Drake is, as ever, always a fan of the sharp left, executing a move that seems unprecedented but actually makes perfect sense upon further thought. This past summer he dropped Honestly, Nevermind, a surprise dance album that felt random, until you recall that most of his projects have been peppered with house and dance influences. Four months after that release, the wily Canadian has used the video for Nevermind’s sole rap track, “Jimmy Cooks,” to announce a collab album with its featured guest, 21 Savage. And it drops in six days.
It’s a savvy swerve — even on the night of Honestly, Nevermind’s release Drake teased he was already back in the lab working on rap songs, alluding to a new Scary Hours pack at the time. That has yet to materialize, but a collab album is a more exciting prospect, especially considering how scrutinized his solo projects are. He speaks often about feeling like he has to please the rap, pop, and R&B subsets of his audience, which leads to albums that are usually overlong and lacking cohesion despite a few high highs. A collab album takes the pressure off and allows Drake to just get in his bag and do what he does best.
And even though he currently has a Song of the Summer, No. 1 hit record with Future—who he already has one collab album with and has often spoke of a sequel—a tape with 21 is just as, if not more logical. The reaction to Drake’s last two albums may have been divisive, but as he showed when he popped out at Savage’s Spelhouse homecoming show last week, “Knife Talk” and “Jimmy Cooks” are unanimous crowd pleasers. In fact, from their first collaboration on 2017’s underrated “Sneakin” thru this year’s “Jimmy Cooks,” 21 Savage may edge into a top five position in the competitive list of Drake’s best collaborators. (We all know who Number One is.)
Savage is a great rapper, especially on guest features, with a macabre dry wit (“Shot his ass 20 times, damn that n-gga lucky”) and hard edge, a palette that Drake acquits himself nicely in when he dabbles (and one he couldn’t really indulge fully on his own). On the flip side, 21 has shown that he can fit in just as well on a more Drake-esque song with the pair’s “Mr Right Now.” Hopefully the project will be an even (read: 70-30, advantage Savage) mix of both styles. (And hopefully Metro Boomin is heavily involved.) If the beat in the announcement video is any indication, we’re in for a good one. Her Loss drops Friday, October 28