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The Eagle

For All The Dogs: All Bark And No Bite?

A track by track dissection of Canadian rapper Drake’s latest release
The album cover of Drakes latest release
The album cover of Drake’s latest release

Drake, the alpha wolf of hip hop, dominating the streaming world with over 87 billion streams on Spotify alone, released his newest record. The album amassed 109 million first-day streams, the seventh-highest debut of all time and is his 13th LP to hit No. 1. 

A testament to Drake’s successful formula and god-like popularity is the fact that the album has given rappers J Cole and Yeat their first number-one songs, each of them having their respective fanbases. 

Drake fans were caught in both disbelief and wonderment when it was revealed on his Instagram that his album artwork was a dog drawn by his son Adonis. 

Then, fans were filled with excitement when a hint at a new single with SZA was teased, with a post of a woman covered in slime tagged the R&B artist in it. 

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After the release of the single, fan anticipation was at an all-time high. Drake’s previous surprise solo record “Honestly Nevermind” was met with mixed reception, possibly due to him trying to get out of the cage of rap and make a dance record. 

Despite the anticipation, the original release date of Sept. 22 was pushed back to Oct. 6. Now that the record has finally been released, will it be looked back at as a tail wagger or a cheap bowl of kibble? 

Virginia Beach: Although not as cinematic as album openers “Tuscan Leather” or “Champagne Poetry” this song is an excellent and laid-back album opener. The song sees Drake doing his usual melodic rapper shtick over an infectious Frank Ocean sample. 

Amen: This song sees the album take an unexpected but highly rewarding gospel spin as the highly talented and uprising artist Teezo Touchdown sings the repeated refrain “praying.” The song has an excellent piano instrumental and a genius transition from the song to the next adding a sense of continuity in the record. 

Calling For You: This song is a highlight of the record. A multi-phased song that starts off with a soulful and head-bopping beat with Drake providing some of his catchiest singing on the record. There is then a cinematic interlude with a woman complaining about going on vacation with him and being fed jerk chicken and oxtail daily. The latter half of the song has a beat switch-up featuring 21 Savage that makes a nun want to shake her rump. 

Fear Of Heights: The song starts off with the same slow melodic sound of the previous three tracks before transitioning into a mosh crowd-worthy rager beat. Drake begins his dog references on this track asking if a woman can make a certain area do the dog. This track sees Drake be a lot more braggadocious as he raps “They scared of lil Aubrey.”

Daylight: Starting off with a sample of Tony Montana from the movie Scarface, Drake then murders the mic on a menacing beat as he repeats the refrain “Shot em’ in daylight.” The song then suddenly transitions to a verse from Drake’s son Adonis over a mean boom-bap beat as his kid says “Don’t talk to my man like that.” The ending of the song has not so surprisingly blown up on social media.

First Person Shooter: This song starts off proclaiming that a collaboration between Drake and J Cole is as big as the Super Bowl. Drake and J Cole then continue to go back and forth tag teaming the song’s soul-elevating beat with bars from J Cole such as: “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 Muhammad Ali. ”The song then has a beat switch up as Drake starts to rap in a lyrical and vocal fit of rage, sounding as if he was unhinged in the booth. An excellent song from start to finish. 

IDGAF: This track starts off with a disorienting and psychedelic jazz opener making you forget the record you’re listening to, before suddenly transitioning. Randomly, Yeat starts spitting with his unusual but prodigious vocal delivery. The song’s beat is contagious and it makes sense that it skyrocketed to the top of the charts. 

7969 Santa: This song slows down the pace again after the mania of the previous tracks, although it could be seen as a musical sleeper; repeated listening to this song will make you appreciate it more. The track starts off with Drake complaining about women (per usual) before slowing down with a piano instrumental and Teezo Touchdown laying down heavenly vocals. Another surprising feature is at the end of the track, and none more fitting for the record than the beloved Snoop Dogg, as he makes dog puns and allures to the single with SZA being the next track. 

Slime You Out: This song has a soulful and effective beat with some of Drake’s best singing on the record. When Drake’s singing starts to get old, the highly acclaimed artist SZA raps and sings her heart out, elevating an otherwise average song. This song’s downside, and one of the first skippable parts of the record, comes when Drake nonchalantly raps about the calendar and makes bad wordplay, a section that ruins an otherwise great song. The ending of this track diminishes the replay value of the song making it a mediocre listen compared to others. 

Bahamas Promises: Alright Drake, are you singing or rapping? Despite this song further demolishing the pacing of an album that is already 23 tracks, it cannot be denied that Drake Roofs some impressive vocals over a very groovy organ beat. The track starts and finishes with sound effects of dogs barking, furthering the broad dog concept explored throughout the record. 

Tried Our Best: Although not a bad song, this song sees even the most patient listener start to want to snore as Drake sings his usual vocals over a laid-back instrumental. Although there is nothing wrong with the song, it fails to stand out in the larger picture of the album. 

Screw The World: This track is the first interlude on the record and is a sample of Houston’s famous DJ Screw, founder of the chopped and screwed style. Although it was honorable for Drake to throw a dog a bone, this song does not fit in well with the album’s sound and does not function well as an interlude.

Drew A Picasso: By this point, the album’s pacing is horrendous, an album that is the length of a short film needs something exciting to keep the listener engaged and this song does not succeed at doing so. The song has a decent instrumental but is otherwise forgettable. 

Members Only: This song starts off with Drake saying “Lord, please guide my way” which can be seen as a very hypocritical lyric as Drake also brags about gang violence and his sexually fueled lifestyle. He also on this song continually sings “You’re too down with the gangy”’ an appalling cringe lyric as Drake continues to not rap for the rest of the song. When will Drake learn that the world liked Hotline Bling because it was catchy and had a sing-along melody? Both aspects which this song lacks. 

What Would Pluto Do: This song finally sees Drake pick up the speed as he continues to rap sexually explicit lyrics and innuendos like “I wanna slide in your box like a vote” and “have you coming out your shell like a yolk” two hilarious lines that are reminiscent of Yeezus era Kanye West. Overall, this song starts to see the album find footing again in a sea of middle-of-the-road love songs. 

All The Parties: A song that sees Drake apparently listening to the pet shop boys recently as he sings “The East Side Boys and West End Girls” near the end. Unfortunately, the group called out Drake for not crediting them in the song. The start of the song has a brief feature of Chief Keef and the ending sees another guest saying “You are listening to B.A.R.K radio”.

8am in Charlotte: This song is a somewhat retrospective song that sees Drake rap again after much melodic mayhem. The song features an adorable music video that has Adonis explain the art he drew that would end up being the album cover. The most heartwarming part is the words “daddy” above the drawing of a goat relaying to the world that Drake is daddy goat. We can all thank Pusha T for this revelation. 

BBL Love: We get it Drake you enjoy getting frisky and have relationship problems (wonder why) regardless this song features some funny lyrics and great flows from Drake. This song is the superior interlude on the album and is a solid track overall. 

Gently: What better way for Drake to start a song than singing in Spanish (not). Nonetheless, this track is a fun switch-up in a tracklist that is more bloated than a pregnant woman. The second half of the song has highly popular Puerto Rican artist Bad Bunny rapping which is a nice addition to the album. 

Rich Baby Daddy: One might scour in fear when they see that this song features rambunctious female rapper Sexyy Red who released one of the most annoying songs of the year. However, her refrain (which is just as raunchy) is surprisingly enjoyable. The song is a much-needed sonic detour with its fast trap drums. The song also features a short feature from SZA. Drake ends the song proclaiming with autotune “The dog days are over”. Despite this statement, the dog days of Drake making distasteful lyrics about his sex life are still present. 

Another Late Night: At the beginning of this track Drake threatens to pull a Luka Magnotta on somebody’s mother if they comment on him trying to groom Millie Bobby Brown. This doesn’t ruin this song with its solid synth beat and feature from Lil Yachty. By this point in the album, one might wonder what the larger message of such a lengthy record is? The only message they get though is that Drake does not get along well with women. 

Away From Home: An upbeat song that has Drake delivering some woof-worthy flows. With two songs left this song makes you want the alum to end. This song nonetheless is a very solid track that sees Drake pick up the pace in the final stretch of this musical marathon with decent lyrics and a run-of-the-mill beat. 

Polar Opposites: This song has great singing from Drake and a delightful beat. However, a good closer can’t remove the mental strain of an album composed of a lot of filler. The ending of this song sees the beat air out which is a delicious treat to the end of one big, meaty T-bone steak to swallow. 

If I had to use an analogy for what listening to this album feels like, it is like eating a big bowl of kibble that makes you throw up instead of being full. The energy in the album builds up at the beginning of the tracklist before plummeting towards the second half, picking back up at the end. This issue, with the lengthy tracklist, makes the album hard to finish. 

The album would have benefited from being two separate albums to help alleviate the bulky track list. While featuring some out-of-this-world production, extraordinary features and certified ragers this album falls short. It is all barking and whining but there is no growl that makes this recording cutting edge or revolutionary. The big dog Drake drops another project that in terms of hits soar, but in terms of artistic value? A doggy did not deliver…

Thermometer Reading: 60°F (Warm, but not hot)

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About the Contributor
Sean Saunders, Design Editor
Sean Saunders (he/him) is a Senior at GlenOak this year. This will be his third year on staff. Sean is involved in Concert Choir, Chorale, and Men’s Chorus in school. Outside of school Sean attends his youth group and is a student ambassador. A fun fact about Sean is that he enjoys listening to the artist Prince.
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