For All The Dogs
Just because I been on a run doesn't mean I don't know how to walk away I'll let you get your bars off over text but don't forget you're talking to Drake Personality Morality Immeasurable salary 100 dollar bills that I'm counting like a calorie Shells for the peanut gallery Probably better off with Mallory or Valerie You tearing up and sniffling while reacting like some allergies Saying what I mean isn't mean if you're really listening - it's reality — 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. 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. (Speaking of fine art, that’s a drawing from his five-year-old son Adonis on the cover.) 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 change, Drake, never change.