Powell: ‘Her Loss’ displays loss of ingenuity


OVO / Republic Records

Drake and 21 Savage’s album Her Loss was released in November, approximately six years after the two artists last collaborated on the track “Sneakin'” featured on Drake’s album More Life.

Mariane Powell, Staff Writer

On Nov. 4, exactly six years after their first collaboration, rappers Drake and 21 Savage dropped their first joint album, Her Loss. Both artists have come a long way since their partnership on “Sneakin’” from Drake’s 2017 album More Life.

This album was highly anticipated after 21 Savage’s feature on June’s “Jimmy Cooks,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Her Loss, however, is missing the secret ingredient that makes their previous collaborations so good. I’ll let you in on that secret: On a 16-track album, expectations for individual songs are lower, therefore there is room for mediocrity.

Almost all of the individual songs on this album would be much better as singles or dispersed on other albums. 

It’s like an Oreo in a Lunchable. In a Lunchable, you only get two Oreos, which makes them seem as though they taste better than Oreos from a regular box of Oreos. Despite being the same cookie, the one from the Lunchable tastes infinitely better because you have fewer. When you eat an Oreo from a box of Oreos, it doesn’t taste as good because you have dozens more. Scarcity increases value. When you have an abundance of something, you appreciate it less.

By no means is this a bad album – standout tracks include “Spin Bout U” and “P**** & Millions (feat. Travis Scott)” – but it lacks the wit and magnetism Drake and 21 Savage’s previous collaborations featured.

Some of 21 Savage’s best work has been on other more famous artists’ songs, including Drake’s “Knife Talk,” which 21 clearly carried.

Both rappers acknowledge this on “On BS,” where 21 quips, “I jump on your song and make you sound like you the feature,” and Drake responds, “I jump on your song and make a label think they need ya, for real.” 

It is unfortunate this lighthearted energy did not continue throughout Her Loss. Instead, it was held back by a lack of artistry and ingenuity, which has been a common theme in Drake’s most recent albums.

Her Loss was expected by many to follow the example of 2016’s Savage Mode and 2020’s Savage Mode II, 21 Savage’s albums with Metro Boomin in which the two blended seamlessly on each song. Drake even proved he could do so as well, joining the duo on “Mr. Right Now.”

The Canadian rapper’s heavy-handed dominance of this album, however, stifles 21 instead of providing nuance. It feels as though the pair is not on the same wavelength for much of the album and quite literally are not for tracks including “I Guess It’s F*** Me” and “3AM on Glenwood,” which are solely Drake and 21 Savage songs, respectively. 

Her Loss is plagued by Drake’s petulance and lack of both creativity and couth that has been on display to mixed derision in the past few years. 

Objectification of women in the rap genre is nothing new, but instead of being humorous, quips come off as creepy and stale.

“Circo Loco,” in particular, received visceral backlash following the release due to a purported not-so-subtle diss on rapper Megan Thee Stallion: “This b**** lie ‘bout gettin’ shots, but she still a stallion / She don’t even get the joke but she still smilin’.” 

Some, including rapper Lil Yachty, have claimed the bar was a typical quip on plastic surgery culture, but it’s hard to imagine “stallion” doesn’t refer to a specific person. 

Megan Thee Stallion alleged in 2020 she was shot in the foot by rapper Tory Lanez, who subsequently denied the claim, despite being charged on multiple counts by the Los Angeles Police Department. Many people, famous and not, quickly jumped to blame Megan or suggest the shooting never actually happened even after Lanez was found guilty on all charges.

Even as a double entendre, it’s a rather tasteless line for a rapper who has frequently talked on previous projects about his love for Black women. 

Her Loss is filled with other snarky references, some up for interpretation – “She a 10, tryin’ to rap, it’s good on mute,” in reference to rapper Ice Spice – and some more blatant – “Serena, your husband a groupie.”

Sparking internet discourse is a common way of promoting new music, one Drake is certainly not a stranger to, but it seems unnecessary to try to start beef with people you didn’t previously have it with just for the sake of album sales and press. 

It is clear this album had potential to be one of the most memorable of the year, but it fell painfully short. This leaves fans with a question: Is it worth being loyal to an artist who no longer cares about artistry?