Hip-hop people can be a double-edged sword. While it’s obviously helpful to have an embodied sense of self that the audience can identify with, maintenance can sometimes be taxing. For some presenters, this character may reinforce the idea that they should not be messed with. In the case of Jack Harlow of Louisville, the core of his public persona comes down to one thing – magic.
Combined with a refreshing sympathy that has made him the heartthrob of ladies all over the world, his understated sense of humor and his apparent unwillingness to take any media appearances seriously means he’s garnered a lot of male hip-hop listener base. his side too.
Besides his respect and love for hip-hop culture and the fact that he’s been pursuing that dream literally since his teens, the end product is an artist backed by a brand that is easily accessible without reservation. Thus, tThe weeks leading up to the release of his sophomore studio project felt like an extended show of a man who would be king.
He shot into the stratosphere with his feature in Lil Nas X’s Industry Baby and a series of viral moments, frenzied excitement spread around him to the point that even Kanye was painting him the “Top 5 of the moment” and calling him favors for Donda 2. Then, in behind-the-scenes promotional clips leading up to the release of the record, Farrell talked about a collaboration between The two are called “History”.
With such a high degree of anticipation behind it, all the chops were ready for Jack to deliver not only one of the year’s standout projects, but also an album he’s officially confirmed as the heir to the rap field. While that, Come home the kids miss youwhile no way badHe’s a far cry from the record he had to hand.
Beginning with subtlety, the central theme of the entire album is summed up in the piano-introducing “Talk Of The Town,” in which Jack declares that he
“Far from Bardstown, now I’m on the charts
Used to have the same drive, you’re in the park now
Whip got an upgrade, tints are dim now
The same people who used to fade away, I’m in their hearts now.”
Grieving the duality between New Levels and New Demons, Jack’s simple flow was paired with the first of many throwback samples to popular tracks from the past in the form of Destiny’s Child with their first legendary song “No, No No.”
But where this opening maneuver would have worked perfectly with the calm before the storm, an expected power surge would never have been forthcoming.
Beginning with a stark cadence, Young Harley sees Jack slip into the gear he stays in for the vast majority of the album while continuing to discuss hardship and ecstasy with a similar degree of indifference. Even as he asks aboutWho here is as excited as us? I’m the one they trust, we’re the ones who make a big fuss,” or ask the industry and the subject of his emotions if he “could suffice,” somehow seem noncommittal.
Decorated with an unexpected but unwelcome spoken word section from Snoop Dogg, it’s one of many on record where his “Legends only” approach to features has proven to be more than a marketing ploy.
Harlow started with a distinctly witty premise, in which Harlow’s interaction with Farrell in “Movie Star” somehow anticipates that it’s undercooked and feels like Skateboard P’s attempt to accommodate his sound to the playlist-friendly scrambled tunes made by Jack and his executive producers. Roger Shahid Angel Lopez had mapped out the project. And while the percussion key—one of many recorded—adds a new and attractive dimension to the track, it may be too late for modern-day periods of interest.
When he’s not discussing the dangers of fame, Jack’s other focus on the recordings is undoubtedly his romantic life and it’s a path he clearly satisfies. So, when he checks out Snoop & Pharrell’s back catalog with an interpolation of the “Beautiful” on “Side piece,” things look a lot more organic.
Undoubtedly able to float atop the pair of grandiose notes that make up the track, “Side Piece,” while he can be heard by nature, refers to one of the main sticking points throughout the record in that his pen playing often feels good, or in Same less time, inconsistent, in a way a lively studio album like this shouldn’t.
As a result, finely tailored similes such as “I call my POP and let his son speak like Mafi “I’m forced to live with cases where he seems to rhyme unrelated staggered lines that have no bearing on the subject of the track like, ‘”Something made the youth hostile, perhaps the fuel from the fossils. “
paired With widespread ridicule The line “Sweet, sweet semen” from the chart-topping hit “First Class,” Jack’s many moments of lyrical inconsistency on the record led to frustration.
Among the highlights of the record, name-checking “Dua Lipa” attests to what Jack can do when he pairs his charisma with prompt enough production and well-crafted rods. Likewise, Lil’s Secret’s enveloping and emotional tone makes him meticulously explore the intricacies that stardom brings to a romantic spark in a way that ensures his swoon-worthy standing among the ladies remains the same.
By the same token, the decision to not only indulge in melodic flow but play both sides of the flirtatious dialogue on Like A Blade Of Grass proves there’s no reason why he shouldn’t make creative gambles.
Supervised by none other than N-Sync’s most reliable producer, Timbaland, “Parent Trap” with Justin Timberlake is another moment when this murky, nostalgic quality is harnessed throughout the record in a compelling way.
But for every song where Jack finds his beat and hints at the possibility of becoming the next hip-hop king of Billboard, like Lil Wayne’s “Poison”—in which Harlow even gets a chance to showcase his songs with a vocal range while Tunechi elicits a theme like his alone—there are others like Reggae “I Got A Shot” that simply feels pointless.
With so much speculation about whether he has the ability to act as Drizzy’s obvious successor, it should come as no surprise that “Churchill Downs” is a bit of a recording that feels like a real and tangible moment for hip-hop in general. Evoking the smoky atmosphere of Drake’s classic performances that feels as though you’ve been given a window into his thoughts in a moment of deep reflection, Harlow holds his own against 6ix God.
Closing the project with a “state fair” where Jack surveys his kingdom and pines several times before he has “cameras in his face”, it’s an exciting, tool-rich outcome for a project that often feels like it’s running on autopilot and perhaps was meant to be hashed into playlists, Instead of listening to it as a coherent statement.
When the record’s lead single “Nail Tech” appeared, and Jack declared “I’m not on top of this crap yet, but I’m that guy,” I felt almost prophetic. but for once Come home, the kids miss you Coming to an end, it’s hard not to leave him frustrated.
Although it’s enough to keep his loyal fans intrigued and it’s by no means a farce, Jack’s latest album ultimately suffers from the weight of expectations. Rather than touching the seemingly irreplaceable heights of his newfound idol and mentor Drake, what should have been Harlow’s latest attempt at a breakout album is surrounded by the constant feeling that he should have offered something. more.