REVIEW: Jack Harlow’s “Jackman.” ditches the glam for authenticity

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(Photo illustration by Angie Escalante)
By Christopher Diosomito 

Jack Harlow released his third studio album “Jackman.” on April 28. This album is following the mixed reactions fans had to his “Come Home the Kids Miss You” album that was released last year. Harlow puts away any doubt that fans may have had in his most recent album.

“Jackman.” feels very fresh compared to his previous studio albums. 

Though being a drastically shorter album with five less tracks than his album in 2022, it doesn’t affect Harlow’s newest release at all. The shorter duration of the album highlights the quality of each song.

Harlow has been moving into a pop genre and straying away from his rap, mixtape era. But in this new album, the 25-year-old returns to his roots. 

The second track, “They Don’t Love It”, depicts Harlow returning to his former self. He no longer wants to be perceived as the “pretty boy” in the industry. The rapper mentions wanting to get buff rather than getting his nails done and not grooming his beard. The song title suggests that the industry does not love this side of him. He talks about how much more enjoyable it is not being that person.  

The artist reflects on his ambition as a teenager and the life he foresaw for himself. Harlow no longer feels a need for his songs to be a number one hit on the radio, instead focusing more on storytelling that relates to his upbringing. 

The track “Ambition” goes through the mindset he had throughout each stage. It shows how far back his confidence stretched and how he responds to achieving his goals in his current age.

Harlow doesn’t rap about his flashy life like he did in his previous album. This album feels more authentic and grounded. He unveils the not so glamorous side of his rise to stardom that he’s recognized for. He speaks about those around him, including his family and friends.

“Gang Gang Gang” goes on to show that those around us are not always who we think they are. The song details how the artist never considered any of the friends he had would receive sexual assault charges. Harlow shows that in a blink of an eye those you once thought of as family can no longer be considered that. The “gang” he grew up with began to be erased from his life and memories, especially coming from someone in a position that can lose it all for even being associated.

“Blame on Me” is another deep track diving into his life. Harlow goes through the perspectives of the three men in his household: his younger brother, his own and their father’s. The dynamic of the three were toxic and it has to do with how each of them were raised. The song talks about how Harlow treated his brother growing up, how he felt during this time due to his father, how his brother perceived him and his father’s perspective of it all. He goes deep into the relationships between each of them. 

The album finishes up with “Questions”. The rapper continuously asks questions about his life now due to his fame. The worries of falling off the scene and being forgotten in the industry. The fear that those around him would leave if he were to rap honestly. Harlow vents about his genuine concerns on whether his following is there for him or for how he is perceived in the media.

It was enjoyable to hear a more relatable side to Harlow compared to previous albums. Many of us don’t live in luxury like our favorite celebrities. It’s always comforting knowing that the artists we admire share similar experiences. Being where they are now doesn’t exclude them from life’s hardships.

I like the direction Harlow took with this album, tearing down the glittery curtain to show his truth. “Jackman.” will definitely be in my music rotation and I look forward to seeing where Harlow goes from here.

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