The Best and Worst of Rap This Week: Why Jack Harlow Is the White Rapper of the Moment and More

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Plus essentially the most pointless company on Pop Smoke’s album, a terrifying Plies Instagram video, and Bktherula’s gorgeous summer time anthem.

Jack Harlow
Jack Harlow. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Graphic by Collin Robinson.

Pitchfork’s weekly rap column covers songs, mixtapes, albums, Instagram freestyles, memes, dances, bizarre tweets, vogue developmentsand the rest that catches our consideration on the planet of hip-hop.

Jack Harlow and the feel-good white rapper expertise

Jack Harlow appears like a rapper you’ve heard earlier than. He generally is a down-to-earth everyman like Aminé or pre-fame Chance the Rapper. Or he generally is a puffed-chest fast-talker like DaBaby. Harlow’s hit “WHATS POPPIN”—presently the No. 2 music in America—is a not so delicate ripoff of a feel-good Baby on Baby monitor, all the way down to the breezy circulation, the beat by frequent DaBaby collaborator Jetsonmade, and the eccentric music video. (DaBaby, who occurs to carry the No. 1 song proper now, just lately blessed the monitor by turning up on a remix.) The reputation of “WHATS POPPIN” appears easy: Shameless trend-hopping plus TikTok virality plus a star-studded remix equals ubiquity. But nonetheless, there’s extra to it.

The “WHATS POPPIN” video was directed by Cole Bennett, the soiled blonde, Birkenstock-wearing, 24-year-old founding father of Lyrical Lemonade, which presently has 14.5 million subscribers on YouTube. Inspired by Chicago drill music movies, Bennett’s early success got here with clips for the Windy City rapper Famous Dex. 2016’s “Hit Em Wit It” was shot like a paint-by-the-numbers drill video—Dex and some members of his crew mob out in an empty condo. But the completed product consists of colourful animations on high of the footage that strip away the nightmarish really feel of drill movies, and as a substitute go for a extra playful tone. It seems like a drill video, with out making you confront the violence and poverty that mark most drill movies. By utilizing this candy-coated aesthetic as a basis, he stumbled upon a younger—and largely white—viewers who look to rap for fairytales.

Jack Harlow’s music is rather a lot like Cole Bennett’s movies. On “WHATS POPPIN,” Harlow brings a white-guy goofiness to a sound that’s usually a shade darker. So the video is strictly what you’ll anticipate: A enjoyable clip the place Harlow hangs out together with his crew and a few ladies in and out of doors of a late-night diner spot—it’s generic. Harlow is likable, and I’m usually charmed by him, too. He looks like the kind of man you’ll discover round a university campus, perhaps on the basketball courtroom or pumping a keg. With lyrics about consuming fettuccine and carrying bedazzled belts, “WHATS POPPIN” is the kind of music you’ll be able to simply throw on and never need to course of. An abundance of white rappers earlier than him have emerged in related vogue, skating by on brighter and easier variations of higher music. And although I’m in no way saying that Harlow deserves to be lumped in with the likes of Asher Roth and Lil Dicky, it simply feels vital to notice that “WHATS POPPIN” wouldn’t be the second-biggest music within the nation with out the comforting white face each TikTok and Lyrical Lemonade’s YouTube viewers love.

Five fairly beats on Westside Gunn’s Flygod Is an Awesome God 2

Westside Gunn has an unmatched ear for manufacturing. Even as his nasal supply turns into extra excessive, you’ll be able to at all times rely on the manufacturing he chooses. Here are a couple of of the most effective beats from his new album.