New music with Nick: “Her Loss” by Drake and 21 Savage

Welcome to “New Music with Nick”. In this column, I’ll review some of the most notable album releases across various genres, focusing on hip-hop, R&B, and pop music. Join me as I explore the ever-changing landscape of the streaming era.

Drake and 21 savages: “His loss (4 Nov 2022)

Another year, another Drake album. Or more precisely at this point: another few months, another Drake album.

Including mixtapes and compilations of unreleased old music, we’ve had at least one full Drake project every year since 2015. “Her Loss” marks his third studio album in just 14 months and finds Drake hoping to continue its commercial prominence and reverse the mediocre quality of his few previous projects.

21 Savage, while far from the commercial powerhouse that is Drake, has established himself as one of the leading mainstream trap artists. After selling over 100,000 units in the first week of sales with his last two studio albums, Savage has completed his emergence into full stardom from a crowded group of trap artists.

More important than sales, however, he easily became one of the best (and arguably the best) in the trap lane right now. 2020″Wild Mode II“was a great album through and through, using Metro Boomin’s deft production and Morgan Freeman’s hilarious storytelling to create marvelous artwork. Its predecessor, “I am > I waswas equally impressive, led by the hit “A Lot” featuring J. Cole, which went on to become a five-time platinum single and one of the best songs of 2018.

Collaboration albums are always an exciting proposition. Although this one comes at different points in their respective artistic careers and trajectories, their chemistry and backgrounds help make the outcome quite predictable and very sensible. Drake wanted to rediscover his rap side and connect with a proven great collaborator. With “Jimmy Cooks”, “Knife Talk”, “Sneakin” and “Mr. Right Now”, the two have already built up a solid collection in the past, before “Her Loss”, with great success.

Turns out “Jimmy Cooks,” their last single together, was very misleading. The fantastic production, gripping flows, and high energy far exceeded anything the two decided to bring to the table for “Her Loss.”

I didn’t come to “Her Loss” expecting an artistic masterpiece, but I came just wanting a little more than what I received. Drake ended up owning the vast majority of deliveries on the album, providing 66% of the lyrics compared to Savage’s 26% (8% of which goes to guests). It felt like a Drake album with a handful of 21 Savage features rather than a true collaboration album, and it’s clear to see which side was more invested in the project as a whole.

Savage delivered at several points in the project, but really without too many highlights. Drake held most of the most memorable moments on the album, mostly due to how often he appeared and the beats he was given.

There are few songs on the album that I would consider really well done or exciting. Unfortunately, there are several that I would consider bad or mediocre at best.

“Treacherous Twins” is a disastrous moment, an awful song in every way that had to be made strictly for college girls posting drunken Instagram stories with their best friends. “Circo Loco” is another terrible track, filled with cheesy bars and lame calls over an abysmal production. “Hours in Silence” was appropriately titled, as it nearly put me to sleep as literal hours in silence would. I can kind of see what Drake wanted to do with “BackOutsideBoyz” and “Jumbotron Shit Poppin”, but the execution was so far off.

Despite these lows, some songs delivered. “Middle of the Ocean” was the album’s highlight; it showed Drake flowing smoothly to a refreshing soulful beat. “Pussy & Millions,” featuring Travis Scott, was another standout. The production was enjoyable and each artist suited the track and blended in well, resulting in an entertaining and enjoyable hit. “More M’s”, “Major Distribution” and “Broke Boys” were the only other songs that really worked, with quality trap production that placed 21 Savage in his comfort zone and allowed Drake to effectively showcase its versatility.

Overall, the album lacked the standout moments I would expect from these two superstars. The production and delivery seemed really uninspired at times, and I really hoped they would be a lot bolder in their approach. Both artists would have benefited from more emotional and creative production choices across the tracklist. The majority of the album felt like it was playing it safe – just good enough to be passable and hold a place in the mainstream.

I think we’ve grown completely past the days of expecting classic Drake albums. I always hoped that the collaboration with 21 Savage would inspire Drake a little more and bring his sharper rapping and production choices, but it definitely isn’t. In the end, it’s another hip-hop moment that will be a commercial success but an artistic flop.

Favorite songs: “Middle of the Ocean”, “Pussy & Millions”, “Major Distribution”, “Broke Boys”, “More M’s”

Album rating: 59/100

look at this Spotify playlist and I love that it tracks some of my favorite songs of 2022 throughout the year!

Editor’s Note: This article is a review and includes subjective opinions, reflections, and critiques.