In Drake’s book,
Titles Ruin Everything, he wits: “Those guys are so burnt out, we can smell it from here.” While this half-baked diss might’ve been for his enemies, it certainly seems like the call is coming from inside the house. The rapper has been on a packed three-year run: He became the industry’s in 2021, released two back-to-back albums that following year, and ended his Certified Lover Boy joint tour with 21 Savage this month. Drake’s drive is undeniably impressive, but that steam appeared to fade on his latest album, For All The Dogs.
Earlier this summer, the Toronto emcee shared in his book that
For All The Dogs (which dropped on Oct. 6) would embrace his older sonic roots — a sentiment that’s been following his career for over five years. However, his efforts to make a mature version of his classics, think of the self-indulgent beauty behind Take Care and Care Package, fell short on this release.
Sure, there’s snippets of voicemails from frustrated girlfriends and Drake’s classic rhyme-singing throughout the album — two nods of what made his
earlier works so infectious. But those tokens weren’t strong enough to dismiss how odd For All The Dogs is. On the all-bark-no-bite album, he uses tired flows and disjointed one-liners to dig up old drama, and those aims are intriguing yet exhausting at times. For All The Dogs sees Drake at his most unfiltered, but at a high cost. He’s an agent of chaos (which is a suitable, but unofficial name of his canine persona) on this album, and he’s already provided enough shade to completely overpower the album’s potential. In other words, welcome to the self-sabotaging Scorpio season.
From allegedly dissing Rihanna and A$AP Rocky to addressing old controversy, here are the messiest scandals from this era so far.
Drake’s Sampling Issue With Pet Shop Boys
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Drake sprinkles in quite a few samples on
For All The Dogs. While some of those inclusions liven up the album, others have sparked some backlash. On Oct. 6, the Pet Shop Boys called out Drake on X (formerly known as Twitter) for interpolating their 1986 hit, “West End Girls,” on the album without proper credit.
The interpolation can be heard on
“All the Parties,” a velvety track about Drake’s decades-long success in the rap game. In the final verse, Drake half-croons: “And it’s 6, our town a dead end world / East End boys and West End girls.”
This is a clear reference to the British pop duo’s
original hit, where they sing: “In a West End town, a dead end world / The East End boys and West End girls.”
Pet Shop Boys, which include members Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, aren’t featured in the track’s credits on
Genius or any other streaming platform. While Drake hasn’t responded to the call-out, it seems those in his team are aware of the sampling issue. One day after the album released, Mr. Morgan — the president of Drake’s OVO label — joked about the album’s potentially uncleared samples in the last slide of his Instagram post. Yikes. 02
Drake Allegedly Dissed Rihanna And A$AP Rocky On
For All The Dogs
For All The Dogs occasionally enters some murky territory in the lyrics department. That first trace appears on the album’s fourth track “Fear Of Heights,” where fans believe the rapper threw shade at his ex-girlfriend Rihanna and her new beau A$AP Rocky. That’s not all, though.
Drake also mentions Rocky’s nickname,
Pretty Flacko, on “Another Late Night” featuring Lil Yachty. He raps: “I ain’t Pretty Flacko. B*tch, this sh*t get really Rocky.” The couple hasn’t responded to the alleged shade; however, they’re not the only musicians Drake had choice words for. 03
Drake And Joe Budden Read Each Other For Filth On Social Media
Fans weren’t the only ones who thought
For All The Dogs was a disorienting album. Joe Budden, whose had a years-long feud with Drake, also shared his thoughts on the record on his self-titled podcast. In the Oct. 8 episode, Budden argued the Canadian emcee is “rapping for the kids, streams, and the accolades.”
“I had to look up how old this n*gga was when I finished listening to the album,” Budden said in the segment, which was later shared by
live-streamer DJ Akademiks on Instagram. “You are 36. Your birthday is in 20 days. I Googled that, too. Get the f*ck away from some of these younger n*ggas. And stop f*cking these 25-year-olds.”
With the duo having such a
fraught history, it wasn’t long until Drake responded to Budden’s criticism. That same day, the rapper fired back in the comments section of the Instagram post. “[Budden], you have failed at music,” he began the lengthy post, further mocking the retired rapper’s career. “For any artist watching this, just remember you are watching a failure give their opinion on his idea of a recipe for success. A quitter giv[ing] their opinion on how to achieve longevity.” Oof.
On Oct. 11, Budden returned to his podcast to
read and respond to Drake’s fiery comment. “Drake, I wish you would come out and say that I’m one of the best podcasters to ever do this sh*t,” Budden said. “I was disappointed. Even if we’re frenemies, I’m disappointed in him saying, ‘yo, I feel like you don’t have respect for me as a man.’ That’s not true.” 04
Drake Revealing He’s Still Not Over His Grammy Loss To Esperanza Spalding
Rihanna and A$AP Rocky weren’t the only ones to to feel Drake’s repressed wrath. On “Away From Home,” the rapper snipes at Esperanza Spalding, a jazz musician that
won the Best New Artist Grammy over him in 2011. Yes, 12 whole years ago.
In the multi-produced track, he raps: “Four GRAMMY’s to my name, a hundred nominations / Esperanza Spalding was gettin’ all the praises / I’m tryna keep it humble, I’m tryna keep it gracious / Who give a f*ck Michelle Obama put you on her playlist? / Then we never hear from you again like you was taken.”
Drake Addressed His Controversial Friendship With Millie Bobby Brown
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Millie Bobby Brown and Drake’s former friendship had social media stunned— and not in a pleasant way. In 2018, the
Stranger Things actor told Access Hollywood that they became friends after meeting in Australia the year prior and “text one another” regularly. This revelation didn’t sit right with many people, as the two have a large age gap: Brown was 14-years-old while Drake was 31-years-old at the time.
Drake was met with a swarm of criticism, and Brown ultimately
defended their friendship in her Instagram Stories that year. “Why u gotta make a lovely friendship ur headline? U guys are weird… for real,” she said at the time. “I’m very blessed to have amazing people in my life. U don’t get to choose that for me.”
Now, five years after their friendship went public, Drake addressed it on
For All The Dogs. On “Another Late Night,” he muses: “Weirdos in my comments talkin’ 'bout some Millie Bobby, look / Bring them jokes up to the gang, we get to really flockin’ / Or send a finger to your mama in some FedEx boxes / Open up that sh*t, it’s jaw-droppin’, really shockin’.” 06
Lil Yachty Makes An Unnecessary Comment About Billie Eilish’s Body
“Another Late Night” is evidence that some of Drake and Lil Yachty’s bars should’ve stayed in the dog pound. In another lyrical cut from the track, Lil Yachty raps: “She had big t*ts like Billie Eilish, but she couldn’t sing.”
This random remark had
fans scratching their heads, as Drake also had an interaction with Eilish that social media deemed inappropriate. Similar to the controversy with Brown, Drake was criticized for becoming friends with the singer before she turned 18. In November 2019, Eilish revealed in her annual interview with Vanity Fair that Drake was “the nicest dude she’d spoken to” and that they mostly communicate through text.
Then, three months later, she
doubled down on their friendship to Vogue. “A grown man can’t be a fan of an artist? There are so many people that the internet should be more worried about,” she said in February 2020, adding she found it odd that people called the rapper “creepy.”
Because of that interaction, many listeners thought it was distasteful for Drake to co-sign Yachty’s lyric.
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