Album Review: Drake and 21 Savage’s ‘Her Loss’

Joe Simpson

By Joe Simpson

Joe Simpson

8 Nov 2022

Last Friday, Drake and 21 Savage dropped off their highly anticipated collaborative project, ‘Her Loss’. The two artists have been frequent collaborators, most recently on ‘Jimmy Cooks’, from Drizzy’s last full length project, ‘Honestly, Nevermind’. Drake’s last album was a different departure for the Toronto superstar, infusing Techno and House into his discography and leaving Rap on the back burner almost entirely for the first time in his career. Drake has always moved the goalposts throughout his musical journey when it comes to Rap, as he has found success with melody across his work, which has in turn changed the musical landscape when it comes to the genre. ‘Her Loss’ however sees a return to form for the 6ix God, linking up with Savage to create an album that sees both artists elevate each other to new heights. 

The pair have great chemistry together, dating all the way back to ‘Sneakin’ in 2016. Drake’s ubiquitousness in the Rap game over the last decade has made his sound and lyricism more luxurious and decadent than it’s ever been, while 21 tempers that with his more hard hitting, pithy one-liners. ‘Her Loss’ is at its best when these two styles intertwine, as evidenced on ‘Privileged Rappers’, or ‘Broke Boys’. The hard-hitting production of the latter track suits Savage perfectly, while Drake’s melodic performance on the hook helps offset the darker sounds of the instrumental. 

Furthermore, when the two artists go back to back – as heard on ‘On BS’ -it pushes each rapper to elevate themselves to a higher level, as the two spar with, ‘I jump on your song and make you sound like you the feature, I jump on your song and make a label think they need ya’. 21 doesn’t really put a foot wrong on this project, and it feels like he could have potentially been utilised a bit more, as the album shines the brightest when he steps out and plays a leading role. Drake even raps on ‘Broke Boys’, ‘I’m ridin’ around in Atlanta with Sav’, ‘Cause that n**** been goin’ harder than me’. Savage also impresses in his only solo output on the tape, ‘3AM in Glenwood’, showing that he is not just a one trick pony and can excel in a more lyrical style.

That is not to say however that Drake disappoints on this project. ‘Middle of the Ocean’ is one of his best lyrical performances for a long time, and demonstrates that although many now label him as a ‘pop star’, Drake’s pen is as sharp as ever when he wants it to be. He also impresses as he forays more into Savage’s sound on tracks like ‘BackOutsideBoyz’, and ‘Treacherous Twins’. At this stage of Drizzy’s career, his audience knows what to expect when it comes to his lyricism and subject matters, and at times he surpasses those expectations on this project. One of the highlights of the tape comes from ‘P*ssy and Millions’ with Travis Scott, as Drake, Savage, and Travis all put in top performances across a soulful sampled beat.

Drake’s lyrics however are not above retribution on this album, and are at times more than controversial. His now infamous bar concerning Megan Thee Stallion on the Daft Punk rework, ‘Circo Loco’, has to be called out as problematic. It’s a shame that misogyny and Rap music still go hand in hand, but this album does nothing to dispel this. At times on the project this can come across as humorous and entertaining (‘I’m a gentleman, I’m generous, I blow a half a million on you hoes, I’m a feminist’), but occasionally they come across as if they are chasing virality. With Drake’s status in the game, he could be using his voice to amplify the marginalised in Rap music, but instead it can be seen that he is punching down, rather than trying to raise up. 

It’s fair to say that if we called out every instance of misogyny in Rap music, most artists would be guilty of falling into these tropes. However, Drake’s position as one of the most visible artists in the world across any genre means that he has a responsibility that others don’t, and he should be held accountable for perpetuating these stereotypes. It’s not necessarily surprising, as the Canadian rapper has shown us in previous songs that he can fall into these tendencies (‘Walk It Like I Talk It’, ‘Girls Want Girls’), but a lot of these bars feel unnecessary and don’t push forward the actual musicality of the album – instead feeling as if they are purely there to spark controversy. 

‘Her Loss’ therefore is an album that has significant flaws, but has moments of brilliance that make the project an entertaining listen throughout. The chemistry of Savage and Drake is undeniable, and at their best they are a lethal combination that offset each other perfectly. The range of production styles and soundscapes across the project bring a good sense of variety to the listener, and Drake has shown why he has had such a decorated run at the top for so long. With all this being said, some of the lyrics and tropes on this project have been taken a step too far, and could have easily been toned down without effecting the quality of the album.