SCARY HOURS (Drake)

In the scary hours of Friday night — AKA after midnight, technically Saturday morning — Drake released his new “EP” (an explanation for those quotes coming at a later date) Scary Hours, which basically continues More Life’s brand of groove over two more songs.

He may not reinvent the wheel every time, but Drake understands the simple beauty of focusing on his biggest asset, which he’s by now turned into his own artistic trademark: no one else so seamlessly blends a smoothly auto-tuned vibe over faux-soul lyrics, matched to perfection by polished producing that compulsively gets your booty bumping to the beat.

Drake would probably be the first to admit he’s the most boundlessly talented artist, but nevertheless, I find myself increasingly more excited to listen to every one of his subsequent releases. Carving your own corner in such a crowded musical landscape deserves to be celebrated, even if you decide never to stray too far from that corner.

So even though Drake may be one of my favorite rappers in the game today, he wouldn’t top my list of the best artists in rap.

That crown would go to Kendrick Lamar, who plays with the form — and how much substantial meaning he can communicate on every level — to a degree largely unparalleled by anyone else right now. And yet — at fear of losing all my street cred — I tend to respect Kendrick’s output more than I personally enjoy it. Discovering deeper meaning to explore during every listen may be why others return to music over and over again, but I find myself more drawn to tunes I can jam to.

And that’s why Chance the Rapper basically splits the difference between Kendrick and Drake. Similar to the latter, he’s created a distinct sound unlike his peers, but the depth of his lyrical gaze and his experimentation with form sometimes scales the former’s heights. Though I do think critics unfairly malign Drake’s substance because his intellectual insights mostly, “merely” pertain to relationships,  he rarely touches upon anything novel in his musical compositions. And for that, he’s lovingly docked…

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