Welcome to “New Music with Nick.” On this column, I shall be reviewing among the most notable new album releases throughout numerous genres, specializing in hip-hop, R&B and pop music. Be a part of me in exploring the ever-shifting panorama of the streaming period.
Jack Harlow: “Jackman.” (April 28, 2023)
I had little to no expectations for Jack Harlow’s “Jackman.” Harlow’s horrible 2022 album “Come Residence The Children Miss You” left my expectations for the way forward for his profession just about nonexistent. The music was actually terrible, and it stands as one of many worst mainstream rap albums I’ve heard in years.
Actually, there has by no means been some extent in Jack Harlow’s profession the place he was probably the greatest or most proficient rappers. He has proven stable abilities, some slick flows and a easy persona to match, however the music has by no means actually stood out. Whether or not it’s poor beat choice, his incapability to craft and construction full songs or the shortcoming to execute past fairly easy rapping, Harlow has by no means been a “nice artist.”
The rollout of “Jackman.” gave me hope as a result of it was the precise reverse of his first album rollout in each regard. The album was introduced as a shock simply a few days earlier than its April twenty eighth launch. There have been no structured releases, no lead single, no gimmicks — no overtly commercially-driven strikes.
The album cowl, with Harlow standing shirtless towards the background of outdated garages and trash cans, additionally despatched a special message than the polished look that might be anticipated from a famous person. It felt like he was lastly extra targeted on the music than on rising his famous person standing. I appreciated simply how totally different the arrival of this album felt from his earlier one.
The music definitely delivered, proving that Harlow is taking his music far more severely than he was final yr. The writing was considerate, the beat choice was stable, the construction of the album was refreshing and the content material was fascinating. From begin to end, there may be not a nasty tune. Though it did lack any actually nice or iconic moments artistically, it offered a substantial amount of consistency. The album is an extremely cohesive pay attention, and most significantly, it saved Jack Harlow from the falling trajectory that he has been on for the previous years.
Straight away, the album obtained off to a robust begin with “Frequent Floor,” probably the greatest songs I’ve ever heard from Harlow. The 2 verses on the intro are two of his greatest. Addressing cultural appropriation, white privilege, race disparities in America and hypocrisy in music journalism, the intro is heavy and topical. This try may have simply gone incorrect or come off as insensitive and out of contact, however the thoughtfulness behind it led to a powerful execution.
“Frequent Floor” was instantly adopted up with two extra spectacular tracks: “They Don’t Love It” and “Formidable.” Each had been soulful and triumphant songs that satisfied me of Harlow’s ardour, which I had been questioning over the previous couple of years. “Denver” and “It Can’t Be” are two extra cuts that added to the cohesiveness of the undertaking and offered an surprising stage of depth and high quality.
Nonetheless, not one of the songs stand out as masterpieces. Though I loved the beat choice and soul samples, I don’t suppose any of the manufacturing decisions transcend “good.” Not one of the beats actually blew me away; none of it felt large.
The flows and deliveries throughout all the undertaking had been actually easy and fulfilling. Nonetheless, there have been moments the place extra dynamic or spectacular technical rapping may have boosted the album with vitality and pleasure. There have been additionally moments the place the songs felt missing in construction. It looks as if Harlow remains to be studying the right way to craft full songs.
After the creative flop of “Come Residence The Children Miss You,” Harlow’s latest launch “Jackman.” was such a refreshing return and a transparent indicator that he desires to make critical and considerate music. I consider that Jack Harlow actually does need to be an amazing rapper, and though this isn’t fairly an amazing rap album, it’s a good one. Most significantly, it exhibits he nonetheless has the potential to be nice.
Favourite Songs: “Frequent Floor,” “They Don’t Love It,” “Denver,” “It Can’t Be,” “Formidable”
Album Rating: 71/100
Try this Spotify Playlist and prefer it to comply with together with a few of my favourite songs of 2023 thus far.
Editor’s Word: This text is a overview and contains subjective opinions, ideas and critiques.