Jack Harlow of Louisville, Kentucky may seem an unlikely candidate for hip hop superstardom, but chances are you haven’t yet been introduced.
Appearing deceptively unassuming with a mop of hair falling into the frames of his glasses, the twenty-one year old’s good southern boy image is quickly countered by his sly, cutting verses and old school style. Often mistaken for a mumble rapper, Harlow’s southern lilt can be heard teasing out his verses in a honey drip drawl over a trap beat. The delivery is nonetheless clearly stated and often punctuated by jazz inspired saxophone riffs, betraying a maturity beyond his years. Harlow’s always been a step ahead- less than a month after graduating high school he released his first mixtape,18, which was the first album to be released on his own label, Private Garden. In August of 2018 he signed onto Atlantic Record’s imprint Generation Now and released his major label debut mixtape, Loose. Not one to take himself too seriously, the music video for Sylvia- the second hit off Loose- has Harlow alternating between grinding with a jumping crowd on stage and bopping by his lonesome at tail gate party, gliding out newly coined phrases like they weren’t created yesterday.
She a bad little 'ting, look just like a Sylvia (Yeah)
And I think its really us (Yeah)
Harlow’s free-flow lyrical style covers everything from his reflections on the correlation between ambition and depression, to a running commentary on sex and relationships. Constantly switching up his narrative, he’s just as likely to drop a verse about his insecurities with women as a line extolling the virtues of a hot beat. This mischievous banter serves up nostalgic hip hop vibes, which comes as no surprise if you consider he praises his mom’s taste in 90’s hip hop for influencing his early exposure to the game. Always one to be candid, Harlow is the first to admit his early shot to fame is somewhat befuddling, but it’s exactly that humble forthrightness which makes him so likeable.
Harlow is currently on tour promoting Loose on a list of concert dates at music festivals across North America this summer, so you’ll have plenty of chances to say you knew Jack Harlow way back when.