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Drake, 21 Savage win with chemistry on ‘Her Loss’

UPDATE: Drake and 21 shared a home video “recap” of their ‘Her Loss’ rollout which features cameos from Lil Yachty, Lil Wayne, Druski and many more. Filmed by Drake’s 90s-esque camcorder, the immersively left-of-center “Rich Flex visual reveals the lavish life Drizzy lives behind the scenes — and beyond the booth. There’s no other artist like Drake. Enjoy his reign while you still can.

Between a Tiny Desk troll, a faux Vogue cover and a SNL spoof, Drake and 21 Savage’s new album, Her Loss, isn’t lost on keeping things “transparent.” Despite a fake rollout bringing Her Loss to life, the album is as real as it gets — with Drizzy and Savage’s vice-grip on the culture tightening regardless of online backlash.

Featuring contributions from Lil Yachty, Travis Scott, Internet Money, Metro Boomin, F1LTHY and more, the 16-track LP delivers their on-paper value in bulk. With four solo tracks from Drake and one from 21, collab highlights in “Major Distribution,” “BackOutsideBoyz,” “Privileged Rappers” and “More M’s” not only back up their potency as a one-two punch, but proves their chemistry is undeniable in every facet.

“Slaughter gang shit, murder gang shit,” Drake drawls off on the beat switch-up to the album’s opener, “Rich Flex,” peaking the album’s existence by borrowing 21’s classic cadence. Ironically, “3AM on Glenwood” sees Savage keep that same energy — channeling “timestamp Drake” on this curveball cut fashioned by OVO producer Noah “40” Shebib.

The Toronto rapper’s melodies mixed with 21’s viciously droning delivery elicits a resounding balance between the two, much like their previous link-ups on “Sneakin” and “Jimmy Cooks.” However, consoling in the comfort of habit hides the true intentions of Her Loss, as the pain and guilt from former flames flicker within 21 and Drake’s relentless braggadocio. Suffering from fears of loneliness and abadonement, it’s not her loss, it’s Drake’s — griping with the realities of feeling empty amidst a career full of undoubted success. Through the toxicity, it’s apparent that 21’s support uplifts Drizzy through an issue that’s plagued his psyche for far too long. “It’s not toxic, it’s transparent,” Drizzy revealed on Sound 42 Radio’s TABLE FOR ONE. “[The album is] our side of the story.” It’s sonically freeing, which makes each joint track feel more special — and more fun — than the last.

Production may be the album’s best trait, as menacing keys and luscious switch-ups scatter throughout — sounding of the moment while remaining true to their pockets. Melding notes of neo-cloud rap, anthemic southern trap and underwater OVO ballads with finesse, the pair utilize heavy 808s, atmospheric pads and Lil Yachty-assisted ad-libs, among other things, to reassure their power and presence as rap’s current regime.

It has one major pitfall, though. Her Loss feels like a “Drake feat. 21 Savage” project rather than a full and equal effort, holding a fair share of awkward melodies and unprovoked subliminals at Ye, Ice Spice and Meg Thee Stallion. Hearing more Drake than 21 was jarring, but wasn’t entirely uncanny. Drawing back on What A Time To Be Alive with Future, that project is as comparably uneven as Her Loss. The back-and-forth rhymes on “Rich Flex” make their way onto “On BS” and “Broke Boys,” but the duo share the mic less than expected — causing Savage to get caught in the crossfire. Yet he stands with Drake on all choice bars. “Whatever he stands on, I’m standing on too,” he revealed in a conversation with Kai Cenat.

Sprinkled in for one-third of the record, 21 makes the most of his minimal opportunities alongside the Billboard-topping behemoth. Tracks like “3AM in Glenwood” and “More M’s” really sees Savage take over — besting Drake’s presence with reflective bars about not wanting to “make amends / I’m chasin M’s” and witty entendres about not needing to show an ID at the club because he’s “21.” This, among more head-bobbing lines, is where Savage’s star shines brightest. He surprises with a So Far Gone-inspired sung hook on “Hours Of Silence,” which builds off more melodic performances like “FaceTime” off Issa Album (2017). It moves the needle for 21, but fails to see Drake evolve from the lover-boy lore that’s defined him.

A bachelor is as suave as Drake is salty — and for the wrong reasons in this case. Still hung up on women that have done him wrong, Drake’s ear for hits outweighs any lyrical depth outside toxicity — singing sweet nothings that sound more catchy than classic. His wordplay and charisma are definitely present, though, tearing off bars on “Spin Bout U” like, “Damn, just turned on the news / And seen that men who never got p*ssy in school / Are makin’ laws about what women can do.” But, his lyrics do not stay as consistently as profound. Much like on Honestly, Nevermind, legacy doesn’t seem to be a priority for Drake here. Yet it doesn’t cause Her Loss to be an absolute afterthought in his discography. It’s a well-deserved victory lap for both parties involved — commemorating their bond, personally and creatively, with hard-hitting bangers that reflect it.

While Her Loss reasserts the duo’s stature as rap titans — together and apart — it’s clear that their new record is more about fast fun than a calculated narrative. Regardless, it’s a defiant showing of sonic strength between the two. The Savage-J. Cole and Drake-Future tandems may be iconic in their own rights, but 21 and Drake’s feels more meant-to-be — bouncing off each other seamlessly to curate a record filled with fireworks. However, they could’ve been a bit louder and more colorful if more time was put into it.

Check out “Her Loss” below!

‘Her Loss’ news…

Her Loss debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 this week, selling 411,000 first-week units. It is the biggest hip-hop album debut of 2022.

Amid its release on Nov. 4, the 6 God took time to eulogize the fallen Takeoff on Sound 42 Radio — who was tragically killed in Houston on. Nov. 1. Drake also postponed his forthcoming show at the Apollo Theatre in New York City (Nov. 11) to Dec. 7-8 out of respect for Takeoff’s funeral processions this weekend.

“Before I get into the pleasantries, I’d just like to send our deepest condolences from the family to the entire QC, to our brother Quavo, to our brother Offset, to the friends and loved ones of the legendary, unprecedented Takeoff — a guy that I knew for a long, long time,” he opened. “My friends in the music industry are not friends, they’re family. So, our deepest condolences — tragic loss for all of us and, you know, a dark cloud over this business that we love so much.”

Although their fake rollout worked wonders for the album’s promotion, it seems to have worked against 21 and Drizzy in the end. Vogue is now suing the rappers for $4 Million in infringement damages and have ordered for these promo materials to be taken down immediately. According to Billboard, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff ruled that Drizzy and 21 have “misled consumers” and “deceived the public” with their faux Vogue cover.

“Issuance of the requested temporary restraining order is in the public interest to protect the public against confusion, deception and mistake,” Rakoff declared, as the duo can no longer utilize the magazine cover to promote Her Loss.

Originally slated for an Oct. 28 drop, the OVO head honcho postponed the album to Nov. 4 due to close collaborator 40 contracting COVID. “Our brother @OVO40 got the COVID in the middle of mixing and mastering the crack,” he wrote. “He’s resting up and November 4th is Her Loss day. We’ll see you soon.”

Initially surprising fans with news of Her Loss in the “Jimmy Cooks” visual, the longtime pair fended off joint album rumors to keep things under wraps. The track was a hard-hitting outlier on the 6 God’s summer dance record, Honestly, Nevermind, which primarily highlighted his foray into House music.

HN’s reception tempered expectations for the future of Drake’s sound — and his legacy to some degree. But what is music without taking risks? “Everyone else is just catching up,” he wrote on Instagram, as “Jimmy Cooks” was an appetizer for the duo’s rap-heavy performance on Her Loss.

As for 21, he celebrated his 30th birthday (Oct. 22) on the day Her Loss was unveiled — following a riveting performance on Season 4 of REVOLT TV’s The Crew League. Savage also seems to have more music in sight, presumably appearing on a plethora of tracks for Metro Boomin’s forthcoming record Hereos & Villains (Dec. 2).

Check out “Jimmy Cooks” below!

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