Drake barks up the right tree with ‘For All the Dogs’ and strengthens his musical legacy

By Noel Sanchez, Oct. 17, 2023

Leading up to the release of his eighth solo studio album “For All the Dogs,” Drake made various promises to the public that included him returning to his old genres and creating music for the original fans that lifted him to a five-time Grammy award winner. Even though this release is not his best work, it is a prime example of Drake gauging what direction the music scene is moving in and telling a story through a unique lens that highlights succeeding alongside those closest to him.

At this point in his career, the 36-year-old icon has yet to see a significant drop-off in streaming numbers and continues to supply his fans with new music, experimental flows and a variety of features. Released Oct. 6 as soon as his U.S. tour ended, “FATD” is Drake’s fourth album since 2021.

Drake uses this album as opportunity to illustrate the importance of brotherhood in his industry. He features some of his best friends, his biggest rivals and the rap genre’s rising stars as a means to satisfy everybody’s expectations while making music that is “for all the dogs,” or friends, out there.

Throughout all 23 tracks, it feels like the Canadian rapper is never trying too hard with his wordplay, and this allows listeners to understand each song and appreciate the small details within them. Drake shouts out a number of producers on the album that helped bring his vision to light such as BNYX, Tay Keith and Southside, showing that he wants his audience to appreciate the background work of his music as much as they appreciate his performance. “FATD” has Drake pushing boundaries as he bounces through different beats using heavy 808’s, guitars and slow drums.

Songs such as “IDGAF” and “Rich Baby Daddy” feature younger artists still on the rise like Yeat and Sexyy Red.

The “FATD” journey starts listeners with Drake reminiscing on past relationships and memories over a Frank Ocean sample with his introductory song “Virginia Beach.” He has conducted multiple interviews explaining how his fame and dedication to his career do not allow him to settle down romantically with one person. However, this track along with “Tried Our Best” and “Polar Opposites” allows him to explain his case.

The Toronto native spent the majority of the 2010s trying to find a successful balance between his rapping and singing personas. Recent projects teased the idea of Drake focusing more on his actual songwriting and delivering powerful messages within his tracks that would give his album that much more life.

Approximately eight hours before “FATD” hit streaming platforms, Drake released the music video for “8am in Charlotte,” a song that perfectly embodies what the heart and soul of the album is about.

This four-minute song goes deep into the trouble Drake has had keeping an eye on those closest to him while also trying to take care of himself. He mentions the titular “Dogs” a number of times and illustrates how he tries to guide them in terms of finances, staying out of trouble and mentions how everybody needs to be able to look back on the decisions they make The rest of the track consists of Drake going further in-depth about his everyday lifestyle and how few truly understand what it is like.

“8am in Charlotte” is in a class of its own compared to the rest of the songs on this album. It’s one of the few that focuses on wordplay because overall, it does not feel like Drake’s main priority was to deliver Grade-A lyrics this time around. Instead, he aimed to switch up his sound and reward old audiences.

The rap genre is one that always garners criticism about many of its artists sounding the same. Drake remains a household name in the genre and listeners usually look to him to pave the way for the next generation of rappers. Therefore, it was important for him to get out of his comfort zone on this album, and with tracks like “Gently” and “Another Late Night” he was able to do just that.

Bad Bunny features on “Gently” and partnered up with Drake for the first time on an official release since 2018. Drake fully adheres to the sound that has made the 29-year-old Puerto Rican artist one of the biggest at the international level. Drake does not shy away from delivering his lyrics in Spanish, and the two bounce off each other the entire time as they boast about their musical success.

Feature image courtesy of Noel Sanchez 

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