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The Drake ‘For All the Dogs’ Exit Survey

Having released at least one project a year since 2021, Drake returns with For All the Dogs, which he’s been teasing since January 2023. After releasing a whole dance album and a collaborative project with It’s All a Blur tour mate 21 Savage in 2022, Drake’s eighth studio album comes during a quieter time for rap on the charts. Has he saved the game? What are our thoughts on what could be the last Drake songs for some time? The Ringer staff weighs in:

What’s your tweet-length review of For All the Dogs?

Justin Charity: What’s with the first 15 minutes of this thing? It’s this uncharacteristic slog of grayscale, post-genre, post-algorithm monotony. But then the third verse of “First Person Shooter” hits, and suddenly, mercifully, For All the Dogs becomes an entirely different venture.

Dan Comer: For All the Dogs is not quite “old Drake,” but Drake is too old to title a song “BBL Love—Interlude.”

Danny Heifetz: Drake is so old, he dropped an album at 6 a.m. instead of midnight.

Bridget Geerlings: Maybe my second-favorite album about dogs. I love you, Baha Men.

Khal Davenport: There’s a decent project in there, somewhere. Right?

Kellen Becoats: To loosely paraphrase Jay-Z, if I want the old Drake, I’m gonna just have to buy the old albums.

Keith Fujimoto:

Favorite song?

Charity: It’s currently a tie between “Rich Baby Daddy” and “First Person Shooter.”

Heifetz: Just when I was lamenting old Drake’s death, he drops “8am in Charlotte,” and I feel 17 again.

Fujimoto: The Drake rapping rapping track always gets me, so I gotta go with “8am in Charlotte.”

Becoats: Probably “Rich Baby Daddy.” It lets SZA cook, spotlights Sexxy Red in an ideal role, and just generally goes. It’s also the song I imagine is going to be all over the radio in the coming months. The overplay factor is definitely a concern, but I think “Rich Baby Daddy” probably has more personal playlist staying power than almost anything else on the tracklist.

Comer: “Slime You Out.” People will say it’s corny, but the calendar rap had me hooked from the moment I heard it a few weeks ago.

Geerlings: Close tie between “Rich Baby Daddy” and “Virginia Beach.”

Davenport: I will say “8am in Charlotte,” primarily because I thought Conductor Williams would have more production credits on For All the Dogs.

Least favorite song?

Charity: Can I count everything from “Virginia Beach” through “Daylight” as one song?

Comer: “Fear of Heights.” A Rihanna diss, in the year 2023? Why?

Fujimoto: “Fear of Heights” had me hitting skip after 30 seconds.

Davenport: “Fear of Heights” for sure, but I could also do without most of the first half of this album.

Heifetz: I am tired of the 21 Savage bromance.

Geerlings: I’m going with “Calling for You,” but only because I originally thought Drake was sampling the plane lady who yelled, “And I’m telling you right now, that motherfucker is not real.” But it’s just another woman complaining about flying in economy class, and I’ve never felt more disappointed in my life.

Becoats: It’s gotta be “Slime You Out.” All due respect to SZA for trying to save this song, but Drake really said, “Whipped and chained you like American slave” and expected everyone to keep it pushing? And that’s not even diving into the Halle Berry of it all.

Who’s your favorite For All the Dogs featured artist?

Comer: Love me some J. Cole, but I’m going SZA. She elevates “Slime You Out” and saves “Rich Baby Daddy” from being too redundant and overproduced to enjoy.

Heifetz: I regret to inform everybody: The best part of this album is J. Cole.

Geerlings: J. Cole on “First Person Shooter” takes the trophy for me.

Fujimoto: DJ Pooper Scooper and Lil Yachty for their hms, psshs, yeahs, and grrahhs.

Becoats: As he always does, 21 Savage came with the heat. He has like a minute and a half of time and gives us a verse that’s better than more than half of the ones Drake laid down. 21 remains the perfect counterbalance on any Drake song. The man hasn’t missed on a Drake feature in years.

Charity: Mr. Cozart, naturally.

Davenport: “All the Parties” is when things took a turn for the better, IMO, and that happened the moment Chief Keef started rapping.

How are you feeling about the production of this album?

Geerlings: An album that samples Frank Ocean, Florence and the Machine, and Drake’s 5-year-old son will immediately climb to the top of my list.

Charity: I love a lot of these beats and samples, actually—”All the Parties,” the 21 Savage portion of “Calling for You,” “What Would Pluto Do.” From a production standpoint, this is the strongest Drake album in quite a while.

Fujimoto: Hits every pocket, and though I appreciate the variety, I think he got a little heavy-handed with the beat switch-ups. The Vlad Guerrero Jr. of production switcheroos. I do enjoy the last 40 seconds of “Daylight,” though; no notes.

Comer: Too much in some places (“IDGAF”), too stripped down and insipid in others (“Fear of Heights”). Same old Noah, same old Drizzy.

Becoats: I’m mostly ambivalent about beats and production at this point. I think the older we get, the easier it becomes to criticize beats and crave the production of old—that being said, I will contend that nothing on this album makes me feel anything close to the moment I first heard “Lord Knows” or “Nonstop.” But like I said at the beginning, if you want old tracks, listen to the old albums. There are obvious moments of production brilliance on For All the Dogs, but it’s starting to feel like excellent Drake beats are the exception and not the rule.

Davenport: It’s a Drake album, so even if you don’t like a beat, another one that will suffice will gradually fall into a song, usually out of nowhere. I do like it when Drake steps out into different BPMs.

Heifetz: I can’t tell whether Drake is out of inspiration or I’m washed, but he used to make you feel a type of way walking down the sidewalk, and that isn’t here.

With 23 songs and clocking in at 84 minutes, For All the Dogs continues the “long solo Drake album” trend. Is this too much Drake? If so, how long should it have been?

Comer: We know—based on hundreds of sneaky-leak lyrics—that self-discipline isn’t Drake’s forte. That said, he should make moderation a priority moving forward. This project has 10-12 solid tracks, as did his previous few albums. That means his success rate is just over 50 percent, which isn’t quite what we expect from a rapper who’s called himself “top two, not two.” A succinct 12-track album with no skips would be better fan service than these marathon listens rife with production fluff and dangling disses.

Heifetz: I’ll take the 23 songs if that’s what it takes to get a time-stamp Drake song.

Fujimoto: These days, my favorite albums are ones I can listen to the whole way through on a Target run. In this album’s running time, I could probably get through two Target runs and grab a burrito before I hear Bad Bunny. Slice that track list in half!

Becoats: As a self-professed lover of short albums, when I opened the album and saw it was almost the running time of Bottoms, I audibly groaned. I don’t know how other folks feel, but I don’t need an album that’s over an hour. Hell, I don’t need an album over 45 minutes! I would rather hear Ramona Park Broke My Heart or Whack World 100 times than listen to a Drake joint while cleaning my apartment once.

Geerlings: It’s too much. I love an interlude, but “BBL Love” should have been left as a cringey text message on Drake’s phone.

Charity: Complaints about length are generally really complaints about quality, right? The album could be two hours long if these songs were consistently engaging. But the front of this thing is just a massive waste of time.

Davenport: Drake needs an executive producer. Someone he respects enough not to question when they say, “We’re good at 12 tracks, Aubrey.” Some albums are excellent as EPs, while others could be solid if they removed the bloat.

Rapping Drake or singing Drake: Do you have a preference?

Charity: There are a few different versions of Rapping Drake, with endless stream of monotone triplets being the worst version of rapping Drake and also the worst overall version of Drake. But otherwise, I’d still rather hear Drake jack the Juve-Boosie flow in this very hungry and irreverent way on “First Person Shooter” than listen to him sing some more. His singing, while historically novel in a lot of ways that have already been overanalyzed to death, isn’t actually very dynamic and to my ear represents a really narrow range of possibilities for Drake’s self-expression. If you’ve heard him yodel once, you’ve heard him yodel a million times.

Geerlings: I prefer Drake singing, but only when the beat is uplifting. (I, too, cringed after I realized this rhymed.)

Heifetz: Rapping Drake.

Davenport: If we’re playing Desert Island and I have to choose between listening to only singing Drake or rapping Drake for the rest of my life, I’d choose rapping Drake. Sure, the number of goofy bars will increase as his catalog progresses, but the last thing I need to hear is Drake singing about anything ever again.

Becoats: I prefer rapping Drake when he actually has something to say or can introduce some clever wordplay. “Feel like I’m bi, girl / ’cause you’re one of the guys, girl” and “Where I go, you go, brother, we’re Yugoslavian / Formal is a dress code, dawg / So many checks owed, I feel like I’m Czeslovakian” ain’t it. So I guess by default, I’m going singing Drake here. Hopefully he gets back to “Closer to Your Dreams” singing Drake and edges away from the vocals he’s given us for the past couple of albums.

Fujimoto: It’s the Larry David thinking meme. Sometimes rapping Drake has a solid point, and sometimes singing Drake makes an even better point.

Comer: The correct answer to Tom Brady or Bill Belichick is Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. You cannot have one without the other. The same logic applies to rapping Drake vs. singing Drake.

Honest thoughts on Drake rapping and singing in Spanish?

Comer: OK, so is Drake actually bilingual? Or does he just practice certain pronunciations and accents over and over and over to give the appearance of being bilingual? I think it’s the latter, which is very funny to imagine. Either way, pretty good bit.

Heifetz: Only song on the album you can dance to.

Davenport: I couldn’t help but laugh. We’re almost five years from the release of their previous collaboration, “Mía.” They did a better job back then, IMO, mostly because I can’t take Drake on the intro of “Gently” seriously.

Becoats: He is so unserious. Drake loves cosplaying as people from different cultures, so it shouldn’t have surprised me, but hearing “Gently” for the first time almost had me doing this. None of this criticism extends to Bad Bunny, by the way, who floated on the beat as usual.

Charity: I mean, if Toad can do it …

Geerlings: I’m just glad someone else spent too much time on Duolingo during the pandemic.

Fujimoto: I know why he called on Bad Bunny to close things out. I’ll just leave it at that.

The For All the Dogs lyric you’ll most likely see as an Instagram caption this weekend is …

Geerlings: From me personally, it’s going to be “I’m with Red like I’m at a Cincinnati game,” because after placing painful parlays for the Reds and Bengals to win their respective championships this year, I needed to feel better about my choices and I got that.

Becoats: We are not prepared for the absolute deluge of folks this weekend posting videos at the bar or club that are gonna be captioned “Shake that ass for Drake, shake that ass for me.” My runners-up would be the most toxic person you know posting “They tried to kill him, but the Boy prevails” and “Things get quiet after me stating the obvious.”

Davenport: “Things get quiet after me stating the obvious,” for sure.

Comer: “I swear to God you think I’m Shakespeare / That’s why you always wanna play, right?”

Charity: This question alone makes all of us, including Drake himself, sound old as shit.

Heifetz: The caption won’t be a lyric. It will be “For All the Dogs,” which is how you know people aren’t even listening to the album.

Fujimoto: All I know is every Nadine, Christine, Justine, Kathleen, Charlene, Pauline, and Claudine is gonna get an IG engagement boost this weekend.

What do you want to see next from Drake?

Davenport: More rapping over Conductor Williams beats.

Charity: “Just the Two of Us ’23”

Heifetz: Stop collaborating with 21 Savage and start dating Kim Kardashian.

Geerlings: I want Drake and Randy Newman to collaborate more than anything. Their pens are powerful, and they would be the only duo I’d venture to Vegas for, despite the panic attacks that would ensue from sitting in the Sphere.

Fujimoto: A collab EP with Khruangbin.

Becoats: I would love for him to stop weirdly antagonizing Megan Thee Stallion and giving big incel energy and get back to giving us complete albums. Dude is approaching his late 30s and has a propensity to act like he’s still on his parents’ health insurance.

Comer: In his Table for One SiriusXM series, Drake revealed that because of health issues, he’s going to “lock the door to the studio” for “maybe a year, maybe a little longer.” Good for him. Health issues aside, Drake’s released four projects in the span of three years, which has resulted in some fan fatigue. A break from music sounds like it would be good for everyone, so long as Drake doesn’t go full Frank Ocean on us.

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The Drake ‘For All the Dogs’ Exit Survey


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