Drake’s Scary Hours 3 is a beautifully written cry for help

Courtesy of Aubrey Drake Graham
Courtesy of Aubrey "Drake" Graham

Fame and fortune do not shield anyone from mental health issues, and Drake is no exception. 

The five-time Grammy and 34-time Billboard Music Awards recipient surprised fans with the release of the third installment of his signature “Scary Hours” series on Nov. 17.

While the six songs on the track may initially sound like a melodic masterpiece, a more poignant message is buried beneath each track: Drake is crying out for help. He lays bare his mental struggles, beginning with his issues dealing with imposter syndrome.

It’s no secret that many music critics believe Drake is no longer capable of producing record-breaking music as he once did. Notable critics Anthony Fantano and Joe Budden have expressed their discontent for Drake’s latest albums on their social media platforms.

In response to the criticism, Drake adopts an aggressive tone, asserting that he will “put these bums right back in their place” by using his musical accomplishments to counter negative comments.

“Imagine us gettin’ our validation from an ex-musician searchin’ for recognition.”

He highlights his success on the Billboard Hot 100 and acknowledges only one artist surpassing him: 12-time Grammy and 39-time Billboard Music Awards recipient Taylor Swift.

“Taylor Swift the only n—- that I ever rated / Only one could make me drop the album just a little later / Rest of y’all, I treat you like you never made it.”

In addition to the aggressive comments, he subtly mocks his critics by playing into the “Drake the type of guy” meme, where people depict the artist as a societal outcast who uses old, unused terms.

“They gon’ have to talk to Ouija boards like heebie jeebian.”

Despite initially responding with aggression and snarky jokes, Drake shifts to a more vulnerable state of mind, acknowledging that the hate affects him in his song “The Shoe Fits.”

Drake adds a disclaimer at the beginning of the song, warning fans that they might want to skip it because they won’t like what he has to say.

“So, to all the ladies wonderin’ why / Drake can’t rap like that same old guy / It’s ’cause I don’t know how anymore / I don’t know how, yeah / I’ve had my beliefs tested, my faith broken in half / I try to joke and I laugh / But I just don’t / know how anymore, love / I don’t know how, yeah.”

Rather than trying to discredit negative reviews, Drake admits they are right. He conveys that he is not the same award-winning artist and doesn’t know how to revert to his old ways, as reflected in the title “The Shoe Fits.”

The title supports this by utilizing the old term “If the shoe fits” meaning one should own up to claims about them if there is validity to it. By naming the title “The Shoe Fits”, Drake is telling everyone that he knows he is not the same artist as before.

This internal feeling of not being good enough led to Drake briefly quitting music after releasing “For All The Dogs”.

“I walked in the studio, Noel said, ‘I thought you quit’ / I said ‘Nah, I’m quittin’ again ’cause I started again'”

Drake’s mental health decline is not solely attributed to negative critiques; his past failed romances also significantly impact him. Centering his last four albums around heartbreak, his final song, “You Broke My Heart,” directly addresses these issues, expressing the loneliness and heartbreak he experiences despite giving his all in relationships.

He always gives his romantic interest everything he can, yet they always leave him lonely and heartbroken.

“Yeah, this one gon’ hurt / Down bad boys, sad boys, I been representin’ since birth”

The combination of negative comments and failed relationships leads Drake to question his religious beliefs. 

In “Wick Man,” he directly addresses the passing of his friend, Nadia Ntuli, and reflects on waiting for a spirit to guide him through tough times, ultimately questioning the existence of heaven.

“Livin’ for right now ’cause I really think heaven’s a front”

Feeling this way about his religion makes Drake fear societal ostracism for questioning faith in an otherworldly figure.

“So pardon me questioning God and not believing in much.”

While the six songs on this album offer a melodic experience for fans, there is a much deeper meaning behind every lyric, revealing the mental turmoil Drake is currently navigating.

Drake’s mental issues are causing him to rely more on the ones he considers family to help him through.

The song “Stories about my brother” consists of Drake expressing his mutual love and loyalty to his friends he is close enough to call brother.

“Blood is thicker than water, n—-, his iron is up / And if you keep eyein’ me down, trust me, his iron is up”

Not only did he praise his close friends on the track, he sang with them. Drake brought one of his closest friends, J. Cole, on the song “Evil Ways” rounding out his musical masterpiece. 

From addressing his hate comments and failed romances to relying on his closest friends to improve his mental health, Drake gets very vulnerable on this project, and it was beautiful.

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