What qualifies someone to be the “internet’s boyfriend?” There’s something about a man who divides the internet and turns friends into enemies, arguing about whether they “see it” or not. When a man sparks as much debate as he does fanfiction, it takes over the internet — this is what I like to call “the Pete Davidson effect” — and Jack Harlow most definitely has it.
The 24-year-old rapper has significantly risen in fame and popularity over just the past year, though he’s been rapping since he was a kid. TikTok has played a huge part in his career, with both his first Grammy-nominated hit “What’s Poppin” and his newest single “First Class” going viral on the platform.
You know how they say confidence is key? That’s true of Jack Harlow. There’s something about the way he carries himself — and I don’t just mean physically, but yes, his 6’3” height has him doing the tall boy waddle that makes us swoon. He has charm, charisma and self-awareness that’s well beyond his years. We’re investigating what it is about Jack Harlow that has the internet unhinged.
He’s funny AF
Not to be cliché, but he has a good personality. Anyone who gets roped into the Harlow fandom — “wh*reloes” or “harlh*es” as they so affectionately like to be called — watches any and every interview they can get their hands on. He has a way of answering questions with a sense of seriousness while throwing in the most out-of-pocket, vulgar jokes.
He also happens to possess a sense of charm, treading the fine line between being arrogant or cocky, which ends up radiating confidence. The video of him shooting his shot with Saweetie at the 2021 BET Awards went viral, and though it could’ve gone terribly wrong, it earned him some points. His blatant honesty, whether it’s lyrically or in interviews, comes across as genuine. The internet still won’t let him forget his claim that he wants eight daughters during his “Chicken Shop Date” with Amelia Dimoldenburg. His comments were flooded with offers and references to the claim, telling him “come home, the kids miss you” — the name of his sophomore album coming out this Friday. If that isn’t an ode to his fans, I don’t know what is.
He’s a respectful king
Understanding that female fans undoubtedly run the pop culture industry is probably the best thing you can do when you’re trying to make it big, and Harlow and his team have definitely tapped into that. He has a group of die-hard, loyal fans who dedicate their free time to running fan accounts and travelling around the country attending every show of his that they can. He knows them by name and acknowledges them when he spots them in the crowd.
Harlow has undoubtedly mastered knowing the difference between the male gaze and the female gaze, and how to cater to the latter. As mentioned in Harper’s Bazaar, he is aware and appreciative that his fanbase is mainly made up of Black women. He shows respect for them that many other rappers aren’t mindful of. As a white rapper in the hip hop industry, people are understandably wary of letting him take up space in this genre. However, Harlow manages to pay his dues to hip hop while catering to his female fans in a respectful way.
Though he was called out for keeping Tory Lanez and DaBaby on his “What’s Poppin” remix, rappers who have since been “cancelled,” he made it a point to show support for Megan Thee Stallion, who was reportedly shot by Lanez in 2020: “One thing’s for sure, is that Megan got shot. And I wish her nothing but love and respect,” he said. He’s also expressed his love and admiration for female rappers like Doja Cat and Nicki Minaj, stating he’d love to work with and learn from them.
He’s the industry’s baby
As Harlow reminds us on his last album, this definitely didn’t happen overnight. He’s been releasing albums since he was a teenager, and you can track his progress from that journey. He went from doing open mics to having a sold-out tour. If you listen to his music from old to new, you can literally hear his voice drop, his lyrics improve and his confidence grow.
2021 was a big year for him — he earned his second Grammy nomination for his feature with Lil Nas X, whom he was advised against working with as an openly gay rapper, but he wasn’t phased by that in the least. He openly shows his support for Lil Nas X whenever he gets the opportunity, and their friendship is top tier. He also gained recognition and a stamp of approval from two of his personal heroes — Drake and Kanye West. Who else can say they met and vacationed with their idol in the same year? He also earned himself a spot on the coveted Donda 2 album with Kanye West who called him one of the “top five out right now.”
The internet is still divided about Jack Harlow. While some are mesmerized by those perfect curls and baby blue eyes, others have claimed he bears resemblance to Mr. Tumnus from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe — a fact that he’s well aware of and laughs along at. Whether you “see it” or not, 2022 is Jack Harlow’s year, so get used to seeing him everywhere.