Drake’s best in years, but it’s still a loss

Only four months after his last album, Drake fans were pleasantly surprised by the announcement of his new collaboration album with popular rapper 21 Savage. Over the years, 21 Savage has become one of the most popular artists working today, with over 45 million monthly listeners, and almost a million followers on Spotify. After Drake featured 21 Savage on his two most recent albums, making fan favorites like “Jimmy Cooks” and “Knife Talk,” fans hoped for the two rappers to continue collaborating. But an entire album still seemed unlikely to most.

The past several albums released by Drake have performed well commercially. Breaking records like most first day streams for a dance album on Apple Music with his most recent album, “Honestly Nevermind,” and the most first day streams in Apple Music history with 2021’s “Certified Lover Boy.” But despite the great commercial success, these albums did not perform well critically. But fans were optimistic for his newest album “Her Loss,” believing that 21 Savage would push Drake to go out of his comfort zone and create an album that’s worth a listen.

This album begins with the energetic and now viral song, “Rich Flex.” This song features multiple beat switches and many back and forths between Drake and 21 Savage. Making it one of the most popular songs on the album, being the number one song on Spotify in the U.S. and Canada. 

The next few tracks keep this same energy going and expand on the artist’s chemistry. However this flow does get interrupted with a one and a half minute spoken interlude at the end of ”On BS” and a slow piano intro on the following song ”Major Distribution.”

After the following two songs, ”Backoutsideboyz” and ”Privileged Rappers,” the album’s biggest flaw becomes apparent. The content of the lyrics remain surface level and edge on misogynistic, with a large amount of the songs objectifying and insulting women. This includes his line in “Circo Loco” regarding Megan Thee Stallion, “This b***h lie about getting shots, but she is still a stallion / She don’t even get the joke, but she still smiling.” This is a reference to when Megan Thee Stallion was shot in the foot by Canadian rapper, Tory Lanez. This court case is still ongoing, and several rappers including 50 Cent and Boosie BadAzz have made similar comments which provides some explanation to why Drake would believe and state that Megan was lying. Although misogyny has been a common element throughout Drake and 21 Savage’s entire careers, it is especially obvious on “Her Loss.” 

The lyrics of this album also have controversial lyrics regarding other popular artists. This includes Ye, and surprisingly Zayn Malik and Harry Styles of One Direction fame. Although these callouts provide momentary shock value, they have little impact considering Drake’s history of starting drama with artists and ending it soon after.

However, going into the second quarter of the album, it does pick back up with ”Spin Bout U.” This song is classic Drake, with him singing an auto tuned hook over a romantic RnB sample, and going into verses rapping about his current relationship. This and the attitude and flirtatiousness of 21 Savage’s verse makes this a highlight on the album, despite this type of song playing much more into Drake’s strengths.

The focus on Drake continues onto the six and a half minute song ¨Hours In Silence.¨ From this point on, it becomes apparent that this is not a true collab album like his 2015 album, ”What A Time to be Alive,” with Drake and Future having a more equal amount of influence and presence on the album, than Drake’s treatment of 21 Savage on “Her Loss.” But thankfully, the next track ¨Treacherous Twins¨ brings back 21 Savage to make their most collaborative song on the album, with them both sharing verses regarding their strong relationship and how good they work together.

The next song on the album, ”Circo Loco,” samples Daft Punk’s classic song, ”One More Time.” Despite the incorporation of this universally beloved dance beat, the song still manages to sound cheap because of poor production and Drake lazily singing the hook.

But thankfully this is made up for with “Middle of the Ocean.” This song is one the best pieces on the album and one of Drake’s best songs in years. This track samples “Cry Together” by the O’Jays and “Troubeaux” by Jennifer Lopez to create a hard hitting instrumental, while keeping the classy and charismatic energy of the song. This beat provides a great background for Drake’s reflective verses regarding his career. The pacing of this song and its three beat switches make it so the energy and attitude is relentless, but not tiring.

The album is brought back down from its high with the following songs. Keeping a style similar to the beginning of the album, but not expanding on it. However, “Her Loss” ends on an unexpected note, bringing a more vulnerable perspective to this unhealthy attitude they have on women and their relationships with them. Although it certainly doesn’t cancel out the misogynistic comments, it provides more context and a look at the emotional root behind the men saying them. Saying “I need you to come over once again. And before you give me closure, need you to come a bit closer.” This song could also be viewed as them doubling down on this attitude, by trying to justify them

“Her Loss” shows Drake using 21 Savage to bring the energy, the ideas, and the fun that has been missing from his past several albums. Although this album certainly isn’t great, it is Drake’s best in years.