You know, when it comes to Jack Harlow in hip-hop today, I get that he seems like a decent and all-around cool guy and I see why his success has been poppin’ for a while now. From his entry in the XXL 2020 Freshman Class (alongside other growing rappers like Polo G and Fivio Foreign among others) to the popularity of his single “What’s Poppin'” peaking at number 2, and that’s before his debut album, That’s What They All Say came out at the time.
Since then, he also collaborated with Lil Nas X on the single “Industry Baby” for his debut album Montero (which I wish I gave a written album review at the time), which hit number 1, becoming Harlow’s first chart-topper, did a lot of activism and charity work (especially with KFC) and is preparing to make his silver screen debut with a remake of White Men Can’t Jump.
Now he has his sophomore record, Come Home The Kids Miss You with singles like “Nail Tech” and “First Class” making a splash, especially the latter being #1 on its first week. So… did the kids wanna come home?
OK… this is not working for me. This album feels very typical and generic of a rapper like him. In fact, while Harlow has some likable aspects to him as a rapper and person, the subject matter does wear thin even with his skills being fine at best. I did listen to his debut before going into this one, and I get that album being all about the come-up and newfound success, but it’s rinse and repeat with this. Plus, while I mentioned that “First Class” did hit #1, the song itself is mostly a forgettable slog sampling Fergie’s “Glamorous” on the hook.
Then there’s “I’d Do Anything to Make You Smile”, with him playing the romantic side, and it was fine for the most part, but then it name-drops Ed Sheeran with a line like this.
And then I sing ’em like an Ed Sheeran song to you
‘Cause I love the shape of you, hmm, you, you, you
Yeah, I get referencing Ed Sheeran in the sense of being romantic and cute, but with one of the most unsexy songs I ever heard… Nah. Then there’s “Side Piece” where he sings a song for…. well, his side-piece. I’m not sure if making a record of your side-piece guarantees you getting laid like having you cream filled on some donut shit. Then it’s him basically shooting his shot with Dua Lipa on the track “Dua Lipa”. No, really, that’s the name of the track, although I think he did contact her about it so it doesn’t feel more awkward than it already is.
“Lil’ Secret” is a bit better with him flexing on how the girl’s ex don’t got shit on him and at least the lines aren’t as corny as they were on the last couple of tracks. I get most of the material here is a bit samey with him getting girls, being famous and I know I was praising Pusha T’s latest album for sticking with its guns, but the difference is that album still manages to have shining moments in either the lyrics or the production but on here, the production is… fine? It’s very OK but really mediocre in the long haul with some minimalist and trap production sounding cheap and forgettable.
The features felt like this was an album from 2011 with Pharrell, Justin Timberlake, Lil’ Wayne and Drake, and the Drake-featuring “Churchill Downs” sounds like something he would’ve made in that year and it’s just as monotonous as a modern Drake track. Pharrell’s contribution (production and lyrics) to “Movie Star” is pretty weak.
Now get this
I do not fuck with that stiff shit
Squad lift shit
I need that peanut butter, yeah, that Jif shit
You and me should do a tape, DatPiff shit
Now get this
I’ll give this to “Nail Tech”: it is the most energetic track on there, and Harlow’s flow is excellent, and I can say the same for “State Fair”, too. The production on that track is mostly breezy.
Other than that, this album is well… NOT GOOD. Maybe it’s me that’s just now trying to understand Jack Harlow but what I got from him in this album and his last one is the same basic topics from him womanizing a bunch, that he has a lot of women, him being famous and I’m just repeating myself right now. At first, I want to compare him to Cordae as his sophomore album was released a few months back (and I found that to be a disappointment), but then again, the album before that was fine but not great. But here, I went from an album that was meh to one that’s just generic, blase and not worth the time going back.
FINAL VERDICT: SKIP IT. Well, you came home but everyone else wants your ass out.
COME HOME THE KIDS MISS YOU is on Generation Now/Atlantic Records and available on digital download and streaming services.