Life for St. Petersburg, Florida, singer Rod Wave has changed very little in the wake of the government-mandated social distancing of April 2020. “This dude was asking me about quarantining,” he tells Apple Music ahead of the release of Pray 4 Love, “but I haven’t changed the way I live. I don't really like to go to places. I've been quarantining for the past two years.” This might be something of a hard sell coming from someone whose popularity and acclaim has risen steadily since 2019’s “Heart on Ice”—notably, a song about retreating into yourself—but Pray 4 Love carries much of the same thread.
On songs like the title track, “Thug Life,” and “I Remember,” Wave details some of the scenarios that have contributed to his self-imposed pre-pandemic isolation. There are not only stories of having been done wrong, but also instances of Wave taking responsibility for his mistreatment of others. “Made her fall in love, then begged for distance,” he sings of a lover on “Thief in the Night.” “That's what happened,” Wave says. “I'm not going to try to lie and be like, ‘She was tripping, so I—’ No. I'm gonna keep it real. That's all I know.”
It’s certainly gotten him this far. And if it wasn’t for his honesty, he might not have his biggest hit to date. “Before the albums, and people talking and liking and following, all I had was the music,” he says. “The music helps me talk about [my problems]. I don't regret going through none of it, because if it hadn’t went down like that, 'Heart on Ice' wouldn’t have even been a song. It would have been 'Wrist on Ice.'” Thank god for hard times.