Don’t be afraid — Drake is back again for Scary Hours 2. The well-established Canadian multihyphenate released the new EP on Friday after announcing the project in an Instagram post the day before.

The record is the three-song sequel to 2018’s Scary Hours, which included the single “Diplomatic Immunity” and the 11-times platinum “God’s Plan,” which gave Drake his fourth Grammy. This new installment in Drake’s extensive discography debuts “What’s Next,” “Wants and Needs” and “Lemon Pepper Freestyle.”

The original Scary Hours appeared several months before 2018’s LP Scorpion, and I’m hoping that the sequel means Certified Lover Boy is right around the corner. Drake even wore a sweatshirt promoting the upcoming album in the music video for “What’s Next.” In the video, various scenes, from the airport to the aquarium, show Drake singing along and flexing the luxuries afforded by his success.

Not only is he undeniably one of hip-hop’s most popular artists, but Drake also finds a way to bring out the best in collaborators. From his collab album with Future to bringing The Weeknd out of obscurity, Scary Hours 2 is his latest exercise in teamwork. Lil Baby is in peak form on “Wants and Needs,” delivering a verse that proves why he deserves $100,000 for a feature. Rick Ross provides the introductory verse on “Lemon Pepper Freestyle,” setting the stage for Drake’s introspective bars.

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“What’s Next” is honestly outshined by the latter two tracks and fails to grab my attention. The beat, full of fuzzy synths and an attacking bass, sounds like a throwaway from Playboi Carti’s recent Whole Lotta Red. The track is so derivative that the producer Blaccmass tweeted an unofficial version of the beat with Carti’s vocals from “ILoveUIHateU” overtop. Drake’s original vocals don’t add much else, besides too many “OKs.” He raps nothing new and can’t seem to stop talking about his Virgil Abloh watch.

The biggest highlight from the new drop is “Wants and Needs.” If Certified Lover Boy sounds anything like this track, we’ll be getting another classic. The instrumental is vibrant and moody, fluttering melodies washing over resonant bass tones. Lil Baby absolutely stunned me as he dished out bar after bar of ceaseless, braggadocious rap. It’s already one of my favorite features from the Atlanta artist, and he certainly steals the show.

Drake presents one of his classic choruses, his smooth voice floating over the laid-back instrumentals. It’s catchy, easy to sing along with, and dripping with swagger. These instrumentals do nicely to aid Lil Baby’s incredible contribution where Drake’s own verses fall short. 

What really stuck out to me was the bar from his first verse: “Yeah, I probably should go link with Yeezy, I need me some Jesus.” Drake and famed hip-hop artist Kanye West have a famous and public beef, stemming from their competition as some of the industry’s leading performers, among other issues. Could Drake be ready to bury the hatchet and put together some stellar music with West?

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A lush sample supports the pleasant backing for the closing track “Lemon Pepper Freestyle,” which has Rick Ross give a characteristically dense verse before Drake takes the spotlight. We actually hear Drake get a little personal during his frank, if lengthy, verse. I prefer the authenticity way more than the typical meaningless boasts. He reflects on his success, considering his origins, and provides insight on what it’s like going to parent-teacher conferences as a superstar.

The song also seems to have inspired people in different ways. The NBA team Milwaukee Bucks posted a video of Giannis Antetokounmpo enjoying some lemon pepper wings during an interview. Portland rapper Wynne took a turn freestyling over the instrumental herself.

In the end, I’m overjoyed to have new Drake music in my headphones — and if the new album can match the energy on this brief EP, we’re in for a treat. I got pieces of classic Drake with some new flows and ideas mixed in, not to mention the accompanying features which exceeded my expectations. 

Although I’m not blown away, Scary Hours 2 accomplishes its goal in setting up for the next big thing from the Toronto rapper. I’m still hungry for more, and Certified Lover Boy couldn’t come soon enough.