All good things come in due time. For Drake, “due time” is whenever he wants. It has been 980 days (and counting) since the 6ix God has released a new studio album — discounting compilation tapes like “Care Package” or “Dark Lane Demo Tapes,” which consisted of previously released or leaked tracks — and the streets have been enduringly waiting for him to deliver “Certified Lover Boy.” Drake first announced that he would be dropping his “sixth studio album” way back in April and confirmed on OVO Sound Radio last night that the album was still “being cheffed up,” but almost done. “Scary Hours 2” is the next best thing. Consisting of three songs — “What’s Next,” “Wants and Needs,” featuring Lil Baby, and “Lemon Pepper Freestyle,” featuring Rick Ross — the EP delivers Drake’s patented flavors and reestablishes that, like the student-of-the-game that he is, he works well with others.
“What’s Next” is a perfect song to usher in the return of day parties when the world eventually opens again. Drake falls into one of his favorite pockets, making an earworm of a hook by simply talking about doing all of the things that we also likely did this year so far. Or that some of us did, anyway: the accompanying music video depicts Drizzy and friends showing off some of the best tourist attractions in their native Toronto, with shots of the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, the CN Tower next to it, and Drake rapping in the Yonge subway system, among other locations. Not to mention him driving in circles around Air Drake, his $185 million Boeing 767, in his Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren with a Chrome Hearts interior, which slightly tests the relatability.
Lil Baby steals the show on “Wants and Needs,” with Drake taking a back seat after delivering a verse with a purposefully offbeat flow as Lil Baby takes over in the second act and absolutely bodies his guest appearance. This track was just a Lil Baby exposition, with the Atlanta rapper proving that he still has plenty in the tank after scorching 2020.
“Lemon Pepper Freestyle” is easily the most impressive song out of the three, lyrically, with Rick Ross and Drake doing what they do best over a sample of Quandron’s 2010 song “Pressure.” Named after the Big Boss’s favorite chicken wing seasoning, the song has Ross stepping aside after the opening to let Drake go an hour on the beat and deliver one of his most mature verses in recent memory. There are fewer bars about being the “petty king” and buying his foes’ personal belongings when they go up for auction; more about how he maneuvers picking up his son from school, parent-teacher conferences, and what he imagines his funeral at the Air Canada Center might be like (and who he would like to see attend). We’ve heard this side of Drake before, but it’s refreshing to receive it again. He’s beyond waxing poetic solely about the things he still wants, which is evident when he spits, “Used to say I had ‘fore I got it, now I got it all / And bein’ honest, I don’t really wanna talk about it / And if I didn’t have it, wouldn’t sulk about it / I had is so long, I don’t even celebrate it / Negative thoughts don’t even enter my inner matrix / ‘Magine ’em still rappin’ ‘bout if I never made it.”
Eleven years in, talk that Drake is “slowing down” needs to end. He’s still in peak form. Each song on “Scary Hours 2″ is different and reflective of Drake’s rap-kaleidoscope nature. If this EP is any indication of what “Certified Lover Boy” might sound like, then we might be in for one of the rapper’s most introspectively jarring and anthem-heavy projects in a long time.