NEW YORK – Hip-hop’s top dog is readying a new album, and it could be here sooner than you think.
Drake told a capacity-filled Barclays Center crowd in Brooklyn Thursday night that his upcoming project, “For All the Dogs,” would drop in approximately “a couple of weeks.” The 36-year old megastar, known for releasing music without an announced date, teased the potential project at his intimate Apollo show in January.
In addition to Thursday's announcement, the five-time Grammy winner, photographed wearing a Doberman dog mask earlier in the day, said he was also releasing a new freestyle on Friday.
While details are scarce, he confirmed a Nick Minaj-collaboration during a Detroit show earlier this month. “For All the Dogs” will mark his latest project since his 21 Savage-joint album, “Her Loss,” released in November. His last solo release, the dance-themed “Honestly, Nevermind” EP, dropped in 2022.
While the summer of 2023 has marked a strong showing of girl power with women-led concerts, including Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, Drake’s 56-date “It Was All a Blur” tour has reminded the music world he is not to be forgotten.
Drizzy’s Thursday night performance marked his third of four straight sold out shows at Barclays, with three more New York-area stints at Madison Square Garden starting Sunday. It’s his first headline outing since the pre-COVID Aubrey & the Three Migos tour in 2018.
Drake, who released his first book of poetry last month with songwriter Kenza Samir, named “Titles Ruin Everything: A Stream of Consciousness,” opened with his pensive, deep album cut, “Look What You’ve Done,” a piano-led dedication to his mother, uncle, and grandmother from 2011’s “Take Care.”
He then launched into some of his early hits such as “Marvins Room,” “Say Something” and “Feel No Ways,” the relationship-dissolving track that became hugely popular despite not being a single. In addition to early songs, Drake delved into more material from his Young Money era before giving the crowd many of his latest and greatest big records from his solo setlist of more than 35 songs.
Declaring the greatness of his hit-making, the Toronto native confidently told the audience — who were on their feet for virtually the entire two-hour set — “Nobody’s (expletive) with me. I got too many,” a sentiment he repeated a various times.
Throughout the night, a spectacular light show bounced throughout the arena and various giant inflatables or figures that were suspended above the stage circled Drake. They included a bride, a Peter Pan effigy, a blowup resembling an exotic dancer, and a huge singular, holographic sperm cell — yes, you read that right — with animated sperm cells swimming on stage floor monitors. He dedicated that portion of the concert to his female fans.
Bras were thrown on stage, following the recent stint of objects being tossed at artists, and even a vape pen. Drake responded with, “There’s no way you’re taking life serious if you think I’m going to pick this vape up and vape with you at the (expletive) Barclays center. You have some real life evaluating to do.”
In an unorthodox concert sequence, Grammy winning-rapper 21 Savage followed Drake with a short set performing a few of his big records including “Red Opps,” his Post Malone collaboration “Rock Star,” “A Lot’” and “Bank Account.” Drake would return and the pair ran through songs from “Her Loss,” including “Spin Bout U” and “Rich Flex.”
The “Best I Ever Had” rapper closed the show by walking down from the stage toward a gigantic statue-like figure of Virgil Abloh while audio from the designer played. Abloh, who died of cancer at 41 in 2021, was a Black designer who created groundbreaking fusions of streetwear and high couture, prompting many in the fashion world to label him as his generation's Karl Lagerfeld.
“He’s not only inspired me through direct conversations that we’ve had, but I’ve also just met some incredible people through this man,” Drake said before closing the night with his song, ”Legend."
Follow Associated Press journalist Gary Gerard Hamilton at @GaryGHamilton on all his social media platforms.