Rapper Jack Harlow gained significant regional buzz as a teenager coming up in Louisville, Kentucky's hip-hop scene, but matured quickly as his styles developed with each new song. Examining the pains, victories, and boredom of youth with an honesty and vulnerability lacking in many of his peers, he went from songs about partying and hanging out on 2015's The Handsome Harlow EP to more nuanced lyrics about sexuality, depression, and self-doubt on 2017 mixtape Gazebo. His raw talent and growing acclaim led to a record deal with Atlantic Records subsidiary Generation Now, which released his full-length project Loose in 2018.
Jack Harlow was born in Louisville in 1998 and began rapping and writing rhymes by the time he was 12. As a high schooler, he fell in with the city's underground hip-hop scene, performing locally and releasing songs online that tended more toward topics of fun adolescence. A debut EP, Handsome Harlow, surfaced in 2015, followed by a more fully fleshed-out 2016 mixtape, 18. Harlow showed significant maturation on the next year's Gazebo mixtape, which included the frenetic single "Dark Knight." Regional attention and tours began to attract the notice of labels, particularly DJ Drama's Generation Now imprint, a sublabel in the Atlantic Records family. The label released Harlow's 2018 mixtape Loose, which included cameos from K Camp and CyHi the Prynce. Another mixtape followed for the label a year later with Confetti. In 2020, Harlow returned with the EP Sweet Action, which featured guest appearances by CuBeatz, Jetsonmade, Pooh Beatz, Puand, and 2forwOyNE. Included on the album was the track "What's Poppin," which hit number nine on the Billboard Hot 100's Bubbling Under chart. ~ Fred Thomas