By Gary Gerald Hamilton – The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — The hip-hop frontrunner is gearing up for a new album, and it may come out sooner than you think.
Drake told a packed crowd at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Thursday night that his upcoming project “For All The Dogs” would be finished in about “a few weeks.” The 36-year-old megastar, known for releasing music without announcing dates, hinted at a potential project at the intimate Apollo show in January.
In addition to Thursday’s announcement, the five-time Grammy Award winner, who was photographed wearing a Doberman mask earlier in the day, said he will also unveil a new freestyle on Friday.
Details are unknown, but he confirmed a collaboration with Nick Minaj at a show in Detroit earlier this month. ‘For All the Dogs’ is 21’s latest project since her joint album ‘Her Loss’ with Savage, released in November. His final solo release was the dance-themed EP Honestly, Nevermind, released in 2022.
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Summer 2023 was a big show for girl power with female-led concerts that included Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, but Drake’s 56-episode “It Was All A Blur” tour reminded the music world that he was a man to forget.
Drizzy’s Thursday night show marks the third of four consecutive sold-out shows at Barclays, with three more shows in the New York area starting Sunday at Madison Square Garden. It will be his first headline appearance since Aubrey & The Three Migos tour in 2018 before Corona.
Drake, who released his first book of poetry, Titles Ruin Everything: A Stream of Consciousness, with songwriter Kenza Samir last month, opened with the deep, pensive album cut “Look What You’ve Done,” a piano-led tribute to his mother, uncle, and grandmother from 2011’s Take Care.
After that, he played some early hits like “Marvin’s Room,” “Say Something,” and “Feel No Ways,” which was a huge hit despite not being a single. In addition to his early songs, Drake delved even further into songs from his Money era Young, before showing the audience the latest and greatest of his Big His records from his 35-plus solo setlist.
Declaring his hit-making greatness, the Toronto native confidently told an audience that was virtually on their feet for the entire two-hour set. I got too much,” he repeated over and over.
Throughout the night, a spectacular light show flew across the arena and surrounded Drake with a variety of giant inflatables and puppets suspended above the stage. They include brides, Peter Pan dolls, explosions resembling exotic dancers, giant idiosyncratic holographic sperm cells (yes, that’s right), complete with animated sperm cells swimming over the stage’s floor monitors. He dedicated that part of the concert to his female fans.
Bras and e-cigarette pens were also thrown onto the stage after objects were recently thrown at artists. Drake said, “If you think I’m going to pick up this e-cigarette and smoke an e-cigarette with you at the Barclays Center, you’re not taking life too seriously. You have some real-life evaluations to do.”
In an unconventional concert sequence, Grammy Award-winning rapper 21 Savage followed Drake in a short set, playing some of his biggest records, including “Red Ops,” his collaboration with Post Malone “Rock Star,” “A Lot,” and “Bank Account.” With Drake back, the duo played “Her Loss” songs like “Spin Bout U” and “Rich Flex.”
“It was the best thing I’ve ever done,” the rapper closed the show by stepping off the stage to a giant statue of Virgil Abloh as voices from the designer played. Abloh, who died of cancer in 2021 at the age of 41, was the black designer who created a groundbreaking fusion of streetwear and high couture that many in the fashion world have come to refer to as the Karl Lagerfeld of his generation.
“Not only was he an inspiration to me through our direct conversations, but through this man I met some amazing people,” Drake said, ending the night with “Legend.”
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