As a huge Drake fan (and former stan), I was excited for November 4th, 2022. The collaboration between two of my favorite rappers culminated in Her Loss, released at midnight on the east coast. It was also surprising to see a smooth rollout for this album, as some of Drake’s other projects had issues appearing on streaming services over the past few years.
This was Drake’s second collaboration album, his first being a collab EP with Future on What a Time to Be Alive in 2015. Drake and 21 Savage are not new to working with each other, as they have collaborated on 4 songs since 2016.
The promotion tactics of this album have been notable, starting with how the album was announced. Drake released a video on social media simply announcing the joint album with no prior hints or much speculation. The same occurred with his previous release, Honestly, Nevermind. The duo of Drake and 21 Savage also released fake interviews with appearances on NPR’s Tiny Desk and the Howard Stern Show. An interesting form of promotion took place on Drake’s Instagram story. Various hentai and sexually suggestive pictures were posted with captions promoting the album. Fans had an understandably shocked reaction to this, even going as far as joking about Drake forgetting to log into his burner account.
The album consists of 16 songs and is an hour long in its entirety. This is about the same length as albums these two artists have put out in the past few years.
One listen left me with the impression that this album definitely has something for everyone. There was a mix of love songs with solid melodies and money-flex songs with hard beats to support them. There was only one feature on the album: Travis Scott on “Pussy & Millions.” There were 5 solo tracks, but only one was 21 Savage’s. That, plus the fact that Drake took the lead on many of the songs, makes it feel less like a collaboration album, and more like a Drake album, with 21 Savage featured on many of the songs.
There were also plenty of shots sent out by Drake & 21 Savage in these songs, one of which being targeted toward the husband of tennis legend Serena Williams. In “Middle of the Ocean,” Drake referred to Alexis Ohanian, husband of Serena and co-founder of Reddit, as a groupie. This could be alluding to the fact that Drake might have had a relationship with Williams in the past. He name-dropped her in some songs and made appearances at many of her matches.
Another notable diss and likely the biggest came in “Circo Loco.” Drake’s first verse has a line in which he says “This bitch lie 'bout gettin' shots, but she still a stallion, She don't even get the joke, but she still smilin'.” Fans caught this line and connected this to the controversy of rapper Megan Thee Stallion allegedly getting shot by fellow rapper Tory Lanez. Megan Thee Stallion posted a series of tweets in response to this:
At its core, the line is supposed to mean a tall and thick woman, also known as a stallion, did get body enhancement injections, but is lying about it. This could also be a double entendre to refer to both meanings. No statement or reaction has been made by Drake.
After going through the album a second time and paying closer attention to everything, my opinion did not change much. I still enjoyed a handful of the songs but got bored in between.
As mentioned earlier, only one other featured artist was in the album. Still, it could be possible that Lil Yachty was meant to have a spot. In “BackOutsideBoyz,” Lil Yachty’s presence is heard in the ad-libs, but we do not get any verse to officially make him a part of the song. This is similar to Chris Brown’s role in “Not You Too,” which was included in 2020’s Dark Lane Demo Tapes. Chris Brown was listed as part of the song but only provided background vocals. It could be possible that Lil Yachty was originally set to be in the song but was removed from the final mix. Yachty is still given production credits on four songs, and has even mentioned that he helped pick the controversial album cover.
My personal favorite song on the album has to be “Broke Boys.” The beat in this one is just infectious and blends with their voices so well. The chorus is my favorite part of the song, but the beat switch creates an even better version of what was already a great track. This one will be on repeat, and it has already made it to my Instagram story.
The best example of tag-team rapping came in “On BS,” as Drake and 21 Savage go back and forth, dropping great lines, seemingly trying to see who can come out on top. Both artists also mention their knack for being the best rapper on a song, even when they are simply featured.
As a whole, I would give this album a 7/10. This is a sonically good album and generally sticks to the theme of moving on from a relationship and it is “her loss.” The transitions in the middle of the songs provide excitement and an incentive to keep listening. However, much of the album did not resonate with me and ultimately did not live up to my expectations. The announcement of a collaboration album piqued the interest of me and many other fans, as What a Time to Be Alive seemingly was a perfect album and delivered many hits.
I’ve noticed that my opinion on Her Loss is the polar opposite of what many people on the Internet have been saying, so I strongly encourage you to go and listen for yourself. With Drake’s past few albums, I have enjoyed them early on, while people online did not have a positive opinion. This might represent my wacky music taste and urge to listen to songs that simply sound pleasing to my ears. Nonetheless, I am sure that I will come around to this album in the future, and it will become one of my favorites.