Hip hop fans have spent much of early 2021 awaiting the release of Certified Lover Boy, Drake’s highly anticipated sixth studio album. Originally scheduled for release in January, the Toronto rapper’s next full-length album was delayed by a knee injury that required surgery. However, Drake makes up for this letdown with his fourth EP, Scary Hours 2. Announced only a few days before its release, Scary Hours 2 sent the hip-hop community into a frenzy as Drake’s releases often do. The EP features three tracks: two collaborations, one with Atlanta upstart and longtime friend Lil Baby and one with colleague Rick Ross, as well as one solo track.
The first noticeable aspect of Scary Hours 2 is a lack of the melodic elements that allowed Drake to achieve the chart success he reached in the past. All three tracks include minimalist trap beats that provide Drake and friends an opportunity to showcase their lyricism. Drake, as always, doesn’t disappoint, providing both underrated flows and quotable lyrics that will serve as basic Instagram captions for the next several months. Much of Drake’s skill as an artist comes from his intangible ability to conceive innovative flows that perfectly match the beat and weasel their way into the listener’s brain. Scary Hours 2’s first track, “What’s Next,” is no exception: Drake’s vocals blend seamlessly with the 808-heavy instrumental to create a certain earworm.
The EP’s next track, “Wants and Needs,” continues the mood that Drake seems to be cultivating. Another menacing trap beat with pounding 808s and crisp hi-hats sets the mood, and Drake and Lil Baby trade bars as well, as they have at many points in their careers. The track includes a very strong showing from Lil Baby, who is continuing the momentum from his red-hot 2020. His verse arguably upstages Drake’s, as the song’s instrumental is perfectly suited to Lil Baby’s strengths. While Drake’s versatility allows him to put together a solid verse, Lil Baby is undoubtedly in his element and gives the track its best aspect with one of his greatest feature verses ever. The track also features a semi-melodic hook from Drake, which is the closest he comes to singing at any point on the EP.
The final track on the EP, the Rick Ross-assisted “Lemon Pepper Freestyle,” is a curveball compared to the two previous songs. Built around a sample from “Pressure” by Danish electronic soul duo Quadron, a fairly simplistic drum pattern facilitates Drake and Ross’s introspective lyrics. Ross’s opening verse is a characteristically strong moment from the Miami rapper, who seems to always perform well when collaborating with Drake.
Nevertheless, Drake is unquestionably the star of the show, sharing personal bars about his ultra-wealthy lifestyle and relationship with his young son. “Lemon Pepper Freestyle” proves to be the EP’s standout track, with its smooth beat and some of the strongest lyricism of Drake’s career, making the listener feel as if they were riding in the back of one of Rick Ross’s Maybachs.
Daily Arts Contributor Ryan Brace can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.