Jackman Thomas “Jack” Harlow, born on March 13, 1998, is an American rapper and songwriter. He has made a significant impact on the music scene, signing with Generation Now and Atlantic Records. Additionally, he is the co-founder of his own musical collective called Private Garden. Harlow’s rise to fame can be attributed to his hit single “What’s Poppin,” which peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Early Life and Musical Beginnings:
Harlow hails from Louisville, where he was born and raised. He discovered his passion for rap at the young age of 12. Together with a friend, they utilized a Guitar Hero microphone and a laptop to record rhymes and songs. This led to the creation of their CD titled “Rippin’ and Rappin’,” which they sold at Highland Middle School. During his seventh-grade year, Harlow obtained a professional microphone and released his first mixtape, “Extra Credit,” under the moniker “Mr. Harlow.”
High School Years and Initial Releases:
Attending Atherton High School, Harlow graduated in 2016. His YouTube videos caught the attention of major labels during his freshman year, although he decided not to pursue any deals at the time. In November 2014, during his junior year, he released another mixtape titled “Finally Handsome.” The following year, Harlow released his first commercial album, an EP called “The Handsome Harlow,” through sonaBLAST! record label. Throughout high school, he gained popularity by performing sold-out shows at renowned Louisville venues like the Mercury Ballroom, Headliners, and the Haymarket Whiskey Bar.
Rise to Prominence and Label Signing:
In June 2016, less than a month after graduating high school, Harlow released his mixtape “18,” which marked the debut album for his label and music collective, Private Garden. The Homies, a group of Louisville rappers and producers including Ace Pro, 2forwOyNE, Shloob, Quiiso, and Ronnie Lucciano, were frequent collaborators. Harlow’s career gained momentum as he performed at esteemed events such as South by Southwest, Bonnaroo, and the Forecastle Festival. He also split his time between Louisville and Atlanta, working with engineer/mixer KY Engineering. In March 2017, he released the song “Hitchcock,” produced by 2forwOyNE and J-Reid.
Major Label Debut and Touring:
In August 2018, Harlow signed with Atlantic Records’ Generation Now imprint, helmed by DJ Drama and Don Cannon. Simultaneously, he released the music video for his single “SUNDOWN.” On August 17, he unveiled his major label debut mixtape, “Loose,” featuring guest verses from CyHi the Prynce, K Camp, 2forwOyNE, and Taylor. Harlow embarked on a North American tour to support the album, with the Homies as his opening act. He also had the opportunity to open for indie rock band Portugal. The Man on select tour dates.
Breakthrough Success and Recent Releases:
In January 2020, Harlow achieved a breakthrough with his single “WHATS POPPIN,” accompanied by a music video directed by Cole Bennett. The video has accumulated over 155 million views as of May 2022. The following year, he collaborated with Lil Nas X on the chart-topping hit “Industry Baby.” Harlow released his second album, “Come Home the Kids Miss You,” in 2022, featuring the number-one single “First Class.”
Acting and Other Endeavors:
Harlow expanded his creative horizons by making his acting debut in the reboot of the 1992 film “White Men Can’t Jump,” directed by Calmatic. This marked his first foray into the world of acting. Harlow’s talents were further showcased when he served as the guest picker and performer for Ohio State’s 2022 season opener on College GameDay. He also had a notable appearance on Saturday Night Live as both the host and musical guest for the Halloween episode in October 2022. Additionally, Harlow joined the cast of the Apple TV+ film “The Instigators,” alongside acclaimed actors Matt Damon and Casey Affleck, solidifying his presence in the acting world.
Musical Influences and Cinematic Approach:
Harlow draws inspiration from a diverse range of artists across various genres. Eminem, Drake, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Outkast, Paul Wall, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Hall & Oates, Fergie, and Jesse McCartney are among his influences. His musical style also reflects his appreciation for cinema, as he aims for his songs to be akin to “short films.” Harlow holds esteemed filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, and Alfred Hitchcock in high regard.
With his second studio album, “Jackman.,” released on April 28, 2023, under Generation Now and Atlantic Records, Harlow continues to make his mark in the music industry. Fans speculated that the album would showcase a return to his earlier musical roots and emphasize his lyrical prowess. Harlow’s versatile career and dedication to his craft make him a compelling figure in both the music and acting realms, with his talent and creativity propelling him to new heights.
Harlow’s journey in the music industry has been marked by consistent growth and artistic exploration. From his early beginnings recording with a friend in his hometown of Louisville to signing with major labels and achieving chart-topping success, he has shown a relentless drive to push his boundaries and connect with audiences.
As Harlow continues to evolve as an artist, his dedication to storytelling and cinematic approach remains a cornerstone of his work. With influences ranging from rap icons like Eminem and Kanye West to the storytelling prowess of filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino, Harlow aims to create a narrative experience within his songs. By infusing his music with vivid imagery and relatable storytelling, he captivates listeners and transports them into his world.
Harlow’s acting endeavors further exemplify his multidimensional talents. Making his acting debut in the reboot of “White Men Can’t Dump,” he showcased his ability to translate his charisma and stage presence to the screen. His subsequent appearances on College GameDay and Saturday Night Live demonstrated his natural ability to engage and entertain audiences in various mediums.
With his second studio album, “Jackman.,” released in April 2023, Harlow continues to leave his mark on the music landscape. Fans eagerly anticipated this project, hoping for a return to his earlier sound and lyrical prowess. As Harlow’s career unfolds, it’s evident that he is an artist who constantly seeks growth, blending his influences and personal experiences to create a unique and authentic musical journey.
With his unwavering commitment to his craft and a diverse range of talents, Jack Harlow has firmly established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the music industry. Whether he’s captivating listeners with his infectious beats and clever wordplay or captivating audiences with his on-screen presence, Harlow continues to defy expectations and carve his own path to success. As fans eagerly anticipate his future projects, it’s clear that Jack Harlow’s impact on the music and entertainment world will only continue to grow.
In addition to his musical and acting endeavors, Harlow has also embraced philanthropy and social activism. He has used his platform to raise awareness about social issues and support charitable causes. Harlow has participated in benefit concerts, fundraisers, and community initiatives, lending his voice and influence to make a positive impact on society.
With his infectious energy, dynamic performances, and lyrical prowess, Jack Harlow has solidified his place in the music industry. Whether he’s dominating the charts, captivating audiences on the big screen, or using his platform for social change, Harlow’s impact is undeniable. The future holds endless possibilities for this talented artist, and the world eagerly awaits what he has in store next.