Everything Anthony Fantano Has Said About Drake's Albums

Cole Burston/Getty Images

In light of Drake’s newly exposed DMs to Anthony Fantano, we revisit the YouTube music critic’s past reviews of Drizzy’s catalog.

In what is perhaps one of the most unexpected rap fueds of 2022, it appears that Drake and Anthony Fantano are currently at odds with each other

For anyone who is unfamiliar with Drake‘s latest adversary, Anthony Fantano is one of, if not the most popular and infamous music reviewers on YouTube. His main channel is called The Needle Drop, and with it, Fantano has lived up to his slogan of being “the internet’s busiest music nerd” by fervently reviewing thousands of songs and albums since its inception in 2009. Throughout it all, Fantano has built a reputation for unleashing some pretty scathing and often polarizing reviews of beloved Hip-Hop artists, as he has confidently given cult classics like Travis Scott‘s Days Before Rodeo a 3/10 while giving projects like Lil Pump‘s 2017 self-titled mixtape a 7/10.

The recurring disconnect between Anthony Fantano’s The Needle Drop and the Hip-Hop community has led to some pretty heated discourse. In response to Fantano’s lackluster review of The House Is Burning in 2021, TDE’s Punch and Isaiah Rashad both raised questions about his reviewing practices and his authority to criticize Black culture. One year later, the latest prominent Hip-Hop figure to have an issue with Fantano is — surprisingly — Drake.

Rapper Drake drinks from a cup as he leaves the court after the first half of Game Six of the Eastern Conference First Round between the Toronto Raptors and the Philadelphia 76ers at Scotiabank Arena on April 28, 2022 in Toronto, Canada.
Cole Burston/Getty Images

As an artist with seven studio albums and a vast amount of ancillary projects under his belt, Drake has felt the brunt of Anthony Fantano’s criticism for well over a decade, but for whatever reason, the 6 God felt compelled to contact the YouTuber directly earlier this week.

Following Drake‘s DMs, Fantano — who admits that he loves trolling — created a YouTube video in which he claimed that Drake reached out to him over Instagram to squash any tension relating to Fantano’s ratings of his past work, and to add some absurdity to the story — which Fantano revealed was an effort to create an inside joke with Drake that would foster some professional rapport between both parties — he also said that Drake sent him a recipe for vegan cookies. 

In response to Fantano’s video, Drake made the decision to expose the messages that he really sent Anthony Fantano, and as you can see from the screenshot below, there was no mention of vegan cookie recipes. Instead, Drizzy left some less-than-friendly sentiments for the controversial music reviewer, saying, “Your existence is a light 1. And the 1 is cause you are alive. And cause you somehow wifed a black girl. I’m feeling a light to decent 1 on your existence.”

Drake Instagram Story Screenshot

In the wake of Drake’s newly shared DMs, Anthony Fantano has continued to troll the Canadian artist by tweeting out The Needle Drop‘s reviews of Pusha T‘s It’s Almost Dry and Drake’s Honestly, Nevermind back to back. According to Fantano, this is a win for him and his music reviewing platform and a sign that Drake is merely spiteful that the critic didn’t give him the reaction that he wanted.

Within Anthony Fantano’s argument, however, there is a valid question present. Why did Drake message him in the first place? Music reviews and criticism play a major role in the music industry, and considering that he is an established veteran artist at this point in his career, Drake undoubtedly knows that. While we may not ever get a solid answer to that question, it is still worth noting that aside from one side project, nearly all of Drake’s releases have been panned by Anthony Fantano.

Thus, to add some context to why Drake could potentially feel bothered or offended by YouTube’s most popular music reviewer, here is a recap of everything that Anthony Fantano has said about Drake while reviewing his albums for The Needle Drop. For brevity, Fantano’s reviews for collab albums and compilation projects such as What A Time To Be Alive and Care Package were not included.

So Far Gone (Reviewed February 19, 2019)

Rating: Decent to Strong 5

Although The Needle Drop first made its way to YouTube a month prior to the release of Drake‘s seminal mixtape So Far Gone, Anthony Fantano did not review the project until its 10th anniversary, when it was re-released for streaming services.

What Fantano had to say about it:

So Far Gone is actually a pretty important informative moment for one of the biggest voices in Hip-Hop right now. And like it or not, Drake has actually changed the face of Hip-Hop significantly. It’s also crazy to think just how predictive some of the ideas on this tape were. I mean, on the tape “Bria’s Interlude” featuring Omarion, the track essentially sounds like a The Weeknd song before there even was such as thing as a Weeknd song — two years before House of Balloons even came out. There’s also the matter of how unorthodox So Far Gone was for its time — how mellow, how sensitive, and even occasionally how antisocial the tone of this album was.”

“All in all though, I’m still pretty indifferent toward this tape. I’m not all that crazy about it. I do love a handful of tracks off of it. It is cool to go back and listen to what ideas stuck to and which ones didn’t really pan out into anything. Going back to a project like this does feel like you’re staring into the petri dish of history and observing the early stages of something very significant. I can’t really say that I get much more out of it than that though.”

Thank Me Later (Never Reviewed)

Rating: N/A

To date, Anthony Fantano has still refrained from releasing a full review of Drake‘s debut album. However, during a “Drake Tier List” video that he recorded for his personal channel in the fall of 2019, Fantano did share some brief thoughts on Thank Me Later before ultimately placing it in the D-tier of Drake’s catalog.

What Fantano had to say about it:

“It is not a great project. The beats are super sterile. Drake‘s singing is not nearly as good as it would be on subsequent projects. A lot of the time, he sounds like a robot who’s learning to emote, and the rapping — I think — is weak. While again, [it’s an] important stepping stone for Drake, I don’t think it’s a particularly good Drake record. I don’t think it’s aged very well over the years either.” 

Take Care (Reviewed November 11, 2011)

Rating: Strong 6

Take Care was the first Drake album that Anthony Fantano reviewed for The Needle Drop, and despite its middling rating, it is one of Fantano’s more favorable Drake reviews, with his chief criticisms being that the album has too much filler and it feels too derivative. It is worth noting, however, that Fantano admitted in March 2019, that Take Care is the only Drake album that has grown on him.

What Fantano had to say about it:

Drake is not a hard or a tough rapper, and he doesn’t try to be. Even during his most boastful moments on this album, he comes across about just as fluffy as a 3 Musketeers bar. He’s not a badass, but do we really need another badass in Hip-Hop?”

“Overall, I feel like these extra features and tracks just add up to a lot of filler, a lot of recycled ideas, and a lot of do-nothing moments that draw this album out to 80 friggin minutes. 80 minutes of Drake. This album would have been so much better were it leaner and just sort of more straight and to the point. But instead, we get tracks like ‘Make Me Proud,’ which in its hook [and] in its concept is pretty much like ‘Best I Ever Had’ version 2.0. You’ve got ‘HYFR,’ which is pretty much like a boring radio track about fame and groupies. You’ve got a really lazy hook and a boring beat and a throaty Lil Wayne impersonation on the song ‘Cameras.’ And the last track is anticlimactic. I mean any number of the slower songs on the album — ‘Practice,’ for example — would have made a better closer.”

“Man, this just feels so inconsistent to me. If 30 or at least 20 minutes of crap were cut from this LP, I think that I would be dealing with an album that was great. For me, Take Care as it currently is just a steak with way too much fat in it, that you’ve gotta cut around to get to the good stuff.”

Nothing Was The Same (Reviewed September 25, 2013)

Rating: Light 5

For his second Drake review, Fantano isn’t as impressed as he was with Take Care, and he also intertwines up aspects of Drake’s identity with his album critique.

What Fantano had to say about it:

“It just seems like Drake‘s insecurity is driving him to make all of these experimental tracks, all of these more aggressive tracks where he just constantly sounds silly.” 

If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (Reviewed February 16, 2015)

Rating: Light 8

If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late quickly became one of Drake‘s most popular and acclaimed releases, and to date, it is Anthony Fantano’s highest-rated Drake project.

What Fantano had to say about it:

“What’s most important on this LP is not what Drake did or what Drake said, but really what he didn’t do, what he didn’t say. He didn’t make me cringe anywhere on this entire record. There is nowhere on this album where he is desperately drunk-dialing someone and being like, ‘Hey, I was with you first!’ There aren’t any moments where he’s too afraid to get out of a car to pump gas. Instead, Drake oozes with actual confidence, which on this LP, I think is pretty contagious.”

“I really think on this project, Drake has his usual emotional baggage kind of in order — to the point where he isn’t losing control over it, it’s not impeding upon the enjoyment of the album. And hopefully he continues to keep it this well organized as we continue onto his next full-length album later this year.”

Views (Reviewed May 2, 2016)

Rating: Strong 4

Although Honestly, Nevermind has likely taken the title following its release earlier this summer, Views was once Drake‘s most polarizing studio album, and Anthony Fantano was definitely on the side of fans and critics who couldn’t stomach it. Views marked Drake’s first sub-5/10 rating on The Needle Drop.

What Fantano had to say about it:

“Again, where are the ghostwriters? Were the ghostwriters on this one? If no, bring them back, and if yeah, hire twice as many ghostwriters as you have going now. I can’t really say I like this record. It’s not the worst rap album I’ve heard all year, but it’s so underwhelming. It’s like Nothing Was The Same, but in a way, worse because Nothing Was The Same had better highlights and at least it kind of knew when to stop. This album just goes on and on and on, and as it continues, it seems to deliver less and less and less.”

More Life (Reviewed March 22, 2017)

Rating: Light to Decent 5

With his review of More Life, Anthony Fantano digs deeper into trolling Drake‘s newly adopted accents, and although he argues that it’s better than Views, he says its more due to “auditory indifference” than actually good music.

What Fantano had to say about it:

“Overall, I’m pretty indifferent to this thing, and while I do think that More Life is a better listening experience than Views, it’s only by virtue of it just being less offensive, less crappy, having less terrible moments on it, and more so-so moments on it.”

Scorpion (Reviewed July 3, 2018)

Rating: Light to Decent 4

The strained “oh my god” that Anthony Fantano lets out, the subsequent sigh, and the bright orange “WHY GOD WHY” displayed on-screen at the start of this video tell you everything you need to know. Many of his usual Drake criticisms return, with Fantano rating Scorpion similarly to how he rated Views.

What Fantano had to say about it:

“Like the amount of legitimately interesting song ideas in the first leg of this album were already few and far between to begin with, and now it’s like he’s starving people who have made it this far into the album even more.”

“But god damn, what a slog this album was. I’m really glad it’s over. I’m really glad that I’m done with it, but geez. I just pray for a day where Drake gets back to writing more focused albums with stronger, clearer directions instead of just trying to pad this stuff out into oblivion.”

Dark Lane Demo Tapes (Reviewed May 4, 2020)

Rating: Strong 3

After retroactively reviewing So Far Gone and critiquing an album of previously released material and loosies a la Care Package, Anthony Fantano reviewed his first new Drake project in two years — the pandemic mixtape, Dark Lane Demo Tapes. Regardless of whether you give DLDT any significant weight, Fantano makes it clear that he’s not a fan of the project, as he gives Drake his second — and most certainly not his last — 3/10 rating.

What Fantano had to say about it:

Drake is essentially trying to capture the vibe and the style of this UK Drill sound, which is very popular right now. And I get that is kind of what Drake does — when there are prevailing trends and sounds, he tends to hop on them. I just don’t see why when he does this, why do you need to do the accent? Why do you need to do the accent? You are not from the fucking UK! Just like it was silly as shit when you were doing your fake patois thing for project after project, for song after song. This is sillier.”

“This is pretty hit or miss. Starts off relatively decent, but ends up in the trash bin in my opinion. And along the way, it’s really a roller coaster ride of failures, underwhelming moments, and so-so spots too.”

Certified Lover Boy (Reviewed September 6, 2021)

Rating: Light 3

Certified Lover Boy, which Anthony Fantony deemed a “certified snoozer,” marked Drake‘s third consecutive 3/10-rated project on The Needle Drop.

What Fantano had to say about it:

Certified Lover Boy, I think, is the most punishing of these 90-minute marathons that Drake has been dropping as of late, and that’s mostly due to a lack of memorable songs and even memorable performances from Drake himself. He’s legitimately outshined by every feature on this project, even the ones that don’t sound like they’re trying that hard — hello, Travis Scott.”

“It’s like half the time Drake doesn’t know whether he wants to rip off himself or rip off some other artist on this project. He’s just kind of switching back and forth between that over and over.”

“I’ll sum this up by saying this is just an uninspired record from Drake. Not a whole lot going on here creatively. A few decent tracks here and there, but nothing coming together into a great project here.” 

Honestly, Nevermind (Reviewed June 21, 2022)

Rating: NOT GOOD/10

As you can likely tell from the album’s non-numerical rating, Anthony Fantano really let Drake have it while reviewing Honestly, Nevermind.

What Fantano had to say about it:

“What is the use of being the biggest rap artist on the planet with access to the best producers and sound engineers that money can buy if your stuff is still going to have the quality of a Soundcloud dance music producer who’s put together his first remix? And look, doing better has been a pretty consistent problem for Drake these days because there’s really been a growing sense of complacency in his records as he handed us the mostly passionless Views, the playlisted mess that he titled More Life, [and] the bloated Scorpion.”

“The only other tracks on this thing that I kinda fuck with are mostly because of the beat and production carrying, like on ‘Massive’ or ‘A Keeper,’ but neither of these instrumentals would I go out of my way to listen to were they not on a Drake record. Many of the beats on this thing sound like Drake had them made on Fiverr.”

“I really think this is Drake’s lowest point yet in terms of level of effort. He really put almost nothing into this record. It’s so one-note, badly produced, weakly sung, [and] horrendously underwritten.”

As seen above, Anthony Fantano has not typically given Drake’s projects glowings reviews over the last decade or so. However, throughout all of the negative criticism that he has thrown Drizzy’s way, Fantano has made an effort to give the perennial hitmaker his flowers.

“In my opinion — in this is no matter what you think of Drake. In my opinion, Drake has proven himself to be one of the most influential artists, if not the most influential Hip-Hop artists of this decade,” Anthony Fantano acknowledged in his aforementioned “Drake Tier List” video. “Because of that, because of that feel that I have within me — I think it’s worth it to go over his discog and basically talk about Drake’s hits and misses.”

Considering the nature of the DMs that Drake sent the YouTube music critic, it’s clear that the Canadian superstar is at the very least familiar with The Needle Drop‘s rating system, but given the timing of Drake’s DMs, it’s not totally clear what actually drove Drake to confront Fantano in the first place.

Let us know in the comments if you think that Drake was justified in clapping back at Anthony Fantano, and also let us know your thoughts on Fantano’s review of Drake’s discography.