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The rise of Jack Harlow has been one of hip-hop’s most curious narratives over the past two years. So far in 2022 he’s had a huge pop hit, “First Class,” and released his second major label album, “Come Home the Kids Miss You,” which debuted at No. 3. He is one of hip-hop’s biggest emerging stars, and one whose aims are purely centrist.
He is also white, and this is, necessarily, fraught territory; Harlow’s album rollout has not been without hiccups. But more interesting are his aims — not to be a crossover pop star who bypasses the hip-hop mainstream, but to make a version of hip-hop much different than his Black peers, and be accepted for it.
On this week’s Popcast, a conversation about Harlow’s musical decisions, the touch-and-go aspects of his album rollout, and the long history of white rappers and the varying degrees of embrace they’ve achieved.
Hunter Harris, author of the Hung Up newsletter
Larisha Paul, who writes about music for Billboard, The Fader and others
Peter Rosenberg, a host on New York’s Hot 97 (WQHT-FM) and a host of the “Juan Ep Is Life” podcast
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