Drake preforming in 2016

Drake performs in the summer of 2016. (Creative Commons)

If you’re a fan of either rap mogul Drake or trap prodigy 21 Savage, you’ve probably noticed their newfound fondness for one another. Coming together on major hits as of late, including last summer’s “Jimmy Cooks” and 2021’s “Knife Talk,” it was easy to see that the two possess a midas touch when working together. Realizing their unbound potential as a team and their keen ability to match each other’s differing styles, the duo blessed their fans with a full-length collaborative project to highlight their wins and continue to revel in their joint success.

Arguably Drake’s best rap partner in crime since Future on their 2015 collaborative mixtape “What a Time to be Alive,” 21 Savage is as polished as ever. Both rappers seem to bring a new energy out of each other that they couldn’t harness alone. Their new collaborative effort, “Her Loss,” showcases an unbothered attitude across aggressive and catchy beats, and their chemistry feels like a match made in heaven. It doesn’t take long to realize these two have mastered the art of making hits.

“Rich Flex” is as strong and hard-hitting as an intro track can get. The drums hit you right in the chest and the booming bass controls the dark, menacing aggression that makes the intro so memorable. Drake’s opening hook is dangerously catchy from the start, causing a wave of memes online and bound to ring through your head for days. To keep you on your toes, the track shifts gears into the album’s first banging beat switch, courtesy of Drake’s go-to trap producer Tay Keith. 21 Savage and Drake set the tone with full force straight out of the gate.

The album’s second track feels like a change of pace with a smooth, slow singing intro from Drake that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Ye record. But soon enough you’re quickly mistaken — it is indeed another banger for the ages. “Major Distribution” features the duo’s best, most infectious flow and delivery on the whole project, and its minimal yet highly effective production will light the room on fire. My face hurts from scrunching it for too long after every listen.

Shifting into a more relaxed trap vibe, “Privileged Rappers” changes the tempo of the album with a catchy synth melody and a lightweight bounce to bob your head to. Drake and Savage continue to weave through different flows and find new pockets in the beat, and it’s easy to tell that they’re having a good time.

“Spin Bout U” perfectly interpolates the classic 90s R&B sound into a bonafide trap banger, sampling Oobie’s “Give Me Your Lovin.” The track digs into even more intricate rapping flows but also features more melodic moments at the hook. The scattery drums and snappy percussion hits elevate the Oobie sample and perfectly blend together to create a unique album highlight.

The tracklist experiences its first major shift with the nocturnal “Hours In Silence.” Riding on wavy synth pads and Drake’s moody R&B touch, the track is the ultimate night drive soundtrack with a seamless delivery and glossy vocals, even from 21 Savage who channels his inner Drake with his own singing verse — and he pulls it off fairly well. After the first two minutes, Drake then takes the reins once again on a long, seemingly endless tangent for the remaining four and a half minutes. This outro-of-sorts still gives me mixed reactions, at times feeling completely directionless and drawn out, but other times fulfilling a more stripped-back vibe that an album like this might need every so often. Regardless, it’s the perfect excuse to vibe out with your sunglasses on at midnight.

While “Circo Loco” remains a fan-favorite for its interpolation of Daft Punk’s “One More Time,” I find it hard to listen to. As a hardcore Daft Punk enthusiast, I love their 2000 hit single too much to want to hear it redone or manipulated in any other way. Drake and Savage’s remix also lacks the sample creativity it would take to justify the use of such a classic dance song — it feels too superficial and derivative. Chopping the original song or flipping it in a more innovative way might have warranted the use of this well-known song, but otherwise I find it too distracting to enjoy the song in the context of the rest of the album.

“Pussy & Millions” comes back around with a glorious, feel-good energy and a plush melody. Each verse shines with a celebratory feel, including one of Travis Scott’s best features as of late and one of the project’s catchiest bars: “They say more money more problems / Bring on the problems.”

Drake owns the spotlight on four of his own individual tracks on the album, including the boom-bap flavor of “Middle of the Ocean,” reminiscent of his bar-heavy deep cuts that are found within many of his past projects. This track features one of the more impressive productions on the album, especially by the latter side of the beat switch which wouldn’t sound too far off on a classic Gang Starr album. Sampling The Diplomats’ “Real N–––as” and The O’Jays’ “Cry Together,” the song delivers a beautiful sample with bursting drums  giving Drake the perfect platform to spit his best bars.

But of course, no 21 Savage project could ever exist without the help of his right-hand man on the boards — Metro Boomin. “More M’s” offers production from the trap legend himself, who emphasizes his signature production style with dark, villainous melodies and vigorous drum beats — a familiar feel to Savage and Boomin’s “Savage Mode” projects that catapulted their careers. Drake also finds his form and delivers equally aggressive bars that fit well into the formula the Savage and Boomin have crafted.

“3AM on Glenwood” is 21 Savage’s moment to own the spotlight, spitting over a R&B-influenced beat with plenty of breathing room to show off what feels like his best Drake impression. A song like this would not appear in any 21 Savage catalog without Drake’s influence across the same project, which allows Savage to expand his versatility beyond his consistent trap sensibilities.

Like many outros on past Drake projects, “I Guess It’s Fuck Me” serves as a slow, reflective closer that brings the album to a strong finish. Drake croons over a soothing piano melody that elicits a melancholy, introspective emotion, one very prominent on his classic “Take Care” album, giving this track a nostalgic feeling from a previous Drake era. The closer perfectly rounds off the project’s unexpected versatility and ties the project together in a unique and wholesome way.

Across the project, it’s clear that Drake and 21 Savage have found their perfect match, and their chemistry is undeniable. “Her Loss” shines through crisp production, clean beat switches and solid vocal performances from both rappers. The cohesive yet versatile production choices elevate their sound and highlight each of their respective styles. Drake and Savage lift each other up and bring out the best in one another, and to put it simply, it goes hard as hell. The project offers a whole new catalog of party bangers to light up the function, and it’s clear they won’t be fading away anytime soon. 

Evan Huntington is an Arts & Culture Reporter for the Daily Emerald with a focus in fashion. His interests include music, fashion & streetwear, sports, and general pop culture.