Jack Harlow Talks 'Loose' Mixtape, Putting Louisville on the Map & Working With DJ Drama, Don Cannon


Jack Harlow is an rising artist out of Louisville, Kentucky, who’s been crafting an eclectic sound with a contemporary model and rebellious spirit. The 20-year-old is on a mission to change into a bonafide star and with the platform he’s gained during the last two years, Harlow has been steadily placing his metropolis on the map. Following within the footsteps of Nappy Roots, the late Static Major, and extra not too long ago Bryson Tiller, Harlow is bringing consideration to a principally underground hip-hop scene.

Harlow’s love for music started at an early age when his mom uncovered him to hip-hop legends like Outkast, Eminem and A Tribe Called Quest, whereas his father launched him to the sounds of Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Johnny Paycheck. In center college, Harlow developed a ardour for writing that finally led to him recording songs and importing them to his SoundCloud web page. A neighborhood buzz started to blossom and Harlow’s reputation grew with the discharge of his first mixtape 18, incomes him prompt consideration on social media.

After relocating to Atlanta to advance his profession, Harlow met KY Engineering, a fellow Kentucky native with whom he shaped a working relationship. Through KY, Harlow met DJ Drama who was intrigued by the rapper’s distinctive model. The Gangsta Grillz DJ saved an eye fixed on the Highland Heights-product as Harlow entrenched himself as a promising artist with the acclaimed mixtape, GAZEBO, in 2017. The mixtape raised Harlow’s inventory because the “Dark Knight” rapper impressed publications like XXL and DJ Booth whereas additionally gaining a lot of new followers.

Last August, Harlow introduced he had signed a take care of Atlantic Records DJ Drama and Don Cannon’s Generation Now imprint. To have a good time the achievement, Harlow launched the visuals to “SUNDOWN” the lead monitor off his main label debut mixtape Loose. After having a gradual first half in 2018, Loose serves as Harlow’s correct introduction. Jack Harlow sat with Billboard to talk on the mixtape, establishing a blueprint for his metropolis, working with Drama and Don Cannon, and rapping alongside CyHi the Prince. Check it out beneath.

What was it like rising up with each your dad and mom exposing you to hip-hop and nation music?

It was fascinating as a result of these are clearly not that comparable of genres. So I bought a style of each. Growing up, there have been lots of people my age who form of scorned nation. It was completely different for me as a result of I had gotten just a little style for it. My dad put me on to the basic stuff so I all the time appreciated the melodies. Hip-hop energized me and gave me confidence after I listened to it and it's what my mother appreciated, so it was dope getting each worlds.

You’ve all the time had a ardour for writing, so do you suppose you've gotten a bonus over your friends?

I'd say I've just a little little bit of a bonus as a result of I've a foot in each worlds. Like I wish to do each in a means and that's like by way of writing and never writing. I all the time write for myself however I'm talking on being any individual that cares about sitting with the pen and possibly telling a narrative. That a part of my craft is what I began with. Basically what I'm saying is that it’s crucial to me to get higher and be dope versus simply making information. I wish to be good at this.

Louisville holds a really particular place in your coronary heart. How has it contributed to your sound?

Louisville, for probably the most half, is unquestionably a Southern metropolis however it's numerous and never essentially like Atlanta. It's bought a variety of cities round it and Kentucky borders probably the most states so it's influenced by a variety of issues. It's arduous to categorize the tradition in Louisville. I grew up within the Highlands neighborhood, which is simply outdoors of Louisville. I used to be working with a variety of completely different individuals so I bought to soak up a variety of completely different views and it wasn't like rising up within the suburbs the place every part is identical. It was a singular place to develop up, so I feel it simply gave me just a little little bit of a semi-worldview earlier than I really go and see the world.

From Nappy Roots to Static Major to Bryson to you, what’s it like seeing hip-hop’s presence develop in Louisville?

It's superior. It appears like historical past is being made and the following step is simply, after all, getting myself and the collective Private Garden on. After that, it's simply discovering methods to kick sport again to the remainder of town, put assets into it, and lift the bar for high quality. I really feel that's all it actually takes as a result of all these locations which can be effervescent, it's like there's an ordinary already so individuals know what they've to achieve for. People don't actually have a blueprint or anyone to impress when there's not an enormous scene happening, so Louisville is growing. There's a variety of expertise there and we simply must hold pushing and I really feel like it could actually really break on to the scene as like a metropolis that's pushing out expertise.

How are you serving to create that hip-hop blueprint for town?

Well, I do know for me, the best way I realized was simply by watching different artists. So how I transfer, whether or not its on-line or in particular person or simply how my music sounds or the standard, you're mainly asking that out of your listeners. They see that and see it really works and apply it to their very own lives. They look as much as you as a result of for me that's how I bought higher is taking a look at different artists. From one thing easy as the way you're pushing it to how the music is being made. I feel one of the best ways to do it's to pop off in entrance of all these individuals and also you'll get their consideration. When that occurs and then you definately're in interviews like this you may say issues that'll hopefully encourage any individual. 

The sound on Loose could be very completely different out of your earlier initiatives. What did you do to evolve?

Challenge myself. We had been speaking about making an attempt to get higher like that's what I'm all the time making an attempt to do. It's simply me seeing how I can push it. But additionally my style modified. This is the primary undertaking that I put out that I like listening to as a result of I often don’t like my music after some time. By the time I put it out, I feel the shit is trash -- It's arduous to make one thing you want. I'm important of myself and I maintain myself to a excessive customary so it's arduous to make one thing that you simply wish to bump. Even in case you suppose that it's good, do you really wish to put it on? I like listening to this tape prefer it's any individual else's and that's new for me I used to not be like that.


There's a way of consolation we hear in your voice on this undertaking. Was there something you listened to for inspiration or one thing you probably did otherwise?

You're the second particular person to say that, that's loopy. I by no means noticed it like that however I positively did issues otherwise. That's like the primary factor I've been telling individuals is that I ended being so calculated and began having just a little extra enjoyable. I went from writing and actually sitting down and going to the sales space to rapping like everybody else in Atlanta. Punching in, going off the cuff, making the songs faster. I really feel such as you get one thing purer from your self off the highest. That's the largest change.

You talked about on “Dark Knight” that Cyhi helped you along with your author’s block and now you've gotten a tune with him on Loose. Was there any author’s block this time round and what was it like working with a lyricist like CyHi?

It was loopy as a result of I posted on my Instagram that the undertaking is nearly performed and he commented that he needed to be on it. So I despatched this document to him with my verse on it and I didn't understand how arduous he was about to go along with his verse. But I felt like that was the most effective I had in the mean time. He despatched it again and naturally killed it. I really like that tune. My boy tried to inform me Cyhi killed me however I wasn't having that, I really like my verse.

Despite the brand new mixtape and asserting the take care of Atlantic, 2018 was a gradual 12 months for you. What was happening previous to that?

I used to be simply making an attempt to determine what I needed to do subsequent. I had a protracted interval in Atlanta the place I wasn't making a variety of songs. I used to be uninspired and what hit the change is that course of change that I used to be telling you about the place I wasn't being as calculated. More songs began coming from that and this occurs each time I drop a undertaking. I've really been dropping music for some time earlier than I gained actual traction and after each time it's a real evolution. There are a few months of self-doubt the place you surprise in case you might actually do that. You simply must have religion I assume.

How did the three way partnership with Generation Now and Atlantic come collectively?

It occurred after I moved to Atlanta and met KY Engineering. He knew DJ Drama and Don Cannon and there was one other man named Randy who’s additionally buddies with Drama. They had me come to the studio and I simply began recording up there with them and simply kicking it generally. I might inform there was just a little curiosity however after I went to the studio and some conversations had been pushed round, they needed to do it and for me, it was mainly a no brainer. You see what they’ve performed with Lil Uzi [Vert]. They’re legends and there are occasions I can’t consider I’m in the identical room as them.

We all know the historical past these two have with mixtapes, so is there a mixtape sequence coming from you?

I aspire for one. I didn't inform anyone this, however Loose nearly turned that. There's positively some information within the vault which can be on Loose which have a model with Drama drops on them. It was arduous however we didn't really feel prefer it was for this one however most positively I'd need one. That was the primary factor I used to be considering after I signed. Yeah, publishing and all that shit is cool however you going to do some drops although proper? [Laughs].