Jacob Fife '23
I should’ve expected this, but I’m a little disappointed. Recent Drake releases have been boring and lazy, two attributes that shouldn’t belong to an extremely wealthy artist with access to the best producers in the industry. These projects usually contained a couple good songs—for example, “Nice for What” from 2018’s Scorpio or “Jimmy Cooks” from this year’s Honestly, Nevermind—so the hope that Drake can release a good record is never fully out of the question. As for 21 Savage, while I’ve not listened to much of his solo work, I can recognize his talent through his feature on JID’s “Surround Sound” or through modern classics like 2018’s “a lot.” Being the optimist I am, I figured that these two artists could pull together an entertaining collaboration album. And, while Her Loss isn’t terrible, it fails to excite.
Let’s start out with what I liked. Firstly, “Rich Flex” is a decent opener, and Drake hyping up 21 is fun and charming. Secondly, many of the beats on Her Loss are great. The slick R&B sample on “Spin Bout U” compliments the flirtatious tone of the track, the Daft Punk sample on “Circo Loco” is nice to hear for the sole fact that it’s Daft Punk, and the beat switches on “P***y & Millions” and “Broke Boys” go hard. Travis Scott’s feature on that last track is better than most of the rapping Drake and 21 do on the rest of the album. Looking back at “Spin Bout U,” some of Drake’s flirty feminism is hilarious, especially his “eight words when I think about us is…” (I’ll let you fill in the rest). In fact, “Spin Bout U” and “P***y & Millions” are my favorite tracks by far on Her Loss because they do what I want from a Drake and 21 collaboration album: be fiery, fun, and fresh.
Some of the most interesting lyrics in the album are 21's “I can’t right my wrongs, but I can still write these hooks.” To this I ask, where are these hooks you speak of? If by “hooks,” you mean repeating a phrase in a monotone voice until it becomes numbing, I’m afraid you don’t know how to make a song catchy. Both “Major Distribution” and “On BS”—the second and third tracks on Her Loss, respectively—are both boring songs whose “hooks” aren’t going to catch any fish because they are so dull and flat. I want this album to be good, but most of the songs are either boring lyrically, boring productionally, or boring in both manners. The worst culprit of invoking boredom is the track “Hours In Silence,” which I would consider the worst song on the album. Drake whining into a microphone with an ambient instrumental for six-and-a-half minutes is one of the least appealing things Drake can do, and he made “Way 2 Sexy.” Finally, with the album being an hour long, I find it difficult to sympathize with Drake’s heartbreak in the final track because I’d rather hear the music end.
Drake and 21 Savage, I hate to sound like an angry school teacher, but do better. While hope remains for 21’s career, I can’t see Drake as anything more than a corporate product whose sole purpose is to make profit. While, yes, this album might be better than most of Drake’s recent works, it fails to convince me that Drake cares about his identity as an artist. If this album were my child, I’d say to it, “I’m not mad, just disappointed.”
However, realistically speaking, I’ll still give Drake’s next album a chance.