Meet Jack Harlow, the 19 year-old Louisville native who’s killing the rap game.
Based solely on looks, you would think that Jack belongs in an office somewhere doing something along the lines of accounting, working on computers, or literally anything other than rapping. There’s a reason why we were taught not to judge a person based on appearances. Jack Harlow, now backed by DJ Drama and working with KY Engineerin stationed in Atlanta, almost had his start in 2012 at just 14. A young Jack nearly signed with Def Jam, but the deal ultimately fell through.
Three years later, Jack got back to it and released The Handsome Harlow EP, where he gives us a glimpse of his clever lyricism, ever so slightly eclipsed by his age. The following year he released the album 18 on which we get to hear his lyricism and his flow evolve. A slight contrast from the subject of school and typical teenage life touched on in The Handsome Harlow EP, 18 seems to focus more on girls and relationships. In 2017 came the single “Hitchcock”. Compare “Hitchcock” to The Handsome Harlow EP and the evolution is so evident, from the beats to the lyricism.
“I’m just a guest inside the house / Of a culture that ain’t mine / And I’m just blessed to be around / These kids be talking bout what’s trash / Man I swear that y’all got some nerve / How you gon be most opinionated from the suburbs” (Hitchcock)
In November after releasing a few more singles, Jack Harlow released his album titled Gazebo, which is said to be heavily influenced by Louisville and the areas he grew up around. What makes Gazebo different from his previous albums/EP’s are the deeper, mellow sounds. Where the other albums provided a more fun and upbeat feeling, this one is something you can really vibe to. You can chill to this.
Jack collaborated with members of the Private Garden Collective on the album- a group of young rappers and producers also out of Louisville, all of whom can be seen in the background of his music videos.
“Like wassup with my dopamine, searching for a doper me / I don’t want that Adderall, bitch, I ain’t got no broken wings / Grew up with the poetry, at 12 I wrote a hot verse / Relying on a pill to do it only means I got worse” (Eastern Parkway, Gazebo)
Back in December, Jack made his first appearance on Sway’s Universe and was put to the test on 5 Fingers. Guess what? He passed. He has proven that he has what it takes, and it’s only a matter of time before the world catches on. Jack is getting the chance to showcase his talents in front of bigger audiences this year, by making appearances on a few Portugal. The Man tour dates in May. There’s no doubt that this kid has something special, so watch him kill 5 Fingers in the video below. You can follow Jack on his platforms linked below as well.
Atlanta-based music editor and interviewer who loves the idea of introducing people to great artists they may not have heard of yet.