What do you really know about Jack Harlow? If you’re the type who keeps up with emerging voices in hip-hop, you might know that since 2018 the Louisville-hailing MC has been the best-kept secret of DJ Drama and Don Cannon’s Generation Now imprint. If you listen to Apple Music’s Rap Life playlist, then you for sure know him as the author of “Whats Poppin,” the 2020 runway smash that sparked a remix featuring Lil Wayne, DaBaby, and Tory Lanez. If you’re an NBA fan, maybe you’ve heard “Tyler Herro,” his tribute to the Miami Heat rising star. But even if you did know all that, one listen to Harlow’s debut Thats What They All Say and you’ll quickly understand that you didn’t know much at all.
The 22-year-old bares his soul across Thats What They All Say (which of course includes “Whats Poppin” and “Tyler Herro”) as it relates to where exactly he is on his fame journey. Conquering rap playlists, if only for a single song, can be a life-changing experience, and Harlow treats the booth like his diary. Thats What They All Say features Harlow talking about the pressures of being the single most prominent MC out of Louisville (“Face of My City”), the skittish nature of most of his recent romantic interactions (“21C / Delta,” “Funny Seeing You Here”), how his success has changed the people around him (“Keep It Light”), and also how hard he’s been trying to not let it change him (“Baxter Avenue”). We hear Harlow process it all with curiosity and humility and are left with the impression that he’s got a great head on his shoulders. It’s something that will serve him well on the road he’s traveling.