For All The Dogs Scary Hours Edition

For All The Dogs Scary Hours Edition

“These ideologies are haunting.” —Drake In the dog days of summer 2023, Drake did a very Drake thing: Just before embarking on tour, he revealed that he’d written a poetry book called Titles Ruin Everything. To spread the news, he took out ads in several major newspapers. On them was a QR code which led to another announcement: “I made an album to go with the book. They say they miss the old Drake girl don’t tempt me. FOR ALL THE DOGS.” The “old Drake” line, as real heads know, is a reference to “Headlines,” a song from the early days of Champagne Papi’s rise from Canadian curiosity to global superstar. The old Drake was an underdog, a former child actor and Lil Wayne protégé who blended hip-hop and R&B in a way that would indelibly change both. And the new Drake? He’s a 36-year-old father of one who’s responsible for a not-small percentage of Toronto’s annual tourist economy and who, with the release of “Slime You Out,” is one No. 1 single away from tying Michael Jackson on the all-time list. (By the time his Scary Hours version dropped six weeks later, he’d tied it.) If there’s anything Old Drake and New Drake can agree on, it’s hour-and-a-half-long blockbuster albums that master the fine art of score-settling. Drizzy’s gone through plenty of phases in his 15 years in the running as one of hip-hop’s GOATs: albums full of wintry grime and drill, or breezy dance albums for the baddies to turn up to on girls’ night. For All the Dogs, his eighth studio album, has more in common with 2011’s Take Care, the star-making opus loaded with luxuriant beats and big-name features. But instead of drunk-dialing his exes, Drake’s…well, he’s still doing that every now and again. Mostly, though, he’s with his dogs. The album’s loose framework is a late-night local radio program: BARK Radio, live from Chapel Hill, whose hosts include Teezo Touchdown, Drake’s crush/idol Sade, and the occasional chorus of hounds. This particular broadcast is a sumptuous banquet of classically Drake techniques, starting with the smirking fake-out that is intro track “Virginia Beach.” (If you know, you know.) There’s the requisite Houston worship on “Screw the World,” the new jack swing peacocking of “Amen,” and the swanky-sounding “Bahamas Promises,” which opens with a couplet only Drizzy could pull off: “Broken pinkie promises/You fucked up our Bahamas trip.” He’s scoffing at rap’s NPCs with J. Cole on “First Person Shooter” and taking relationship advice from Future on “What Would Pluto Do.” On “BBL Love,” he drops an all-timer for the “that’s so Drake” archives, musing, “They say love’s like a BBL, you won’t know if it’s real until you feel one,” as if anyone has ever said such a thing whose name isn’t Aubrey Drake Graham. But it isn’t officially a Drake album till you get to the song with the city name and timestamp in the title. On “8am in Charlotte,” over a boom-bap beat from Conductor Williams, Drake presides over his dogs like a coach before the big game, initiates breakups at five-star restaurants, and unleashes a barrage of knee-slappers you can imagine him deploying 20 years from now at his eventual Vegas residency. In the video, the most successful rapper of his generation wears a hoodie emblazoned with “HATE SURVIVOR.” Never one to rest on his laurels, he’d recorded the third entry in his Scary Hours series in a spontaneous five-day blitz. “It’s like a storm before the calm—we’ll get to the vacation later,” he raps on “Stories About My Brother,” a song made to be played in high-dollar LA supper clubs. There’s a lot of action packed into the project’s six additional tracks: a Yeezy mention in “Red Button,” a refutation of Old Drake’s romantic ways on the scathing “The Shoe Fits,” a second J. Cole verse on “Evil Ways,” and a rousing chorus of “Fuck my ex” over a beat with all the pomp and circumstance of a graduation anthem on closer “You Broke My Heart.”

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