Jack Harlow’s ‘Jackman’… Album of the Year?

“Jack Harlow’s naysayers had their chance, but rest assured that the Louisville-bred rapper now controls the conversation.” 

This is the well written and accurate description you are presented with on Apple Music, describing Harlow’s new album, Jackman

On April 28, with the release of this album, Harlow had nothing left to prove. With six Grammy nominations, and his last album, Come Home the Kids Miss You, selling over 100,000 first-week units, he already established himself as one of the best artists of the decade. 

“Everybody knows Jack but they don’t know Jackman” he raps on “Churchill Downs,” a song off of his previous album Come Home The Kids Miss You… 

Without needing to stunt or flaunt, Harlow had the freedom to express more emotions in his lyrics and show who he really is. When listeners first dive into Jackman, they are presented with no features, and expensive samples backed by luxurious production, which is definitely a stylistic change compared to his past albums and mixtapes, sounding less like the Harlow that was straight out of highschool, adjusting to his newfound fame. 

During the first three tracks on the album, Harlow provides a narrative on his come up, ambitions and struggles. With “Is That Ight?” He describes how he wants to live his life, seemingly wishing to take a break from the private life and excessive luxury, while still embracing some of his old vices and toxicity, explaining how he still wants some luxury and elegance – like “ten girlfriends and no wife.”

The next track, “Gang Gang Gang,” gets into the more serious and gritty topics on the album, how people around him change, and the problems he sees in the world. Harlow narrates a reunion between childhood friends, and how they changed. Opening the song Harlow describes how he was home for the holidays, and the confusion felt hearing stories about his childhood friend, Marcus. 

“Did you hear about Marcus… A bunch of girls say he raped them in the back of some Target,” Harlow’s friend explains.  “Our Marcus?… The same Marcus we collected Pokémon cards with” Harlow continues, as his friend responds “Yes, that Marcus, he’s got seven rape charges.” 

The chorus “Ride for my dogs, lie for my dogs, die for my dogs” implies the loyalty he feels toward his friends, and the conflict he feels hearing about their wrongdoings. The song goes on to talk about how his friend Kevin got arrested for molesting a 10-year-old, closing the song with “brothers until somethin’ is uncovered… and years of camaraderie suddenly disappear.”

Track “Denver” touches on the subject of mental health. Harlow opens it explaining feeling soulless, about how it was fun when he was less popular, while also acknowledging this sounds cliche, and how blessed he truly is.

 “I wrote that first verse in Denver, back in September. It’s January now and I’m feelin’ like myself again,” Harlow raps in during the second verse. He has taken time for himself, and is now in a better place. While Harlow still has worries, realization hits on what should really be important to him, closing out the song with “I’m lookin’ out heaven’s window, I know that there’s hell around me.” 

The next few songs, Harlow is back with his lighthearted, arrogant and charming music, talking about the women in his life and explaining how people counted him out for the wrong reasons. 

“Why am I so flawed?… When did I become this type of a guy?… What if things don’t turn out the way I planned them?” raps Harlow on “Questions,” the album’s final track. This self doubt is a fitting way to end the album, giving us a glimpse into who ‘Jackman’ really is. 
This album was a surprise to fans, as the only promotion for the album was an Instagram post by Harlow less than two days before the release—with no features. Because of this it’s no surprise that statistically, Jackman, selling 36,000 copies in the first week, is doing worse than his last album, Come Home The Kids Miss You, which sold 113,000 copies. Musically, it overall is a well put together album that proves Harlow can still thrive without help from bigger artists, no promotion and can adapt to any style.


  • Liam Schmitt

    Liam Schmitt is a super awesome guy. He is a Senior at Bend’s oldest high school, and a big time podcaster. When he is not writing new stories of scrips, he loves spending money on things he doesn’t need and listening to a copious amount of music.

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