The quasi-collaborative effort of Her Loss is the best album Drake has dropped since 2017’s More Life. After a contentious venture into the techno dance scene, Drake has returned to his element and brought 21 Savage along for the ride.
The result is an intermittently brilliant album, albeit with some misses. Regardless, it’s clear Drake is having a great time, and Her Loss is a whole lot of fun.
Drake’s bars can be a little ridiculous throughout the album. On “Privileged Rappers,” he audaciously raps, “let’s have sex in the bank / tell ‘em to open the safe,” before throwing in a “purr” adlib.
Savage and Drake then refer to each other as “treacherous lil’ twin[s]” on “Treacherous Twins.” The pair revel in their camaraderie as Drake lays down the bar “you tell me you want something, imma tell you ‘same, same.’”
Then there’s “short rigatoni with the pesto” on “Middle of the Ocean,” the first pasta-inspired Drake line since 2015’s “No Tellin.’”Some of these lines come off as silly—and they are—but they embody the sort of cheekiness that’s become quintessentially Drake.
Although this is technically a collaborative effort, Her Loss is primarily a Drake project. Savage is nonetheless crucial to the album’s success: he prevents Drake from falling into his self-obsessive falsetto tendencies, and Drake allows Savage to have a more dynamic, varied sound.
On “Major Distribution,” Drake lays down tight, clean bars full of bravado. On “Hours in Silence,” Savage is in his feels and offers a melodic sound we rarely see from the rapper.
It’s when Drake slips back into his navel-gazing obsession with trust issues and romantic throes that Her Loss stumbles. “Hours in Silence” and “I Guess it’s F—k Me” are notable misses, with Drake droning on and on over minimalist beats.
His attempts to croon through self-mythology and lost love are boring and barren. The tracks are full of toxic petulance, with Drake rapping, “she asking me why I haven’t nut / I didn’t know we was in a rush / enjoying the moment, so hush.” It speaks for itself.
Although Her Loss provides wonderful textural and thematic contrast with the inclusion of both artists, Drake shines on his solo tracks.
On “Middle of the Ocean,” he synthesizes the two spheres with lines like “no chance the kid’ll make it here like vasectomy / they underestimate my trajectory,” or “whippin’ the Vespa off of six tequilas / big Benjamins like the Pittsburgh Steelers.”
There’s an egotistic self-awareness here, too, as Drake realizes his “latest stuff / might be the only teacher that gets paid enough.” The sentiment is there, but it’s rich coming from guy who makes millions a year.
When Drake isn’t sleepwalking through flat self-pitying verses, Her Loss is a fun exploration of artistic contrasts and a reminder to rap fans Drake can still lay down some heat when he’s on top of his game. The inclusion of Savage, although perhaps underutilized, pushes the album over the top, bringing the best out of both rappers.
Thematically, the album fails to convincingly coalesce into something profound, but it is enjoyable. If anything, Her Loss is a massive course correction after the surly, self-pitying Honestly, Nevermind, and 2021’s Certified Lover Boy.
Maybe all Drake needed was a “treacherous lil’ twin” to remind him what it’s like to have fun. Luckily, he’s found one in Savage.
21 savage, Album review, collaboration, drake, rap
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