It’s been seven long years since Drake and Rihanna called it quits, but it seems that the wounds of their past relationship are still fresh for the Canadian rapper. The release of his latest album, “For All the Dogs,” on Friday, October 2, has reignited the speculation among fans and critics alike about his lingering feelings for his superstar ex-girlfriend, Rihanna, and her current partner and father of her children, A$AP Rocky.
Drake’s fans have been dissecting the lyrics of some of the album’s tracks, particularly “Fear of Heights,” where they believe he takes subtle shots at Rihanna and A$AP Rocky. This animosity comes after years of on-again, off-again romance between Drake and Rihanna, which finally fizzled out in 2018. Rihanna, in an interview with Vogue that year, stated, “We don’t have a friendship now, but we’re not enemies either.”
In the intro of “Fear of Heights,” Drake repeatedly utters the word “Anti,” which happens to be the title of Rihanna’s 2016 album that soared to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. This conspicuous reference is just the beginning. Drake goes on to express his frustration with people who “make it sound like [he’s] still hung up on” Rihanna and seemingly takes a dig at A$AP Rocky with the line, “That man, he still with you, he can’t leave you/ Y’all go on vacation, I bet it’s Antilles.”
It’s worth noting that Barbados, Rihanna’s home country and a frequent vacation destination for the singer, is located in Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean, further fueling speculation about the reference.
But the digs don’t stop there. In the track “Virginia Beach,” Drake raps, “Drawin’ conclusions like you got a Parsons degree or somethin’/ I coulda treated you better, that’s crazy.” The mention of a “Parsons degree” is a nod to Rihanna, who holds an honorary degree from the Parsons School of Design.
Even on “Another Late Night,” Drake appears to take aim at A$AP Rocky once again with the line, “I ain’t Pretty Flacko,” a reference to Rocky’s nickname, implying that things are getting “really Rocky.”
The controversy has not gone unnoticed, and Billboard has reached out to representatives for both Rihanna and A$AP Rocky for comment. Fans, on the other hand, are divided in their reactions. Some believe that Drake’s apparent disses are a sign that he needs to move on, with one critic tweeting, “Drake dissed Rihanna and A$AP Rocky, and that only means one thing: it still hurts him enough to disgrace himself to the public after 6 years.” Another wrote, “I didn’t think I’d ever say this, but Drake, you flopped.”
Others expressed their weariness with Drake’s ongoing references to Rihanna, with one fan simply stating, “Drake still crying about Rihanna 7 years later; we’re tired.”
In the end, whether these lyrics are indeed subtle jabs or merely coincidences remains a matter of interpretation. Regardless, it’s clear that Drake’s complicated history with Rihanna continues to be a topic of fascination and speculation for fans and critics alike, adding another layer of intrigue to his latest album, “For All the Dogs.”