There have been scores of White rappers to emerge on the music scene over the last 40 years. The Beastie Boys, MC Serch, Eminem, Paul Wall, El-P, Mac Miller, Machine Gun Kelly, and many others achieved success in the Black-created genre of rap music.
Jack Harlow’s name can be added to that list as well. The 22-year-old Kentucky native broke out commercially with the Hot 100 chart Top 5 hit “Whats Poppin” as well as the single’s remix featuring DaBaby, Tory Lanez, and Lil Wayne. “Whats Poppin” also earned a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Performance.
Harlow released his debut album, That’s What They All Say, in December. The project opened at #5 on the Billboard 200 chart with 51,000 first-week units. In an interview with HipHopDX, Harlow was asked if he thinks the Hip Hop community will fully accept him as just a rapper and not as a Caucasian rapper.
“Me being White is never going to disappear from the discussion because race is just all too relevant and it’s real. I already think I’m being accepted as a good rapper without the asterisk already,” said Harlow. “I can feel it and I think people feel my authenticity. But me being White will always be a discussion. That’s just how it is.”
The Generation Now/Atlantic signee continued, “But I’m at peace with it. That’s not some burden or scourge that I have to live with. It just is what it is. I think every day I’m getting closer to being seen how I see myself and that’s a good feeling and I see myself as real, authentic, and genuine.”
While Jack Harlow’s musical style leans more towards party rap, he has taken on social issues in his real life. Last year, the Louisville-raised entertainer hit the streets in his hometown to participate in the #JusticeForBreonnaTaylor demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism.
“That was a no brainer to me,” Harlow said about joining the protests. “For me, just being in a Black genre and growing up around Black people, like I said, it was a no brainer. It was a priority to get out there. There’s a lot of Black people in Louisville.”