By Gus Nations IV, Staff Writer
By now, I look forward to the memes that accompany a new Drake release more than the album itself.
Let’s take a very brief retrospective look down the timeline and reminisce on some of the internet’s best work:
2021’s Certified Lover Boy (CLB): There’s something about filling a certain male contraceptive with hot sauce (I’m not going to go into more detail, but you know what I mean). He also literally had a heart-shaped haircut.
2022’s Honestly, Nevermind: In the interim between CLB and Nevermind, Drake somehow became a Looney Tunes character.
Most recently, Drake’s joint project with 21 Savage, Her Loss, sees Drake and 21 as… lovers?
When I began preparing to write this review, I wondered if fans were creating these hilarious, albeit increasingly more far-fetched, trends themselves anymore, or if they are some elaborate marketing scheme by Drake and his team to garner buzz before the album’s release. I chuckled at the idea that someone as famous and apparently macho as Drake might subject himself to becoming fodder for meme pages. But, as I listened to Her Loss, I started to think that my theory might not be that far off after all.
Her Loss is not a very good album. It’s not even a decent album. It’s a collection of unfocused songs that rely too heavily on a combination of 21 Savage’s inarticulate flow, played-out lyrics, repetitive beats and — you guessed it — Drake’s preternatural ability to generate memes.
The first song, “Rich Flex,” lays out the blueprint for what to expect throughout the remainder of the project. Besides the three beat switches, we’re presented with the two rappers’ normal yawn-inducing world of opulence, busty women and trigger-pulling. All this comes after the first few lines, which might be the funniest bit of lyrical dialogue from two male rappers in a long time — maybe ever: “21, can you do somethin’ for me / Can you hit a lil’ rich flex for me… 21, do yo thang, 21.” Like, c’mon. The jokes write themselves.
Normally, it’d be a pretty outrageous take to say that expensive clothes, cars and meals make for boring subject matter, but how many dinners can you talk about before an album starts to feel like a Yelp page?
Nearly all of the punches that land throughout the hour-and-something record are either someone else’s doing, an accident or because Drake and his 14 writers (see: “Circo Loco”) decided to take a jab at another member of the industry. Even on the musical end, it seems like every beat is a limp flip of what could have been a great sample.
So far, the most talked about moment during the album — besides Drake and 21’s dynamic — seems to come during “Circo Loco,” in which Drake alludes that the 2020 incident between Tory Lanez and Megan Thee Stallion was a lie. Even in the context of the rest of the song, the bar, “This b*tch lie ‘bout gettin’ shots but she still a stallion,” feels like it was written in because Drake knew people would comment on it.
The album’s only mild standout, “P*ssy & Millions,” is carried along generously by fellow rapper Travis Scott. Though, if someone were to listen to the track without knowing who it was by, they’d probably think it was Scott featuring Drake and not the other way around. Even before Scott enters, Drake’s singing takes on the distorted auto-tune quality that Scott has made his brand. But when Drake does it, it just sounds bad.What do two 30-somethings who’ve “made it” have left to rap about? At their best, veteran rappers can give rich perspectives, having come full circle in the industry. But Drake and 21 Savage are content with squeaking out a new album full of cheap shots, cringey flexes and memes. Drake really is the type of dude to make an album called Her Loss.