Explore Issue 01 of LOOP Magazine

Featuring Sam Tompkins and Victor Ray as our cover stars, as well as internal spreads from Girli, Jords, Mysie, Finn Askew, Kara Marni and Master Peace

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Jack Harlow: A Deep Dive

Jack is the son of Maggie and Brian Harlow who run their own business together and raised him on a horse farm. He is of French and Irish descent, with many in search results wondering if he was White or Mixed Race. In a piece for Louisville Magazine, it was reported that his mother Maggie played Eminem, and the Black Eyed Peas for him when he was a toddler. Being a fan of hip-hop Harlow grew to love OutKast, A Tribe Called Quest, and Gwen Stefani. On the other hand, his father favored Willie Nelson, Johnny Paycheck and Johnny Cash.

Born out of Kentucky, the rapper is now 23 years old but at such a ripe age, he’s managed to reach a certain level of success being associated with high profile acts such as Bryson Tiller, DJ Drama, Don Cannon. In more recent years he’s been tied to Lil Wayne, Big Sean, DaBaby, and Tory Lanez.

In a tweet, 2KBaby claimed Harlow was better than legendary rapper Eminem. Many commented with things like “he just started rapping,” and another writing I personally think it’s too early to say that considering em has been in the game longer than jack has been alive. We can bring this back up in 10 years.” Most other comments read “Who is 2KBaby?”

Since, Harlow has scored a feature on Eminem’s “Killer” remix alongside Cordae.

In an interview with Billboard at the 2011 VMAs about their collaboration, Harlow went on to say this:

We didn’t get to meet but we had a phone call that meant the world to me. He gave me a lot of props that any artist would love. Sometimes the best gem is somebody you admire letting you know who you think you are. He let me know ‘You’re that. You’re dope.’”

Harlow was also featured on Lil Nas X‘s 2021 hit song “Industry Baby,” further showcasing the talent he intends to show fans.

Having racked up over 45 Million monthly listeners on Spotify, Harlow is off to a promising start. He’s been rapping since age 12, having released his first EP before even having graduated high school, and his first mixtape Extra Credit when he was in middle school. As seen here, video footage of the rapper was discovered by fans on YouTube with content creators like Dee Shanell picking it up. Rappers Drake and Kendrick Lamar even caught wind of the videos after Harlow sent out a Tweet stating, “some of the realest shit I ever wrote,” back in March 2021. Lamar had been on a social media hiatus but returned to like Harlow’s Tweet, while Drake commented, “hardddddd.” It’s safe to say that Harlow’s been accepted by fellow rappers in the game with support pouring out from all sides. Harlow then jokingly made a post on his Instagram Story with the caption, “so this is what it takes for the great ones to recognize my work?”

Around the same time this year, Harlow performed for NPR: Tiny Desk (home) concert. He opened the show with “Rendezvous” off of his debut studio album, That’s What They All Say, followed by fan-favorites “21C Delta” and “Funny Seeing You Here.” Early fans of his work were excited for “Once May Comes” off of his earlier mixtape Sweet Action.

After playing festivals and building an audience Harlow has one of the biggest songs in the country. His single “What’s Poppin” charted, making the Billboard Hot 100 list. On the creation of the song, Harlow said he made it with JetsonMade, a producer from North Carolina who was in part responsible for DaBaby‘s rise to fame. Stereogum.com said this about the rapper:

Harlow will be a star whether or not he ever becomes a good rapper. Like DaBaby, Harlow has a fast, coherent, bouncy fast-rap style, a technical precision that stands out in a mumble-trap era. Like DaBaby, Harlow promises a good time. But there are crucial differences. DaBaby is both a tireless showman and, from all appearances, an unstable and possibly dangerous person. DaBaby is also Black. Harlow is none of those things. Harlow is a nice and unthreatening White kid. The pop charts have historically been kind to kids like Harlow.”

Nominated in various categories at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards and at the Grammys for “Whats Poppin’” it’s clear fans are looking for exactly what Harlow is dishing out. Even more, Harlow is openly supportive of movements like that of Black Lives Matter, attending a protest for the killing of Breonna Taylor, which occurred in his hometown.

Harlow revealed to VMAN his EP Sweet Action was “inspired by different experiences with women in his life.” Aiming for the storytelling angle, he intentionally displays intricate details for fans embedded in each song.

“I like the songs to be like short films. I feel like my writing is intentionally kind of cinematic. I want to paint a picture and give somebody a chance to say, ‘I see what he’s dealing with. I like movies more than music. Movies are like my passion. I like Scorsese, Tarantino, Hitchcock type stuff, [with a] great plotline and good character development.”

Words by Megan Vineberg

Posted On 4 October, 2022