EP: “Scary Hours 2”
Release Date: March 5
When Drake speaks, the hip-hop world listens, even if he has nothing to say.
The Toronto native has dominated the last decade of commercial hip-hop, releasing 10 U.S. No. 1 albums since the reveal of “So Far Gone” in 2009.
Following 2020’s forgettable “Dark Lane Demo Tapes,” Drake returns with “Scary Hours 2,” a three-track EP that prepares fans for his highly-anticipated forthcoming studio album “Certified Lover Boy.”
Drake followed a similar album release format in 2018, dropping the first “Scary Hours” EP in January before releasing his double-album “Scorpion” in the summer.
Just like its 2018 predecessor, “Scary Hours 2” isn’t anything out of the ordinary for Drake, and for his fans, that’s fine.
While staying in his musical comfort zone, Drake is able to reflect on his place in the rap game and sound as confident as ever. Having released over 10 projects during his illustrious career, the Canadian rapper shows no signs of slowing down.
Opening track “What’s Next” offers a catchy hook and carries a similar upbeat tempo to Drake’s previous radio hits. While it’s unique enough to avoid being dismissed as a monotonous throwaway, the song doesn’t offer anything new or outstanding to Drake’s catalog.
On the track, Drake proclaims that he knows his worth in hip-hop. He doesn’t care what people think of him. This is his game, and he makes the rules. He’s just watching everybody else play while looking down from the skybox.
“I heard you was givin’ your chain away / That's kinda like givin’ your fame away / What’s wrong with you? / I sit in a box where the owners do / A boss is a role that I’ve grown into / I love you to death but I told you the truth / I can’t just be with you and only you / Yeah, I got one, Virgil got one and that there is the only two / Man, how many times have I shown improvement?”
While “What’s Next” is a jaunty reflection of his spot on the totem pole, “Wants and Needs” features Atlanta superstar Lil Baby and is an ominous alternative.
After delivering an awkward flow pattern over a dark beat, Drake spits disappointingly dull bars until the end of his verse, when he playfully mentions former friend and collaborator Kanye West’s turn to Christianity. While fans and critics alike are debating whether or not the lyrics are a diss or simply an acknowledgment of West’s change, they are undoubtedly Drake’s most intriguing bars on the track: “Yeah, I probably should go link with Yeezy, I need me some Jesus / But soon as I started confessin’ my sins, he wouldn't believe us.”
After Drake’s forgettable opening verse, Lil Baby outshines his elder throughout the track. The 26-year-old Atlanta native delivers a better flow and more poignant lyrics in his verse, highlighting a sense of hunger in the young MC.
Considering Drake’s lackluster performance, the two fail to recapture the energy of their 2018 hit “Yes Indeed.”
Drake and Rick Ross team up on “Lemon Pepper Freestyle,” a closing track that features the iconic duo at the top of their game. Ross — notorious for delivering strong guest features — doesn’t disappoint over a smooth soul-inspired cut.
Ross’ bars perfectly fit the song’s luxurious tone. His verse is short in comparison to Drake’s, but he manages to make his lyrics count.
Drake matches Ross’ energy, delivering one of his longest verses in recent memory. He addresses his continuous love for his hometown Toronto, the luxuries of his everyday life and the new experiences fatherhood has brought him.
“I sent her the child support, she sent me the heart emoji / They all say they love me, but they hardly know me / Yeah, dropped him off at school, big day for my lil’ man / Recess hits, daddy prolly made another M / School bell rings and I’m out there to get him again / Yeah, teacher-parent meetings, wives get googly-eyed / Regardless of what they husbands do to provide / Askin’ if I know Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj.”
Drake and Ross are both up to the task on the EP’s final track, continuing the duo’s long-standing reputation of consistency whenever they appear on a track together.
While their individual efforts are far from flawless, Ross and Drake rarely disappoint on collaborative efforts. With talks of a collaborative album circling the rap community, the success of “Lemon Pepper Freestyle” could finally lead to the highly-anticipated joint project between the two.
Overall, “Scary Hours 2” is a safe way for Drake to gain traction for his upcoming album and dominate the radio in the lead-up to its release. The EP contains three varied tracks that pull the listener through a jumble of emotions but still manage to remain largely cohesive.
While it would be refreshing to hear Drake experiment with new lyrical content or sounds, he has no reason to stray from what has worked for so long.
He has a formula that has worked time and time again.
With “Scary Hours 2,” Drake became the first artist in history to have three songs debut in the top three on the Billboard Hot 100.
It doesn’t matter what anybody has to say about him, or his music.
Drake can’t lose.
Anthony DeCicco is the senior sports editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Anthony DeCicco is the Editor-in-Chief of The Spectrum. His words have appeared in outlets such as SLAM Magazine andSyracuse.com. In 2020, he was awarded First Prize for Sports Column Writing at the Society of Professional Journalists' Region 1 Mark of Excellence Awards. In his free time, he can be found watching ‘90s Knicks games and reading NFL Mock Drafts at 3 a.m.