The superstar veteran and youngin’ join forces for spirited and flashy hip-hop
The “collab” album has become more enticing in the music industry as artists become more friendly. Over the past few years specifically, we have seen plenty of artists come together in hopes of the next breakout album. The collaboration process isn’t exactly a new trend for the genre. You can go back to the days of Mos Def and Talib Kweli teaming up in 1998 to make Black Star or in 2006 when Lil Wayne and Birdman made Like Father, Like Son. However it seemed like after the two superstars in rap Jay-Z and Kanye West joined forces on Watch The Throne and Drake and Future collaborated on WATTBA, it was always a big ordeal. However, it has become even more sought-after in this new age of music.
You had new-school artists Lil Baby and Gunna come together for Drip Harder which only elevated their status in rap. Kanye and Kid Cudi worked together on KIDS SEE GHOSTS, dropping an empowering and spacious album before beefing. Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y dropped classic weed anthems on How Fly back in 2009. Key Glock and the late Young Dolph made timeless Memphis rap on their Dum and Dummer series. There are collabs that just make the most sense, especially when they are of the same status and style. It takes an engaged effort from both parties to make an album of this magnitude work. You cannot have laziness or lack of interest slither into the studio. That sort of idleness is what killed Pluto x Baby Pluto. Lil Uzi Vert put on a legendary performance, while Hendrxx played like a migraine Scottie Pippen in Game 7 of the 1994 ECF. Fans begged for months about a Quavo and Travis Scott collaboration, until they got it. And how the hell did Rich the Kid get Lil Wayne to work with him for a whole album? Some become forgettable, a possible Hail Mary to get careers started back up.
Then there are ones that just make sense. Drake and 21 Savage are not rookies to the thought of a collab record. As mentioned before, Drake worked with Future and 21 Savage and Offset made a spectacular dark and vicious album, Without Warning. The two have worked together on tracks in the past such as “Mr. Right Now”, “Sneakin’”, “Knife Talk” and most recently “Jimmy Cooks.” All of those tracks were received well, enjoying some slippery flows, variety of styles and party anthems. But coming together for a whole hour of music is a challenge even for these two superstars.
Her Loss is a compilation of the most elegant shit-talking and richest flaunts. It captures an energetic Aubrey that has seemed to have reverted back to his youth. His subject matter has always stayed the same, but the purpose in his voice showed out. Drake has done this mix of rapping and singing for a decade-plus, but that doesn’t mean they’re always inspired. Yet, right off the first track “Rich Flex” he gives the most addictive hook on the whole album.
“21, can you do something for me? Can you hit a little rich flex for me?”
It is the right amount of hyping your friend up and sassiness that you would do for your close friends. Drake has a wide variety of sounds on this album that go over. “BackOutsideBoyz” has Lil Yachty influence all over it with his cadence and has a few brags that could go toe-to-toe with current-day Yachty. His wrists on Van Cleef and voting for Teanna Trump as President are among the favorites. “Middle of the Ocean” falls right in line with the mafioso style of music he has made over the years with Rick Ross. The production starts off with yacht vibes, looking up at the beautiful blue sky while he raps calmly about rigatoni with the pesto and friends clowning him about making techno music. The beat evolves into a sound more momentous, which takes Drake on a four-minute cycle of what he’s known for being great at; cinematic shit-talking.
While the solo Drake tracks were a great highlight, the album is at its best when 21 Savage actually joins the songs. “Spin Bout U” is the best evenly distributed track on the album, with the harmonious vocals from Drake on the chorus, R&B-influenced sounds between the two, and a great sample from BGOTI group. It feels like the biggest track on the album, with its monumental sound like they are trying to win over the women they are talking to. “Treacherous Twins” is the best friend anthem that will be used on Instagram captions for months to come. Drake’s energy in the first verse goes above and beyond anything I have heard from him in years. He sings with passion, meanwhile, 21 Savage slides discreetly speaking on the brotherhood and having each other’s back in crisis. It speaks to the connection they have as friends, especially when they are feening to be toxic. “Major Distribution” really falls in line for what 21 Savage is elite at. His quiet, no-nonsense demeanor glides perfectly with the simple trap beat builds for one of his best verses on the album.
“4L shit, know we steppin’, y’all should get to funeral preparin’
SF90, this is not McLaren, make an IG model run my errands
He gon’ miss and we gon’ spin his parents, stayed in Houston long as Steve Francis
Shoot his feet, got him doin’ dances, wiggin’ n**gas like I played at Kansas”
At the album’s worst, it is too Drake reliant. While it’s understood that the Canadian is the more versatile artist of the two, it was hard not to observe the fact that 21 was sometimes limited on what he was allowed to do on certain songs. “Hours In Silence” is the greatest example, as the first half of the track gels the two perfectly. Their chemistry and singing is in sync, showing their emotional side to the woman they are trying to keep.
Then Drake goes into this four and a half minute rant, as if turning back the clock to his Take Care days. Except this feels more like a throwaway idea than anything. The solo tracks go four-to-one in favor of Mr. Graham, with one hitting almost six minutes. Maybe that was agreed on between them, but when I hear the verse 21 Savage performs on “More M’s” it just makes me wonder if they could’ve leaned on the more cutthroat approach. He has been naturally gifted in that dark and mysterious mode since 2016.
“Givin’ out spankings
Ridin’ with lil’— ’cause he shoot without thinkin’
Baptize a n**ga, send him home in a blanket
Upgrade a bitch and put some diamonds in her anklet
Better not get no throw up on my seat, I know you drinkin’
You ain’t fuck no rapper, you a dinosaur, you ancient
I like fried rice, you better cook like you an Asian
Wrote a lot of verses, but I never wrote no statement”
Her Loss is steady on this trajectory of great rap-records that would be placed on playlists to come. The first half of “Broke Boys” has the grimiest start to any track, like it’s the theme music Ja Morant plays in his head when he sprints from one end to the other on the court for another breathtaking dunk. Not to mention the beat switch where Drake whales another memorable one-liner in our brains “I can’t talk to broke boys, yeah, I can’t talk to broke boys.”
While it has moments of sour-tasting lyrics from both artists (the Meg Thee Stallion and Serena Williams lines were bad) it is only a small portion of the fun these two have within the album. The biggest knock on Drake over the past few albums was always a lack of engagement. Most people with common sense always knew he could be at a top-tier status and create R&B cuts. Yet, it felt like the Gatorade symbol was over his head. He feels refreshed rapping next to one of the best young rappers in the game today. They proved their singles or features with each other were not fluky. The duo has a gravitation towards each other, where they can map out their strengths and stick to it; rich people talk and boasting their toxic nature