Drake has returned a couple of times in the past year (is that a roll-out of the album?) But this time it’s more serious, I guess because it’s filled with a radio show.
He debuted a three-track EP under the Scary Hours umbrella on last night’s OVO Sound, a term the Toronto rapper invented during his feud with Meek Mill and has since adopted into his permanent lexicon. The three songs cover all of his bases: There is one bound to rule the radio and playlists (“Wants and Needs”), one that puts a Drake twist on the trendy space sound popularized by Pi’erre Bourne (“What’s Next”), and one for those who are always crying about ghostwriters (“Lemon Pepper Freestyle”).
Drake reunites with Rick Ross on the best of the three tracks, “Lemon Pepper Freestyle.” It’s their standard recipe of aspirational lifestyle lyrics for landlords, professional athletes, and visitors in Miami, delivered over a moody vocal sample-based instrumental.
They’ve done it so many times that you could actually get the gist without even listening, but Ross’ mythmaking still sounds right when it’s followed by nearly five minutes of Drake extolling the virtues of having a ton of cash: He refers to the Dubai princes as his family, drives jet skis in the Florida Keys, and yells at the groundskeepers who trim his hedges. It’s what I’ve come to expect, and by now I’m used to it.
It’s what I’ve come to expect because the Drake brand has become synonymous with familiarity. His music, like that of all dominant forces in pop culture, is a soothing source of nostalgia.