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Miami bass-backed disses on Drake’s “For All the Dogs”

The Come Up Show | Wikimedia Commons
The Come Up Show | Wikimedia Commons

Drake has always had a reputation for producing chart-topping hits, with the last three years being prime examples of his catchy and buzzy music.

Drake continues to add to his hype with “For All The Dogs,” the newest entry to his discography,

“For All The Dogs” is the rapper’s first solo LP since 2022’s surprise release “Honestly Nevermind’.”

During his interim period, he joined forces with 21 Savage for 2022’s ‘Her Loss.’ Drake announced the new project in June 2023 via a QR Code while promoting his poetry book, “Titles Ruin Everything.”

“For All The Dogs” delivers different sounds and production styles like Miami bass 808s and New York drill. The album caters to fans who love the rap side of Drake while also sliding in plenty of singable R&B flows.

The new album promised the return of what many call “the old Drake,” which refers to the rapper’s early R&B-inspired heartbreak anthems that made him famous.

Drake is one of the few artists whose lyrics must be broken down sentence by sentence, as the rapper is infamous for throwing subtle shade at other notable figures in his songs.

The track “Fear of Heights” includes lyrics that some speculate reference Rihanna, whom he briefly dated in 2016.

In the track, Drake says, “Gyal can’t run me/Better him than me/I’m anti, I’m anti/Yeah, and the sex was average with you/Yeah, I’m anti cause I had with you.” The word “gyal” could be a play on the Fenty Beauty mogul’s Caribbean heritage.

His frequent use of “anti” could be a reference to her last album of the same name.

Despite the indirect shot at the singer, the track is not the greatest in terms of memorable hooks. The beat is heavily influenced by rage rap, but his voice is bereft of energy. Even with its catchy and provocative lyrics, the track feels like it drags on.

Arguably, Drake’s strongest song on the record is “First Person Shooter” featuring J. Cole. The track is their first collaboration in over a decade, and the two of them take on the “big 3” debate that has dominated hip-hop conversations since their and Kendrick Lamar’s popularity skyrocketed in the early 2010s.

“Love when they argue the hardest MC/ Is it K-Dot? Is it Aubrey? Or me?/ We the Big Three like we started a league, but right now, I feel like Muhammed Ali,” Cole spits on the track.

With his J. Cole collab being the most noteworthy track, other highlights include “Virginia Beach,” the first track on the album where he pens an ode to arch-rival Pusha T’s hometown., The intro track is bogged down by its not-so-fresh bars, but the production keeps listeners engaged.

Another highlight is “All the Parties” with Chicago drill rapper Chief Keef. The song partially uses the chorus of the Pet Shop Boys’ 1986 synth-pop hit “West End Girls.”

The weakest track is “Away From Home,” where Drake takes shots at Grammy-winning jazz musician Esperanza Spalding.

“Four Grammys to my name, a hundred nominations/Esperanza Spalding was gettin’ all the praises/I’m tryna keep it humble, I’m tryna keep it gracious/Who give a f**k Michelle Obama put you on her playlist?/Then we never hear from you again like you was taken,” Drake raps.

The bars refer to Spalding winning the Best New Artist at the 2011 Grammys over him. The incident happened over a decade ago, so the question remains as to why bring it up now.

With an all-star roster of collaborators, including surprise guest stars like Bad Bunny, Teezo Touchdown and SZA, the album reasserts Drake’s ability to carefully select artists who will help him expand his already massive appeal.

Regarding sound quality, the album draws on trendy sounds outside his usual comfort zone.

“For All The Dogs” is another album exemplifying Drake’s musical mark in the industry and his ability to draw up controversy. Despite the hits and misses, it’s an enjoyable album suitable for repeat listens.

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Jahlil Rush
Jahlil Rush, Production Assistant
Jahlil Rush is a Production Assistant for The Ticker.
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