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The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


‘For All the Dogs’ Lacks Innovation, Gets Lost in Sea of Competition

Drake’s latest LP “For All the Dogs” is a satisfactory, yet mediocre addition to the hip-hop genre, and fits back into the standard beats and lyrics of previous projects.
“For All the Dogs” finds itself merely blending in among other hip-hop albums from different prolific artists. Graphic by Leif LaBianca.

Let’s hope Aubrey doesn’t bark at us for this one. On Oct. 6, Drake released his eighth studio album, “For All The Dogs.”  Of course, since Drake is arguably the most well known hip-hop artist in the current era, this release did not go unnoticed. However, most of the reception wasn’t particularly positive. Metacritic’s aggregate score gave the album a score of 53/100, which isn’t typically regarded  as a hopeful sign. Though Metacritic’s scores aren’t necessarily known for their accurate reflection of the work they represent, the truth is this:  Yes. It is in fact deserving of such a mediocre score.

The album focuses on Drake’s immense wealth and the perks and drawbacks of it, especially when it comes to his relationships with women. Compared to Drake’s other albums, “For All the Dogs” largely follows the status quo. Albums like 2018’s “Scorpion” are good examples of this pop rap framework: catchy, simple beats coupled with pop-like, inoffensive lyrics. Unfortunately, this status quo has gotten remarkably stale after its continued and popular use within the genre for the last 10 years, and yet is largely constant throughout the whole album. 

There are times in this album, however, where the lyricism and wordplay do show some originality. Drake’s collaborative single with SZA, “Slime You Out,” features a notably interesting section in which he describes his relationships with a woman in the context of the 12 months in a year, which is creative  and has a good flow. The lyricism in general is decent, though at times banal.

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When it comes to the beats and the production on this album, most of the tracks have a background instrumental that makes you feel good, coupled with very competent production. Unfortunately, it once again falls victim to the fact that it isn’t particularly creative or groundbreaking. In fact, it sometimes sounds like the production styles are ripped straight from the playbooks of other artists. This is especially prevalent on the feature tracks, such as on “First Person Shooter,”which  features  J. Cole, that has a beat that feels like it was taken straight out of Cole’s 2021 album, “The Off-Season.” Though the beat is not unbearable by any means, it points to the album’s lack of creativity. There are some notable exceptions, such as the track “Bahamas Promises,” which features a lovely piano sample along with traditional drums and a chorus towards the end, but these highlights are exceptions, not the norm.

Despite some drawbacks, the album itself has quite an impressive resume when it comes to its features. As previously mentioned, there are features with fellow hip-hop artist J. Cole and R&B artist SZA, adding two very prominent names in the music industry to the list. Further still, there are features with Lil Yachty on “Another Late Night,” Chief Keef on “All The Parties,” and Bad Bunny on “Gently.” A remarkable roster, to say the least.

However, one of the biggest issues with this album is how often the quality of the different parts of the project tend to clash in a lot of the tracks. More often than not, if the production is good, the lyricism and/or flow are less than inspiring. Conversely, if the lyricism and/or flow are good, the production will be lacking, leaving a lot of the tracks, particularly in the latter half of the album, to be mediocre or bad. This is made worse by the fact that the album is quite long, boasting 23 tracks and a total run length of 84:50, so any significant high points in the album, like the previously mentioned “First Person Shooter” and “Slime You Out,” feel diluted by a bunch of boring mush and fog.

To put this album into perspective, we can look at a similarly-rated album of the same era. Fellow hip-hop artist Logic released “College Park” on Feb. 24 of this year, and it has slightly higher, though still similar, ratings to “For All the Dogs.” A great sum of the tracks on “College Park” have quality clashing, not unlike “For All the Dogs,” especially when it comes to production lows. However, the album topic is more original, reminiscing on his time in his hometown of College Park, Md. Although an album discussing or focusing on the artist’s place of origin isn’t new, it’s at least specific and heartfelt to the artist, where songs on having lots of money and relationships with girls fall flat.

YouTube music critic Anthony Fantano said this album is “basically the most Drake thing ever,” and although that is definitely a simplification of the work, is not far off from the truth. This album doesn’t take very many risks and sticks to typical formulas of past Drake albums, and because of that excludes itself in any conversation of being a truly great album, but Drake’s skill as an artist keeps it from being straight up bad. Overall, the 53/100 cumulative score “For All the Dogs” was awarded by Metacritic is definitely an earned one. Perhaps his next album will be when he truly lets the dog in him out.

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About the Contributors
Jackson Mitchell, Staff Writer
Jackson is a senior and this is his third year on staff. In his free time, he likes to wrestle and hang out with his friends. Jackson also loves music and his favorite artists are Bladee and Yung Lean. One thing Jackson loves to do is make people laugh and he is really funny and good looking.
Leif Labianca, Staff Writer
Leif Labianca is in his senior year of high school, and is a first year staff writer on The Blaze. Throughout Labiance’s life, music has been a part of it. His earliest memory with music is him listening to and understanding the lyrics, rhythm, melody, and meaning of each song. One lyrical artist that comes to Labiance’s mind first when thinking about music is the American rapper Robert Bryson Hall II, “Logic.” While a frequent consumer of music, Labiance isn’t a critic of it; he enjoys all types of music not just for its rhythm or lyrics, but the message that is underneath the melody as well. Labiance hopes to explore more music during his time in The Blaze.

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