What Drake Is Doing Wrong—and How He Can Fix It

In this episode of the Pitchfork Review podcast, our critics talk about what made them care about Drake in the first place, why his new album For All the Dogs is so frustratingly mid, and what he should do next.
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Our weekly podcast includes in-depth analysis of the music we find extraordinary, exciting, and just plain terrible. This week Reviews Director Jeremy D. Larson hosts Features Editor Ryan Dombal and Contributing Writer Julianne Escobedo Shepherd to discuss all things Drake following the release of his eighth album, For All the Dogs. When, exactly, did he fall off? Why does this album feel like such a slog? And what could he be doing differently? We’ve got some ideas.

Listen to this week’s episode and read an excerpt from it below. Follow The Pitchfork Review here.

Jeremy D. Larson: If you guys were suddenly inducted into Drake’s crew—in the upper echelon—and could whisper in his ear and say, “Here’s what you need to do for your next album.” What are you telling him?

Ryan Dombal: I really feel like Drake is at his best when there is a woman in the room—he needs that kind of guidance. And I feel like SZA is one of very few artists who can go toe-to-toe with him on a commercial and artistic level. So I’d love to hear a joint mixtape with Drake and SZA, with both of them almost exclusively rapping, that’s entirely produced by Evilgiane, who’s basically the best rap producer of 2023. He did the Kendrick and Baby Keem song “The Hillbillies” and Earl Sweatshirt’s “Making the Band (Danity Kane)” too. If that were Drake’s next project, I would once again fool myself into being excited for it.

Julianne Escobedo Shepherd: Here’s my idea: Drake recently said he was gonna take a year or more off because of stomach issues.

Larson: Prayers up.

Shepherd: So what if he lives in a salt cave or something for a year, doesn’t let any noise in, deeply communes with himself, and then does an ambient album?

Dombal: Kind of following the steps of fellow Canadian Leonard Cohen…

Shepherd: Wow, yeah.

Dombal: This is a great idea.

Shepherd: I don’t know if it’s a great idea, actually, because I don’t know if the resulting music would be good. [laughs] But I think Drake needs to have a moment where he can just be Drake and reset and then do something completely new.