Image Courtesy of Genius
By Joey Brasco
The brightest moment on this record was the fiery “Jimmy Cooks” featuring 21 Savage. With this song, 21 helped Drake emerge from the musical malaise that has infected his recent output. In addition to being a great song, it also scored Drake a number one hit. With all of this, it made sense that Drake would want to collaborate with 21 in a fuller capacity.
Her Loss was promoted humorously through multiple spoof media appearances by Drake and 21. The two replicated an NPR Tiny Desk performance, a Howard Stern interview, as well as a Vogue cover shoot which eventually led to them being sued. With so much attention being paid to billing them as a duo, it may come as a surprise that Her Loss focuses much more on Drake than 21. Still, 21 does appear on a majority of the album’s tracks, and his inclusion may be most impactful in how he has seemingly supercharged Drizzy, resulting in him sounding hungrier than he has in quite a while.
Music critic Anthony Fantano described this idea by stating that “it seems that bringing 21 Savage into the fold has lit a fire under Drake’s ass, or inspired him to have some g*****n fun.”
The fun does not take long to materialize, with Drake’s cheeky introduction of 21 on the opener “Rich Flex.”
Teetering on the edge of pure corn, Drake implores 21, singing “21, can you do somethin’ for me? /do you thing 21, do your thing.”
21, of course, is happy to pepper this melodic line with his constant “21” adlibs. Although it is certainly goofy, this moment makes for an infectiously fun start to a record that does not seek to take itself too seriously.
The more casual aura of this record allows Drake and 21 to let their chemistry shine. On “On BS,” the two rappers trade off braggadocious bars over a hypnotic instrumental, sounding confident and excited to be working together. Albeit humorous, there are lines on this song, and the album in general, which have received negative attention.
“On BS” features the line “I blow a half a million on you h**s, I’m a feminist,” courtesy of Drake.
Clearly, this is meant to be comedic. However, other lines from Drake have caused more of an uproar. On “Circo Loco,” Drake appears to call into question the validity of Megan Thee Stallion’s testimony of being shot by artist Torey Lanez. Megan has since responded. The lyrical shots toward women is unfortunately a recurring theme on Her Loss.
Pitchfork reviewer Paul Thompson writes, “as the album’s title seems to promise, Her Loss is littered with bitter barbs for women who have betrayed Drake and 21.” For those familiar with either artist’s work, this will not be surprising.
Anthony Fantano words the quandary of enjoying this record well, stating, “If you can somehow see yourself through the toxicity of it all, I think you will get quite a bit out of this album.”
Indeed, if you can wade through the toxic waters of Drake and 21’s lyrics, you will be treated with some of the catchiest rap tunes likely to be released this year.
On “Broke Boys,” Drake and 21 flow over a brooding instrumental before a beat switch allows Drake to dish out some of his catchiest vocal lines on the entire album.
Drake successfully emulates the cold blooded demeanor of his partner on the piano laced instrumental of “Major Distribution,” as the two liken themselves to some of the biggest pop stars of this era.
“More M’s” should also be noted as it features production from the great Metro Boomin, who has worked extensively with both artists. His dark and looming production style allows 21 to operate in his comfort zone, but also shows off Drake’s versatility, as he sounds just as capable over foreboding trap beats as he does spacious R&B.
With Her Loss, 21 Savage helped Drake prove that he still has something left in the musical tank. At this point, Drake’s commercial success is a given, but what has been lacking as of late is a sense of fun and levity in his tunes. 21 helped bring this element back, making Her Loss one of the most notable rap releases of the year.