Jack Harlow – “That’s What They All Say” Review

Story posted December 16, 2020 in Arts & Entertainment by Paul Martin.

“The ones that hate me the most look just like me” Jack Harlow states on “Tyler Herro,” the second single off the Louisville rapper’s debut album “That’s What They All Say.”

Harlow raps like he has something to prove, which for better or worse, acts as an asset and a crutch to him. Throughout the entirety of the album, which creeps past 40 minutes, listeners learn how dedicated Harlow is to proving himself in the medium but are rarely given any insight into Harlow himself.

Harlow is a very technical rapper. All of his rhymes are bound tightly and he compliments the beats he raps over pretty effectively. The problem, though, is in today’s music landscape, especially the predominantly flooded rap market, there’s very little that separates Harlow from his counterparts.

The album starts very nicely with “Rendezvous.” With a sparkling beat produced by Hit-Boy, the song offers good momentum heading into the rest of the record.

This momentum is immediately shot down by the horrendously bad “Face of My City,” which not even an appearance from Lil Baby can save. With a disorienting beat that Harlow struggles to rap over, it’s clear the inclusion of this track is to cash in on the Baby feature.

The album is heavily reliant on the production throughout, which is very solid. Ranging from the aforementioned Hit-Boy to Boi 1da to frequent collaborator JetsonMade, Harlow assembles a solid group of producers that offer him fantastic beats to rap over.

“Way Out” stands out as a highlight cut from the record. With a particularly bouncy beat offered by JetsonMade, Harlow finds his element and offers a pretty catchy hook that is paired with an excellent verse offered by Big Sean.

While “Face of My City” offers a harsh pairing between Harlow and Lil Baby, “Already Best Friends” achieves a far more successful grouping of Harlow with the melodic Chris Brown.

Harlow’s observational element is in full effect on “Keep It Light.” Discussing how the peers he has known before he came up judging his ascension offers a small glimpse into Harlow’s character and what drives him as an individual.

It also offers a few of Harlow’s best bars throughout the record, ranging from “I play the game, you watch the game like Adam Schefter” to “I put too much work in to just call it fate.”

The rest of the album passes through with a few filler tracks that have bright spots and rehashes of previously released singles.

“Creme” features breezy production with Harlow testing off his melodic side while “Same Guy” comes and goes with a forgettable contribution by Adam Levine.

“What’s Poppin” and “Tyler Herro” are included to showcase Harlow’s ability to make hits as both feature amazing production and Harlow rapping with energy,

The most introspective cut on the record is also the closing track “Baxter Avenue.” Discussing where his motivation for the rap game came from, the picture he paints after this release is more murky than he probably intended to make it seem.

For a debut album, “That’s What They All Say” is pretty solid. Harlow plays to his strengths for most of the record, even if he tends to ride the back of his producers more often than not.

The real question now is if Harlow can differentiate himself from the field with future releases. Harlow’s style doesn’t really offer insight into how he can evolve as an artist but if all else fails, at least at one point he could claim he can get any rapper he wants to hop on a remix.

Reviewer’s Favortie Tracks: “Way Out” “Already Best Friends”

Reviewer’s Least Favorite Track: “Face of My City”

Rating: 7/10

Paul Martin is a junior majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email at phm5095@psu.edu.

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