Santa” had very sophisticated double meanings which all related to the plot of the song, which revolves around being taken advantage of. For example, Drake sings, “April, spring is here and just like a spring, you start to spiral.” Here Drake uses a play on words referring to spring as the season as well as a spiral spring, which is used to connect the metaphor that his lover who he is singing to is lost in her life. In other words, another 9/10 evaluation. All in all, I rated “7969 Santa” 27/30. 

Finally, the best song on For All the Dogs by Drake is without a doubt “First Person Shooter,” which featured legendary rapper J. Cole and currently holds the title of number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Having two of the greatest rappers of all time on one track, the flow of this needs no explanation: 10/10. The beat consisted of background vocals, drum plates, and a strong bass that combined for a vibrant and intense sound, making the beat a 9/10. Finally, this was the best song lyric-wise in the entire album, earning it a 10/10 rating. J. Cole and Drake went verse for verse arguing who was the better of the two and also the greatest rapper of the generation. The debate ended when Drake exclaimed, “What do you mean bro? I’m one away from Michael.” In other words, the question of who the greatest is is not even up for dispute, as Drake has nearly overtaken The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, in number 1 hits. All in all, “First Person Shooter” earned the highest overall score of 29/30. 

Though most of the songs on Drake’s new album, apart from those in the top 5, are around the same rank, there is one specific track that I thought was atrocious. That is “BBL Love,” which was a terrible song from start to finish.  For one, the flow was the epitome of an average, typical R&B singer. But, since there was nothing necessarily wrong with it, I rated the flow a 5/10. Similarly, the beat was bland and I never felt that it reflected the attitude or tone of the song, which landed it a 4/10 rating. As for the lyrics, they were by far the worst part of the song and maybe even the entire album. The song consisted of an explicit explanation of Drake meeting a girl in a relationship at a concert who then claims to love him, followed by a detailed diagnosis of her cosmetic surgeries. As a result, I rated this song’s lyrics 1/10. Meaning that my worst final rating of all the songs on “For All the Dogs” was 10/30. 

All in all, my overall rating for Drake’s For All the Dogs was about 21/30, translating to a C- grade. Though not Drake’s best album by any means, For All the Dogs does contain a few gems and is definitely worth a listen.

Photo courtesy of FLICKR

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    Tereasa ShahataNov 22, 2023 at 12:34 PM

    I feel like I heard the album after I read the article. Great description for the songs’ details encourages me to listen to them