Personalities in hip-hop can be a double-edged sword. While it is obviously beneficial to have a well-defined identity that the public can identify with, maintaining it can sometimes be difficult. For some MCs, this character can reinforce the idea that they are not to be taken lightly. In the case of Jack Harlowthe essence of his public persona boils down to one thing: charm.
While he is at the top of his game, Jack Harlow fails to capitalize on this popularity with “Come Home The Kids Miss You”
Thanks to his casual affability, Jack has become the darling of women all over the world, in this case American women who love rap. However, it was his quiet sense of humor and apparent reluctance to take his media appearances too seriously that won him over to a large segment of male hip-hop listeners.
Added to this is his respect and love for hip-hop culture and the fact that he has literally been chasing this dream since he was a teenager. The end product is a major label-backed artist who’s easy to cheer on wholeheartedly.
So the weeks leading up to the release of his second studio project felt like a long parade for a man who would become king. The rapper was propelled into the stratosphere by his featuring on ” Industry Baby ” of Lil Nas X and a succession of viral moments.
Then the feverish excitement around him had spread to such an extent that even Kanye enshrined him as “top 5 right now” and enlisted his services for DONDA 2. Additionally, in the behind-the-scenes promotional clips leading up to the release of the record, Pharrell referred to a collaboration between the two as a “story”.
With such a degree of anticipation, all the pieces were in place for Jack to deliver not just one of the year’s standout projects, but an album that officially cements him as the heir to the pop-rap realm. Unfortunately, Come Home The Kids Miss Youwhile not bad, is far from the record it was meant to deliver.
Indeed, the central theme of the whole album is summed up in the piano intro of ” Talk Of The Town with Jack proclaiming that he is “the man in the street”.
” A long way from Bardstown, I’m on the charts now
A long way from Bardstown, I’m on the maps now
Used to have the same drive, you in park now
I had the same drive, you parked now
Whip got an upgrade, the tints dark now
Whip has been improved, shades are dark now
The same ones that used to fade, I’m in their hearts now
The same ones that used to fade away, I am in their hearts now”.
Jack’s understated flow is paired with the first of many throwback samples to iconic tracks from the past, namely Destiny’s Child and his legendary debut single “No, No, No”. However, while this opening could have worked perfectly as the calm before the storm, the expected energy surge was not quite there.
In fact, starting with percussion, ” Young Harleyezy Jack sinks into the speed he’ll maintain for most of the album. Afterwards, he continued to talk about the difficulties and the euphoria with the same degree of nonchalance.
Even when he asks who here is as passionate as us? I’m the one they trust, we’re the ones making a fuss it seems somehow noncommittal.
Embellished with an unexpected, but not unwelcome, verbal section of Snoop Doggit’s one of many instances on the record where his “legends only” approach turns out to have been more than a marketing ploy.
Kicking off with its signature four-bar intro, Harlow’s presumed interaction with Pharrell on “Movie Star” does not sound interesting enough. It looks more like an attempt to assimilate his music with the scattered and friendly beats.
And while the change of pace adds an interesting new dimension to the track, it may be too little for current attention spans.
Besides, when he’s not discussing the perils of fame, Jack’s other focus on the record is undoubtedly his romantic life and it’s a path he’s clearly contented in. So when he digs into Snoop’s back catalog and Pharrell with an interpolation of “Beautiful” over ” Side Piece things seem a lot more organic.
Plus, arguably able to float over the pair of lavish beats the track is made up of, “Side Piece,” highlights one of the record’s major sticking points.
In reality, his style game often seems complacent, even incoherent, in the way that a vital studio album like this just shouldn’t be.
As a result, well-constructed simulations like “ I call my dad and he let his son talk like Mavi are forced to coexist with instances where it seems to rhyme punchlines unrelated to the subject of the track. This is the case, for example, of this sentence: something fact made the youth unfriendly maybe it’s fossil fuel “.
If we add to this the widely maligned line ” sweet, sweet cum from the top-selling single ‘First Class’, Jack’s many moments of lyrical ambivalence on the album are frustrating.
Among the highlights of the album, the name of ” Dua Lipa testifies to what Jack can do when he combines his charisma with sufficiently urgent production and meaningful lyrics. Likewise, the enveloping, melancholy crooning of “Lil Secret” sees him keenly exploring the complications that stardom brings to a romantic spark in ways that keep his status with women intact.
In a similar vein, the decision not to settle for a melodic flow, but to play both sides of the amorous dialogue on “Like A Blade Of Grass” proves there’s no reason why it shouldn’t. can’t take creative risks.
Moreover, overseen by none other than Timbalandformer N-Sync’s most trusted producer, “Parent Trap” with Justin Timberlake is another moment where that vaguely nostalgic quality present throughout the record is convincingly harnessed.
However, for every song that Jack finds his groove in and hints at the possibility of one day becoming the next king of hip-hop, he always smells like another track like ” I Got A Shot which appeals to reggae and just seems aimless.
With so much speculation about his ability to become heir apparent to Drizzy, it’s no surprise that “Churchill Downs” is a part of the record that feels like a real, tangible moment for hip-hop in general. Invoking the smoky vibe of those classic Drake tracks, which feel like a window into his thoughts at a moment of deep reflection, Harlow even stands up to the 6ix God.
To close the project, State Fair “, in which Jack travels around his kingdom and longs for the time when he had no ” cameras in the figure is an enthusiastic and instrumental conclusion to a project that often feels like it’s on autopilot. This project was perhaps meant to be broken down into playlists, rather than listened to as a cohesive statement.
Also, when the album’s lead single, the banger ” nail tech appeared and Jack proclaimed, ” I ain’t on top of this shit yet, but I’m that guy it seemed almost prophetic. However, once Come Home, The Kids Miss You comes to an end, it’s hard not to be disappointed.
While enough to keep his most devoted fans enthusiastic and by no means a parody, the latest album from Jack finally suffers from the weight of expectations. Instead of hitting the seemingly unassailable heights of her idol and new mentor Drake, Harlow’s latest breakout album is beset by a lingering sense that it should have offered something more.