As Hot 97’s Peter Rosenberg said earlier this week, “It’s either Euphoria or f—–g Jack Harlow on Complex every 10 minutes.” Arguably, no artist has taken more advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic musically than Missionary Jack, who is on the precipice of joining rap’s A-list and seemingly became America’s heartthrob overnight.
The Louisville native has turned lifelong dreams into realities this year — whether it was joining Kanye West on stage in February, vacationing to Turks and Caicos with Drake, or notching his second No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with the Fergie-sampling “First Class” in April.
After cutting drinking alcohol completely out of his life in 2021, Harlow’s vision for greatness couldn’t be more clear in his ascension. The tidal wave of hype leads into JH’s sophomore album, Come Home the Kids Miss You, which arrived on Friday (May 6) as the 24-year-old looks to cement himself as one of this generation’s superstars.
Early sales projections reportedly expect Jack to put numbers on the boards and earn his first Billboard 200 chart-topper with an estimated 180,000 total album-equivalent units sold in the first week.
Without further ado, Billboard ranks every track from Jack Harlow’s LP below.
15. “Talk of the Town”
Jack Harlow made sure to utilize an actual album intro rather than a track that could fit anywhere on the album. With that said, it’s tough to compare “Talk of the Town” to the rest of the songs on the project as it seems like more of a test guide getting every listener pressing play up to speed on what’s to come.
14. “Movie Star” (feat. Pharrell)
“Movie Star” just left this listener yearning for more. Track No. 7 finds production and vocals from the legendary Pharrell, but there’s a key ingredient missing. Skateboard P’s ethereal production doesn’t seem like a match for Harlow’s southern drawl. Back to the drawing board for the two super talents.
13. “I Got a Shot”
“I Got a Shot” feels more like a lyrical exercise than an album deep cut. The “Somebody That I Used to Know” interpolation is fun, but there had to be more invigorating tracks that got left on the cutting room floor than this.
12. “State Fair”
A fitting album closer. Louisville’s hometown hero returns to his roots to show everyone he actually accomplished what he set out to achieve. Although he’s as confident as they come, it’s not necessarily in a bragging way, but to let the next generation know superstardom is possible coming from the ‘Ville if the proper work is put in. “I want respect, I don’t want flowers,” he states matter-of-factly.
11. “I’d Do Anything to Make You Smile”
During his Hot 97 interview earlier this week, Harlow spoke about making records that his fanbase can enjoy in an intimate fashion rather than having everyone marvel at his lyrical acrobatics. A record like “I’d Do Anything to Make You Smile” is definitely relatable for those 20-somethings in relationships. Like one of his idols in Drake, he knows which lyrics will quickly translate to Instagram captions or certain bars that will have the females in a tizzy such as when he raps, “Imma f–k the earrings off of you.”
10. “Nail Tech”
“Nail Tech” might have served as the lead single into Jack’s sophomore album, but the triumphant horns make the tune feel like more of a victory lap for Harlow with his crisp lyrical precision on display. However, he does use the track to warn the rest of hip-hop that the Jack Harlow takeover is imminent.
9. “Poison” (feat. Lil Wayne)
The only collaboration that was completed remotely. With Young Angel (Drake) on the album, it’s only right Missionary Jack recruited his mentor in Young Lion (Lil Wayne). Harlow waxes poetic about a muse in his life, who serves as a good type of poison.
Weezy turns back the clock for a vintage Wayne verse leaning heavily into AutoTune. Imagine telling a young Jack Harlow that Lil Wayne would be using his name in a bar about stealing someone’s girl? “I might have to jack your bitch ’cause I be on my Harlow s—,” Weezy raps.
8. “Lil Secret”
One of the smoothest beats on the entire album that could easily have seen an R&B legend grooving over in the ’90s. Harlow is a student from the school of Drake, meaning he opens up about a certain lover and paints a vivid picture for listeners but keeps the bars vague enough to not give away her identity. Regardless, the 2:10 sprint is an enjoyable one.
7. “Young Harleezy”
Social media tends to spoil surprises these days, but Harlow managed to keep one trick up his sleeve when Snoop Dogg invades track No. 2 and steals the show doing what he does best and that’s just speaking whatever comes to his mind regarding Jack a.k.a.”Mack.” The Louisville resident wasn’t kidding when he said “strictly legends” were going to be on his album and adding the Snoop Dogg stamp of approval was a nice touch.
6. “Parent Trap” (feat. Justin Timberlake)
Who said sequencing is dead in hip-hop? “Like a Blade of Grass” cleanly bleeds into “Parent Trap,” which finds Harlow tangoing with *NSYNC legend Justin Timberlake. Jack shows us where his head’s at when it comes to the haters praying on his downfall as his star continues to blossom.
The “WHATS POPPIN” rapper admits he could’ve been a niche artist in his own lane, but he wants to compete on the highest of levels with the biggest rhymers in the world making centrist hip-hop. Hopefully, there’s more in the stash between JT and JH.
5. “Side Piece”
The 24-year-old slows the pace down on the album with “Side Piece,” where he ruminates about a certain love interest in the United Kingdom. At first, it wasn’t clear if this was going to be a record about women or some part of his exclusive Kentucky Fried Chicken meal. Using Snoop Dogg’s “Beautiful” sample to his advantage, Harlow pens a letter to his intercontinental “Side Piece” and reflects on his classmates trading in their middle school Abercrombie wardrobe for cocaine years later. How’s that for versatility?
4. “First Class”
Built around a catchy Fergie sample from 2006’s “Glamorous,” “First Class” came out of the womb a hit with a 10-second teaser spreading like a wildfire on TikTok ensuring the inescapable snippet would be another anthem leading into the album for Harlow. Jack oozes confidence every time he rhymes and he speaks with so much conviction that listeners believe every word out of his mouth.
The only hiccup with “First Class” is it could’ve benefitted from Harlow starting his verses closer to the Fergie sample to keep the short and compact attention span of the TikTok Generation Z pumping the record’s stats up even longer.
3. “Like a Blade of Grass”
It’s tough to hear a bouncy beat like this and not want to groove your shoulders. Jack’s experimentation of getting more melodic is a welcomed change of pace on the album. He stimulates the mind by jumping perspectives between his own point of view to that of an everyday female fan critiquing his stardom and questioning his intentions with their relationship.
2. “Dua Lipa”
Just like most guys in their mid-20s, Jack Harlow has a crush on Dua Lipa. But the record is much more than a flirtatious shot in the British pop star’s direction. The Generation Now star prophesizes his plans to invade arenas on his next tour while sprinkling in name-dropping entertainment titans like Ariana Grande and Luka Doncic to somehow make the unlikely blend all work. “Dua Lipa” holds its own on the album while sandwiched between the colossal “First Class” and candid “Side Piece.”
1. “Churchill Downs” (feat. Drake)
Recorded during their bromance vacation in Turks in Caicos and then unfortunately leaked in April, Drizzy calmed Jack’s worries as it wasn’t his first rodeo with his records hitting the internet prematurely. Harlow actually went back in and added a handful of bars to his final verse before handing the baton over to the 6 God.
“Before I met Drizzy I knew he and I would get along/But it’s really hard to crack jokes when you really want advice,” he openly admits.
When one is trying to up-end Drake on a high-pitched sample-based instrumental, they’re usually going to come out on the short end of the stick. And that was the case here, as Drizzy defeats Jack 10-9 in the final round to claim victory.
Interestingly enough, radio legend Angie Martinez said Harlow gave her “Young Drake” vibes during their interview earlier this week.