Tamir Kalifa/The New York Times

March 22, 2021

Drake’s ‘Scary Hours 2’: For the Fans and the Charts

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The 6 God is back, with a sequel to his 2018 extended play Scary Hours as another care package for his fans, ahead of the release of his sixth studio album Certified Lover Boy

After dropping the smash hit “Laugh Now Cry Later” last August, the Toronto rapper suffered a knee injury that forced him to delay his album release date from January to later this year. Scary Hours 2 marks his return to the forefront of popular music, with its three songs accomplishing the never-before-seen feat of debuting in the top three spots of the Billboard Hot 100. 

Scary Hours 2 might not be as spooky as the name implies, but it’s a worthwhile listen nonetheless. The project is classic Drake — Instagram-caption lines, atmospheric production and a hard-hitting Rick Ross verse. It’s what one would expect from the rapper, sure to satisfy the fans looking for some new Drake in their lives. 

The E.P. opens up with the confident “What’s Next,” which features Drake flowing over a simple, hazy beat cooked up by Maneesh and Supah Mario. This is clearly the intended hit song of the project, with its earworm of a refrain and its theme of looking ahead to the future. Drake even predicts the song’s chart position in the lyrics, rapping, “I’m on the hot one hundo, numero uno / This one ain’t come with a bundle.” His verses are slick and braggadocious, asserting his dominance in the rap game. 

What stands out the most on this track is the overtly memorable hook: “Well, summer, all I did was rest, ok? / And New Year’s, all I did was stretch, ok? / And Valentine’s Day I had sex, ok?” Drake appears fed up with people looking for the details of his private life, yet he still piques interest by hinting at things to come (“Let’s see what happens next, ok?”). He’s back, and he wants everyone to know it. 

Next up is “Wants and Needs,” a Lil Baby-assisted jam with murky production from Cardo, Dez Wright, and 40. The song starts off with Drake’s trademark lazy flow, tossing out lines about money (“Proof is in the progress, money’s not a object”), girls (“The earrings are real, the petty is real, might charge my ex for a feature) and his Jewish heritage (“Yeah, I probably should go to Yeshiva, we went to Ibiza”). It’s nothing mind-blowing, but it’s a catchy verse that drops into a head-bobbing hook, the most melodic element on Scary Hours 2.

Lil Baby’s verse is the highlight of the track. It’s fast, it’s hungry and it’s filled with quotable bars (“I’m not a G.O.A.T. but I fit the description”). The frantic delivery is a great change-up from the laid-back vibe established by Drake’s intro verse and hook, and Lil Baby’s lines pack a punch with how cold-blooded they are (“I’m droppin’ hit after hit, I’m just chillin’ / But I’ll send a hit while I chill with my children”). This cut is a welcome addition to the duo’s quality list of collabs. 

The last song on Scary Hours 2, “Lemon Pepper Freestyle,” might be the best listen on the project. The beat is beautiful — Boi-1da and Keanu Beats put soft piano around a Danish vocal sample, with a groovy drum pattern to boot. It’s reminiscent of earlier Drake confessionals, like “Weston Road Flows” or “Do Not Disturb,” which feature the introspective rapping that, for many fans, signifies Drake at his best.

Rick Ross sets the tone perfectly with his verse. None of the lines are exactly standout, but they’re so unmistakably Ross and have little endearing switch-ups in their delivery. The way he raps lines like “Big bank, sparkin’ weed without a lighter / On fire ’cause I’m just a different writer” or “Big bucks, steppin’ outta big trucks / Steppin’ on my feet, it’ll get you fucked up” sounds like he’s just having fun on the mic, rhyming out a smooth one as a favor to a friend. Add references to his classic verse on “Devil In A New Dress” (“Spinnin’ vinyl, Tеddy P, or is it Lionel?”) and to the great Tupac (“Makaveli, it’s all eyes on me”), and you have the perfect primer for a long, personal Drake verse.

Drake’s addition to the track focuses on his fame and the status of his personal life. He mulls over his rise to celebrity (“…now I got it all / And bein’ honest, I don’t really wanna talk about it”), while making sure we know he still loves what he’s got (“How I’m so famous, gotta live where they hide the hills?”). But the most interesting part of his verse is his discussion of his parenting duties: about this new role, he raps, “…teacher-parent meetings, wives get googly-eyed / … / Askin’ if I know Beyonce and Nicki Minaj.” His bars are candid, as the fans get a look into the relaxing, almost mundane nature of Drake’s life as a father. He even adds a little humor to it in his reply to his fellow parents’ question: “Of course.”

Scary Hours 2 is not treading new ground. It’s a minor drop to tide the fans over before Certified Lover Boy, as the hype starts to build. Anyone who disliked Drake before probably won’t be converted by this extended play, but for the fans eagerly awaiting his album, it’s a solid offering from the 6 God. 

Nihar Hegde is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at [email protected]