Drake and 21 Savage return to their roots with “Her Loss”

Rapping with wittiness over chill beats, Drake and 21 Savage deliver one of the most ear-pleasing albums of the year with their new collaboration project, “Her Loss.”

Following the boring trap sound of Drake’s 2021 album “Certified Lover Boy” and his 2022 unpolished house and dance album “Honestly Nevermind,” the world-renowned rapper has returned to a more traditional sound, this time with Atlanta rapper 21 Savage.

The album feels like a culmination of Drake’s ever-evolving sound over the last few years, blending and switching between R&B, trap and even ballad influences. The harsh piano instrumentals of Drake’s early work such as “Take Care” appear often and fit both artists’ vocals very well.

A major downside of the whole album is the collaboration status. “Her Loss” is not a true collaboration album, as Drake has four of the 16 songs to himself and takes up the majority of the songs with both artists present. The one song 21 Savage gets to himself, “3AM on Glenwood,” is a wonderfully melodic and well-produced song with just the perfect combination of distorted drums and background vocals.

A highlight of Drake’s more traditional production is the beat switch in “Major Distribution,” where the soft and melancholic piano intro drops out and Drake’s vocals take on a serious tone as a new, pitched-down and aggressive piano beat takes its place.

The studio production of the songs overall remains passable and there is good background for the vocals. The only major problem with the beats is the overuse of hi-hats and generic 808 bass lines on some instrumentals that could do better with less or none at all. The sample flips of the album are also pretty mundane, such as Daft Punk’s “One More Time” being badly compressed and distorted in the background of the boring track “Circo Loco.”

Another low point of the album is the unbearably long six-minute song “Hours In Silence,” where Drake’s whininess about women reaches a peak and he just seems to go on endlessly about painful romance. Despite that, the song still remains above-unlistenable due to the one thing every song on the project delivers on: the vibe.

Even if production is often minimal and not too impressive, the atmosphere brought together by Drake’s melodic vocals and light bass and drums carries some of the more boring ballad-type songs on the album. “Middle Of The Ocean,” only featuring Drake, is nearly six minutes long but showcases the best of Drake’s slower singing and the phenomenally orchestral beats on some of the album’s songs.

The absolute highlight of the album is definitely “P*ssy & Millions.” Travis Scott, the only feature artist on the whole project, comes in with an insanely satisfying beat switch and raps his best verse of the year so far. Even more impressive is this feature coming after Scott’s recent live events in Las Vegas, all of which drumming up hype for his upcoming album “Utopia.” Drake really took this album as a way to push 21 Savage’s career and give Travis Scott an opportunity to build hype for his own album.

“Her Loss” is an album that has revitalized Drake’s career in terms of quality. After years of struggling to find his place, jumping between R&B, trap and house, he’s decided to just make something with a little bit of each. 21 Savage, despite his great performance throughout the album, was given the short end of the stick here, seeming more like a guest than an actual collaborator. It has some flaws, but many of the songs in it will be playlist staples for years to come.