To find Drake’s last hip-hop release you have to go back merely a year, to 2021’s Certified Lover Boy – which was, to put it bluntly, a bad project. Drake’s return to rap exceeds CLB, yet the notable scarcity of 21 Savage on a joint project, and a sometimes inconsistent tracklist prevents Her Loss from being anything more than a decent album.
‘Rich Flex’ is a strong opener, as Drake essentially flirts with 21 Savage before 21 comes in to air out his grievances. ‘On BS’ sees the duo flowing in and out of each other on top form, something not done enough on Her Loss, while ‘Pussy & Millions,’ a title which exemplifies the album’s focus, is the highlight of the project, as is usually the case when Drake recruits Travis Scott.
The production is elite, as expected, yet it could do with some variation. The constant hi-hats sometimes make it hard to know whether it is the next song or just a part II. The album seems to have two styles: hard hitting, bass heavy trap beats, or more woozy, melodic instrumentals for Drake to sing over.
That said, when these styles work, they work very well. ‘More M’s’ is one of the best tracks on the project, no doubt helped by Metro Boomin’s production. ‘Middle of the Ocean’ is a catchy Drake solo ballad that sees him spitting some decent bars: “Big Benjamins like the Pittsburgh Steelers.”
The 60 minute long runtime does see the album drop off occasionally however; ‘BackOutsideBoyz’ sounds eerily similar to Trippie Redd’s ‘Betrayal’ – a song Drake himself featured on. Circo Loco somehow turns a Daft Punk sample into a song about sex, and whilst it is a welcome suprise that 21 Savage is rooting for Arsenal to win the Premier League, Drake’s distasteful remarks about the Megan Thee Stallion/Tory Lanez shooting casts a shadow over the track.
It is a shame the record increasingly becomes a Drake solo project as it goes on; 21 Savage has some of the highlights of the album early on, his opening verse on ‘Spin Bout U’ is the perfect combination behind a soulful trap beat. Drake’s reference to the overturning of Roe vs Wade in an attempt to prove his love for the woman he raps about is corny, and proves 21’s presence is needed for this album to succeed. 21 Savage’s only solo track on the album, the more introspective ‘3AM on Glenwood,’ does leave you wanting more as the album closes with Drake’s ‘I Guess It’s Fuck Me.’
Whilst not an exceptional project, it is certainly a welcome release from Drake in particular. Following his last two projects, I was beginning to see Drake as a brand rather than an artist, so it is good to see him return to his If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late style of rapping. However Her Loss lacks some identity as an album. 21 Savage feels like a passenger too often, and the project is somewhat inconsistent. Nonetheless, Her Loss is a welcome addition to the catalogues of both involved, especially to the fans of Drake alienated by Honestly Nevermind.