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October 26, 2023

Drake barks about toxic relationships on For All The Dogs

Pranavi Ramineni
Popular artist and rapper Drake released his highly-anticipated album For All the Dogs on Oct. 6. In reviewing this latest musical offering, The Sidekick staff writer Taylor Pham delves into how the album applauds the inclusion of impressive features, including SZA on “Rich Baby Daddy,” which add depth and diversity to the tracks, while critiquing the album’s length, writing that 23 tracks is excessive. Graphic by Pranavi Ramineni

Canadian singer and rapper Aubrey Drake Graham, also known as Drake, is a leading artist in today’s music scene and has been popular among the younger generation since his debut mixtape, Room for Improvement, in 2006.

His new album, For All The Dogs, released Oct. 6, takes listeners on a musical journey showcasing his singing and a mix of hip-hop, R&B and pop.

Drake’s eighth studio album consists of 23 songs and 10 featured artists, including Bad Bunny, 21 Savage and Yeat. The cover, a white dog with red eyes, was drawn by his son, Adonis Graham. For All The Dogs was originally to be released on Sept. 22, but was postponed to 6 a.m. on Oct. 6. However, fans may find this album worth the wait.

From the get-go, Drake creates a feeling of nostalgia through his first track, “Virginia Beach,” which reminds listeners of his music style from the late 2010s. Throughout the album, melodies and rhythms resembling his older songs, such as “One Dance” and “In My Feelings,” are woven into each track. This can be seen as Drake’s tribute to his past self and works as a long-time artist.

Arguably, the similarity between For All The Dogs and his previous tunes can be viewed as unoriginal and repetitive. As the album progresses, the beats start to sound redundant, calling Drake’s talent and originality as an artist into question.

Though For All The Dogs seems to lack inspiration and uniqueness, the featured artists on this album certainly make up for its shortcomings. Drake and his collaborators sing about the rough parts of relationships, including trust issues and emotional manipulation. Various rappers and singers help to enhance the tracks during their parts, such as SZA on “Rich Baby Daddy” and J. Cole on “First Person Shooter.”

In “Slime You Out”, the ninth song and lead single featuring SZA, Drake conveys the confusion and frustration of being used by someone else. He expresses, “Next time, I swear on my grandmother grave / I’m slimin’ you for them kid choices you made”, while SZA choruses, “Slimin’ you out, I’m slimin’ you out, I’m slimin’ you out,” revealing that the artists recognize how toxic their exes were and are careful not to let them in again.

For All The Dogs has more of an R&B vibe than the rap-style music listeners have received from Drake lately. A series of chill beats and sounds accompany the mesmerizing lyrics of each track, creating a summery feel.

Some tracks, such as “Bahamas Promises” and “8AM in Charlotte,” successfully blend soulful music with Drake’s melodies. On the other hand, many elements in this album struggle to mix together, sounding randomly and carelessly thrown into the songs.

Drake concludes the album with “Polar Opposites,” where he expresses the feeling of being disappointed by his lover after trying to trust her again. In the second verse of the track, he sings, “Had plans to understand ya / Mariana, you broke my faith / Why you gotta listen to the propaganda? / We just broke the ice, and now you’re both leaving,” indicating he was willing to give his ex another chance, but she once again proved to be unreliable.

For All The Dogs is a rollercoaster of nostalgia and moodiness, leaving listeners feeling wistful. While Drake manages to release a portion of magnificent songs on this album, a majority of these tracks sound unoriginal and tedious. It could be suggested that Drake prioritizes quality over quantity, taking the time to enrich his music instead of focusing on releasing as many songs as he can.

Nevertheless, For All The Dogs is certainly a chill album and a good listen.

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About the Contributors
Taylor Pham
Taylor Pham, Staff Writer
Taylor Pham is a sophomore and staff designer for The Sidekick. In her free time, she plays video games, watches TV, does makeup and skincare and plays the piano. Her favorite subject in school is English because she enjoys writing essays. Her go-to meal is lettuce with Olive Garden dressing, croutons and mozzarella cheese. Her favorite drinks are the Thai tea at 7 Leaves with 70% sugar, less ice and boba and the blue raspberry Nerd slushie at Sonic. This summer, she went on a trip to Japan. She enjoyed shopping at the Japanese convenience stores and visiting the various entertainment districts. Her favorite TV show is LEGO Ninjago and her favorite movie is Spirited Away. She likes listening to Tory Lanez, 21 Savage, Keshi, Chase Atlantic and Lana Del Rey. Her favorite albums are Cry Baby by Melanie Martinez, Starboy by The Weeknd, Alone at Prom by Tory Lanez, Born to Die by Lana Del Rey, and Beatopia by Beabadoobee. When she goes to college, she wants to major in Marketing and Advertising. Her favorite video games are League of Legends, Roblox, Super Smash Bros, and Brawl Stars. Currently, she’s a professional passenger princess and part-time money spender. She’s also a lion dancer on the Pháp Quang lion dance team and a devoted member of her youth group. At Coppell High School, she’s the Vice President of the Coppell EASA (East Asian Student Association). You can contact her at [email protected] or @tayyylorpham on Instagram.
Pranavi Ramineni
Pranavi Ramineni, Staff Writer
As you walk into the lavender room of Coppell High School sophomore Pranavi Ramineni, your eyes may catch the Haikyu poster, or a picture of Pranavi as a child with her grandfather, maybe her Coppell Middle School West Team Volleyball poster or the plethora of underwater watercolor paintings. Each of these are a facet of her identity. As your eyes continue to wander, they will set on the girl perched on her bed watching TV. You will first notice Pranavi’s hair, always out and as expressive as her. “There is a lot of my story behind my hair,” Ramineni said. “I cut my hair twice in elementary for cancer patients. In third grade, I cut it 12 inches. In fifth grade, I cut it eight inches.” But that inherent kindness to help the community shows in everything Pranavi does. As a first-year staffer on The Sidekick, Pranavi initially joined to surprise her friend for their birthday but continued because of her hopes to be a cartoonist and page designer. Regardless of whether she is painting with watercolor or singing for the Coppell Choir, Pranavi believes people can tell a story through a variety of mediums. In her free time, she enjoyed reading books, watching TV shows like the Real Housewives, or sitting at the local neighborhood park with friends that are able to be wholeheartedly themselves. In the future, Pranavi wants to apply computer science to the world of architecture and interior designing. You can contact her by emailing [email protected].

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