REVIEW: Jack Harlow – “Loose”

Jack Harlow
Atlantic/Generation Now

I’m going to be blunt: Jack Harlow as an artist has never really resonated with me. It’s been easy to recognize his talent as an emcee and I’ve taken note of his tireless hard work, but his subject matter and topical tones were never relatable to me as an average guy in my mid thirties. Having said that, it’s been a pleasure watching him steadily gain popularity both locally, and more recently across the national landscape. When I caught wind that Harlow signed with Atlantic, I was pretty stoked. But admittedly I was more excited for him than I was to actually hear what would be his first major label offering. 

That record, titled Loose has now hit the streets, and since its release a few days ago, I haven’t been able to stop listening to it. Without a doubt, this is Jack Harlow’s most complete, well constructed album by a landslide. The production is impeccable, and the slick beats are A-fucking-plus, but what does it for me is Harlow himself. He’s still talking about partying and girls, but something about his latest approach seems a bit more refined or distinguished.

I can’t put my finger on it, but these rhymes and they way they’re delivered have a much more accessible vibe that I can easily get down with. I’m reminded of Big Sean at times, and at others I’m thinking of early Drake. But let it be known that Harlow is developing a true style of his own, a signature take on the genre that he masterfully operates 

Standouts include the opening track (and first single) “Sundown”, a short and sweet, low key banger, and “Slide For Me”, a slick groover that cleverly references a crush that Harlow developed for a flight attendant. I also really like “Drip Drop”, an uptempo ass shaker that also features CyHi The Prynce, an artist I was previously unaware of.

Me proclaiming that this is a great record shouldn’t be a surprise — Harlow has been putting out really good hip hop for a while now. What should be a surprise is that someone like me, a boring turd that doesn’t really understand what kids like and/or do anymore can manage to recognize it’s brilliance, and have a great time in doing so. Loose is Jack Harlow’s defining output for me as a hip hop fan, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if this is the album that pushes him into mega-popularity and major commercial success.