Scary Hours: Drake's latest has some highs, some lows
 Drake, courtesy of his instagram account @champagnepapi

Drake, courtesy of his instagram account @champagnepapi

"I'll be back in 2018 to give you the summary"

He said he would be back in 2018, but what did we expect?

“Do Not Disturb,” closing track on More Life, paved the way to a sequel with its last verse:

Takin' summer off, 'cause they tell me I need recovery
Maybe gettin' back to my regular life will humble me
I'll be back in 2018 to give you the summary

And that’s exactly where “Diplomatic Immunity” takes off. This rap tune features more-or-less every classic Drake trope imaginable: Over-emphasizing the number 6 (yes, again), inventorying his wealth and status, and how far he’s come since the good ol’ Degrassi days. 

Drake, born Aubrey Graham, adored the world over (with a few notable exceptions), kicked off the year with "Scary Hours," an almost-EP formatted like a traditional A-side/B-side single, common on antiquated phonograph record singles of the mid-twentieth century - a format lost to the rising popularity of the Maxi Single during the 1980s, which were in turn replaced by standalone digital singles in the 2000s.  The release contains just two songs - “God’s Plan” and “Diplomatic Immunity.”  While the former broke the record for most streams on Spotify during a 24-hour period, a record previously held by Taylor Swift's "Look What You Made Me Do," you might want to take a look at the B-side, “Diplomatic Immunity.”

The throwback track uses several old-school mechanisms which could have been experimental - such as barely-there-but-obviously-there vintage 808 percussion - but instead sound far too inconspicuous - and uninspired - to be exciting.  

Ain’t no bitches in these lines, instead we have very clever wordplay - subliminally mixing allusions of Toronto with his well-established stardom.  Several warnings can be perceived when Drake raps “Come at me and all you’ll get is the ballistic report,” or when he threatens to violate the Treaty of Versailles.

He cites his personal experiences in an intriguing way, which leads to several interpretations: 

They try to compare us, but
Like a job straight outta high school
There’s no you and I 

To be frank, this is not a particularly innovative rhyme.

Then came the bomb that kept the media headlining about this song:

2010 was when I lost my halo
2017 I lost a J. Lo
A Rotterdam trip had me on front page though

Pointing towards his ex, Jennifer Lopez, as well as her current beau, Alex Rodriguez, might be perceived as mawkishly banal, but it did manage to create the media frenzy necessary to propel this song to the top of the charts.  Was it the purpose for this lyric to generate controversy? Drake is pretty good at combining rhyme with gossip to get people talking.

Black excellence, but I guess when it comes to me it's not the same though, all goodie

Drake hasn’t received the same critical praise that has been awarded to his contemporaries such as Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean - however, his popularity is growing like jacuzzi foam and he is well aware of that fact.

Perhaps you have gotten used to those dancehall-influenced vibes that took a protagonist role back in 2016’s Views, which spawned several party anthems that played endlessly across dance floors and house parties all over the globe - a rare accomplishment for a rapper. Yet, “Diplomatic Immunity” is not the radio-ready chart topper “One Dance” was. The goal of “Scary Hours” isn’t radio airplay, but instead seems to be for Drake to rally back some of the prestige and respect he lost in the rap community by releasing what were, incontrovertibly, pop songs - and an attempt to reposition himself in the community as a rapper rather than a singer. 

Full of awkward wordplay, dated percussion, and plenty of melodrama. It’s not a favorite, but definitely serves a purpose. 

Verdict: It's not for everyone.

Listen to the songs below, and let us known what you think in the comments.