Don’t call it a comeback—Drake’s Scary Hours 3 (or more accurately: For All The Dogs: Scary Hours Edition) marks the rapper’s return to action, just a shade over five weeks since releasing his 8th studio album. Here’s a breakdown of the six songs included on the tracklist, and all the details surrounding this new EP.
Scary Hours 3 Teased Just Hours Before Release
If you feel like it’s suspiciously soon for the Canadian rapper to return to dropping music, you’re not off base. Not only did he deliver a full-length album just last month, but the release of Drake’s Scary Hours 3 comes after an interview aired on his OVO Sound radio show revealed that he wanted to step away from the process for a bit. Citing a stomach problem and an overall desire to tend to his health, Drake proclaimed that he’d be stepping away from music for a span, saying, “I’m going to lock the door on the studio for a little bit […] Maybe a year or something. Maybe a little longer.”
This was a surprise release through and through. Though he had made headlines by dropping a music video for “First Person Shooter” with J. Cole a few days prior, there was no indication of this EP’s existence until Thursday afternoon. It came alongside a two-minute teaser for the project, where the OVO MC evoked earlier career projects in saying he’s feeling as inspired as he ever has. “It’s coming to me in a way that I haven’t experienced maybe since, like, If You’re Reading This [It’s Too Late.]” Further, he explained the recording sessions were as much a whirlwind as this unexpected announcement, detailing, “I did those songs in the last five days. I didn’t have one bar written down for those songs on the night that For All The Dogs dropped.”
Old School Sensibilities Open Up Drake’s Scary Hours 3
Drake’s Scary Hours 3 opens with “Red Button,” drum-sparse and ethereal beat. It’s even more fitting that Drake is all bars, no fillers over top. We get a rare moment where he acknowledges not being #1, rapping, “Taylor Swift the only n**** that I ever rated / Only one could make me drop the album just a little later.”
“Stories About My Brother” is a return appearance for Conductor Williams behind the boards, having already done the instrumental work for “8AM in Charlotte.” That credit is very illustrative here, as the frequent Griselda producer sets up an early ’90s atmosphere with a jazzy, analog drum-laden instrumental. As for the vocals, Drake is in a classically braggadocious bag here, filling the first verse with brags about Virgil Abloh’s designed Mercedes and his consistent spot at the top of the industry.
The song’s namesake comes up in the second verse, somewhat of a conceptual conceit for the Toronto rapper to play word association: “My brother a aim botter, I bought him a Range Rover / My brother a flamethrower / It’s like he playin’ EDM, that n**** a chain smoker.” Later, he switches the rhyme scheme but keeps constant a reference-heavy theme: “My brother carry bundles and extensions like hair stores / It’s me, him and a white ting, we movin’ like Paramore.”
Notable Collabs, Including A Second J. Cole Feature
“Wick Man” will certainly play into the sensibilities of the hip-hop heads out there—it’s the first official collaboration between him and living legend The Alchemist. Again, this is more or less a lyrical exercise for Drake, and it’s successful in that regard, with a ton of quotables and impressive wordplay lining the luxurious production that Al sets up. If you’re into the “Genius page” side of things, some of the references and allusions here are eyebrow-raising, particularly in the second verse. He again addresses the Pusha T beef that also earned mention on FATD’s “Fear of Heights,” this time explicitly referencing the Virginia rapper’s “Story of Adidon”: “I remember n***** was jokin’ ’bout some tick, tick / And now that rapper broke as f*ck, that boy statistic.”
The one song with a feature here is “Evil Ways,” which sees another reunion between Drake & J. Cole. Patently, while this isn’t a bad song by a long stretch, it does make sense why “First Person Shooter” ended up on the tracklist for For All The Dogs. The production here slinks and drawls, another embrace of boom bap standards. The Atlanta and Toronto MCs engage in a true back and forth, swapping bars mostly centered around a “see the stage / we the wave / meter maid” rhyme scheme that gives us some highlights like Drake’s “All praise to the born sinners Jesus saves / My brothers runnin’ through the six like the green berets” or Cole’s “I watched my momma robbin’ hard just to get Peter Paid / And now my paper folded like when teachers don’t want classmates to see your grade”
The Toronto Rapper Addresses Wishing For The “Old Drake”
The third track, “The Shoe Fits,” is the most conceptually concise, though it isn’t trodding in any territory that the platinum rapper hasn’t explored before. Taking aim at hypothetical partners, the men pining after them and the proverbial “haters,” Drake compares and contrasts how he’s living to some less-than-ideal “days in the life” for those in his sights.
We end with “You Broke My Heart,” a final solo Drake cut. In its early stages, this seems like the one that’ll fit best on airwaves in the coming weeks, with both the anthemic, trap production and the first appearance of melodic Drizzy on the project towards the middle of this track. When all is said and done, the continued exploration of the “f*ck my ex” refrain for a bit over a minute towards the end might be the sticking point that keeps it from that fate, at least in this writer’s opinion.
As mentioned previously, Drake teased that Scary Hours 3 would be somewhat of a return to his If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late persona. And in some regards, that’s absolutely true, the “aim at everybody” attitude he adopted on that mixtape is front and center on these new deluxe tracks. All the same, he carries into it the aesthetics and flows of he’s preferred in recent years—as well as the cast of characters, one of the best developments to be found here. As always though, don’t take our word for it—you can find For All The Dogs: Scary Hours Edition on streaming platforms everywhere.