Travis Scott’s UTOPIA vs. Drake’s For All The Dogs

Where do the albums rank all time in the artists discographies?

Chester Deorocki ‘26 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer & Webmaster

2023 has been an excellent year for music all around, especially in the rap and hip hop scene. Travis Scott released his highly anticipated album, UTOPIA, and Drake released his biggest solo project since 2021, For All The Dogs. Although it’s been a few months since UTOPIA’s release back in July, and only just a few weeks since Drake’s release on October 6th, the rap community has been quick to compare the two juggernaut albums. So which album is better? Was UTOPIA worth the five year wait? Did Drake live up to the hype? 

We’ve been waiting for a solo Travis Scott project since his last album, ASTROWORLD, in 2018. In between that he only had a collaboration with the rest of his label Cactus Jack in 2019, with the release of JACKBOYS. Although Scott has been working professionally in music as far back as 2009, with his first notable credit being as a key-producer on Kanye West’s Yeezus in 2013, his discography isn’t that expansive. 

Including UTOPIA, Scott has four solo studio albums published to major streaming platforms, with two other notable mixtapes available on Youtube and Soundcloud (Days Before Rodeo and Owl Pharaoh). Scott prefers quality over quantity, and UTOPIA is a testament to that.

UTOPIA subverted expectations, introducing us to a new sound and style we have yet to hear from Travis Scott. ASTROWORLD is one of my favorite albums of all time, and its psychedelic sound is something I’ve always been a huge fan of. But in UTOPIA, Scott looked to create a sound that would ironically be reminiscent of a dystopian society, with deep beats, abstract sounds, and a very unique assortment of features. This gritty vibe would be expressed well throughout the album’s rollout, with lots of concept art showcasing the almost post-apocalyptic feeling the album has.

The feature being perhaps the most interesting part of the album, with unexpected collaborations from Beyonce, Westside Gunn, Playboi Carti, and Bad Bunny. It is very evident Scott was looking to experiment with a brand new sound, and he succeeds exponentially with UTOPIA.

The production on UTOPIA is top notch and is the reason this album has been in constant rotation for me in the months since its release. Every replay grants something new to appreciate with every song. Each track is long, with various beat-switches and vocal changes throughout. Scott’s lyrics are the best we’ve ever seen from him, with “MY EYES” being the standout. 

Image courtesy of XXL

This is also Scott’s first album where he raps more than he sings, the rap verses taking priority over the melodic choruses we’re used to from the artist. Overall, Travis Scott’s UTOPIA is still my album of the year and continues to live up to the hype, proving that a longer wait equals higher quality.

Drake’s album is a very different story. Drake fans have been accustomed to at least one project a year from the artist, with some years seeing two releases from the superstar rapper. Drake also had lots of expectations to live up to with his newest release, as fans have been pleading for a return to old from the artist, addressing concerns that there is a fine line between current Drake, and the “old Drake” that we saw from his earlier albums like Take Care and Nothing Was The Same. 

While Drake’s promise to deliver on returning to his old style definitely didn’t hold up, I still mostly enjoyed For All The Dogs, with a good amount of tracks making it into my likes. A lot of fun features from the likes of J.Cole, Yeat, 21 Savage, and Chief Keef grant this album a good amount of replayability as well. J. Cole’s feature stood out as he promotes his upcoming album The Fall Off, which is set to release sometime in the near future. “IDGAF” with Yeat also took the world by surprise, sparking multiple trends and even taking the top spot on the Billboard Global 200, charting for 4 weeks.

Production wise, Drake’s album is all over the place, which is unlike UTOPIA, where each song is consistent with the theme of the album. Every song on For All The Dogs sounds completely different, offering a little bit of everything for fans. My two favorite tracks, “Virginia Beach,” and “First Person Shooter,” are totally different in style and tone, with the former being slower and melancholy, and the ladder being heavily rap focused with intense beats. 

It’s unfortunate that there are a whole lot of let downs on this album with many songs being quite forgettable. It wouldn’t be too disappointing if this was a surprise project like Drake’s last solo project, Honestly, Nevermind, which released without any notice and was made with a goal in mind to experiment in the house and dance genre. But, For All The Dogs was supposed to be Drake’s biggest album since Certified Lover Boy, which produced one of my favorite Drake songs ever, “Fair Trade.” 

The Cover Art for For All The Dogs

Overall, I wasn’t totally let down by For All The Dogs, but I agree with the consensus that Drake would definitely benefit from taking some time off, and working on a shorter, tightly produced album that could prove to fans that Drake still has it all these years later.

Travis Scott and Drake are two rap and hip-hop superstars, yet released two totally different albums in the same year. Scott’s UTOPIA raised the bar for the artist, proving that the long wait was worth it, and every project released by the artist will be better than the last. As for Drake, his notoriety as arguably one of the biggest musical artists ever helped him stay relevant, even if For All The Dogs had a neutral impact on his career.

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