Photo Credit: Julian Buchan
Jack Harlow’s Jackman., is an album that truly takes you on a journey. From the very first song, it’s clear that Jack is going for a stripped-down, more intimate approach. The luxurious production speaks for itself without unnecessary flash, leaving room for Harlow’s thoughtful and captivating storytelling to shine. The opening track, “Common Ground,” is a confrontational piece that sets the tone for what’s to come. Harlow takes aim at music critics and people who engage in cultural appropriation with an urgency that demands attention. But rather than dwell in negativity, he quickly pivots to exploring his come-up and the people who have molded him into the artist he is today. It’s clear that his friends and family have played a crucial role in his life, and he isn’t afraid to give them credit.
However, it’s halfway through the album that Jack Harlow really lets you in. “Gang Gang Gang” is an emotionally raw track that tells a story of a childhood friend being accused of rape. You can hear the confusion and betrayal in Harlow’s voice as he processes this unthinkable information. He doesn’t shy away from the difficult questions, such as what is his role in abuse apologia and how he can be a better ally to women who face sexual assault. It’s an uncomfortable but necessary conversation that Jack Harlow handles with grace.
“It Can’t Be” is another standout track from Jackman. The song is a testament to Harlow’s commitment to his craft and refusal to let naysayers dim his shine. Beyond just a catchy tune, the song also serves as a retort to those who question Harlow’s success due to his skin color; that he has true talent that could never be ignored. Throughout the album, Harlow’s ability to craft a good story shines through. His lyrics are detailed and poignant, with each word carefully chosen to convey a certain emotion or message. He flexes his skills on lines like, “No security, my brothers gon’ step, Will Ferrell.” But even when he’s not spitting fire, his lyricism remains impressive. On tracks like “Questions,” he paints a picture of his childhood, and his inability to seek things from his brother in fear of what he’ll say or think.
One of the great things about Jackman. is that despite its heavier subject matter, it doesn’t lose its sense of fun. “No Enhancers” is catchy and a lot lighter than the rest of the tracks, perfect for rapping along with girlfriends or for getting ready in the morning. The production throughout the album is top-notch, with expensive, soft beats that perfectly match the tone that Harlow is going for.
Overall, Jack Harlow’s Jackman. is a fantastic album that showcases not only Jack’s storytelling skills but his growth as an artist as well, he’s removed himself from the “White Drake” tag people were recently giving him due to his commercial success, yet boring music, and replaced it with a stripped down, and no-frills approach that lets the music speak for itself. Jack Harlow deserves credit for being vulnerable and exploring difficult topics on this album while still managing to keep it fun. I highly recommend giving it a listen.