Rapper Jack Harlow released his new single “First Class” last Friday.
Chances are, if you're on TikTok, you've heard the clip and seen the videos with its sound. Harlow takes the pre-chorus to Fergie’s song and inserts his own lines in between spelling out letters: “I been a (G), throw up the (L), sex in the (A.M.), uh-huh/(O-R-O-U-S, yeah)/And I can put you in (first class).”
The verses cater toward Harlow’s confident persona, with lines like “Why do y'all sleep on me? I need reasons/Uh, I got plaques in thе mail, peak season/Shout out to my UPS workers makin' surе I receive 'em” and “Can’t lie, I’m on Angus Cloud nine” in reference to the Euphoria actor and a nod to feeling like he is on the top of the world.
Despite the 13-second clip going viral with more than 58 million views and 348K uses of the sound, there were many people who were disappointed with the verses of the song after hearing the sampled part go viral.
People were complaining the snippet was too gassed up or the song is already overplayed. But besides a few TikTok haters, the song has received relatively positive feedback.
Harlow took to Twitter just days prior on April 1 to announce that he was releasing new music.
In a Rolling Stone interview, he said the lead single he released a couple of months ago, “Nail Tech,” was his least favorite track on the album. But based on Harlow's personal TikTok, one can only assume he is proud of “First Class.”
“First Class” is at the top of the charts. It made Apple Music’s Top Best New Songs just a few hours after its release at midnight.
White rappers, due to their white privilege, are often questioned or don't fit in. This is even more so the case when they appropriate by acting and making music similar to Black rap trailblazers while maintaining the appearances and privilege of a white rapper.
But Harlow is different. The Kentucky native has grown to be one of the biggest rappers today — and his demeanor, presence and of course music have all captured the hearts of many.
He's self-aware of his status in a music industry that is led by many Black artists. Harlow told Billboard in 2021, “there’s a certain responsibility that comes with being a white man in a Black genre, and there’s certain things that have me regarded differently. But there is something exciting about skipping over any barriers that might be there and creating unity.”
But it's not just his eagerness to make music and his excitement for his work that make Harlow popular — there are hundreds of girls dancing and singing and fantasizing over him. This with songs all adds up to explain his popularity and success.
Something that Harlow does differently and well is his use of instrumentals in his music. There is clear piano in the background of “First Class” which adds a juxtaposition to Harlow’s lyrics, instead of sounds getting lost behind the rap.
The flow, the beat, the background — it's all there. His music, regardless of if you like rap music, is something that can appeal to many. Harlow's lyrics have sexual innuendos (and maybe more than just innuendos), but he also raps about his life, Kentucky and even UPS.
It's Harlow’s feel-good music and feel-good beat that make him such a refreshing rapper.
After being featured in Lil Nas X’s hit “INDUSTRY BABY,” the attention on Harlow increased. Perhaps even Lil Nas X had some influence on another one of Harlow’s songs: Trumpets can be heard in the background of both “INDUSTRY BABY” and “Nail Tech,” which blend great with Harlow’s flow.
While the leading single for the upcoming album, “Nail Tech,” came out on Feb. 18, Harlow's newest studio album, “Come Home the Kids Miss You,” will be able to be streamed on music platforms on May 6.
Harlow is also expected to make a festival appearance once his new music is released at Governor's Ball at City Field in New York City on June 10.
From these two singles and the content he's already produced and been featured on, the world can only hope Harlow continues to grow bigger and that his newest album is a hit.