Hip Hop Awards ‘20: 5 Things To Know About Nominee Jack Harlow

The Kentucky native has been steadily bubbling up over the years and now it’s his moment.

For many, it may seem as if Jack Harlow’s success came overnight. But fans who’ve been around for the long haul know that the 22-year-old rapper has been one his grind since he was a teenager.

His breakthrough moment came in 2017 with the release of his acclaimed mixtape, Gazebo. The track “Dark Knight” unexpectedly blew up, landing him on DJ Drama’s radar, who then signed him to his Generation Now imprint. The Kentucky-bred native has been steadily bubbling up over the years, and now it’s his moment.

In January 2020, the 22-year-old artist dropped “WHATS POPPIN,” and, quite literal to its name, the track took off. The song rapidly took over the Billboard chart, peaking at No. 2 on the Hot 100 following its viral success on TikTok. This past August, Harlow earned a spot on XXL’s 2020 Freshman Class.

And now, Harlow is nominated for Best New Hip Hop Artist at the 2020 BET Hip Hop Awards.

Here are five facts you should know about the rising rap star ahead of the award show on Tuesday (October 27) at 9 PM ET.

RELATED: Lil Wayne To Perform At The 2020 BET Hip Hop Awards

  • The Louisville, Kentucky-bred rapper started writing rhymes when he was 12 years old.

    Growing up, his mother was an avid fan of hip hop and Harlow naturally gravitated towards the medium as well. “I was always into writing, when I was in school I liked writing papers and writing in general,” he told DJ Booth in 2018. “Hip-hop was a new way to do it. I’ve always said that every kid wants to be a rapper, whether they do it or not, I feel like most kids have written a rap. It was just a dope way to express myself.”

  • Harlow nearly signed a record deal with Def Jam early in his career.

    As Jack Harlow's rap skills grew, it wasn’t long until the music industry took notice. Harlow was just 14 when his parents began receiving calls from people who wanted to manage their son, according to the Louisville Magazine, including meeting with Justin Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun. While that opportunity did not pan out, Harlow wound up crossing paths with then-Def Jam president Joie Manda, who offered him a deal. However, while they were in the midst of negotiations, Manda departed from the Def Jam. With his future on the label uncertain, his parents ultimately decided to pass on the deal.

  • Movies are a big source of inspiration.

    “I like movies as much if not more than music. I think a lot of it attributes to my writing style. Some of my music has been described as cinematic, and I don’t know how intentional that was, but I like to paint pictures,” Jack told Terrence J on REVOLT’s “You Good?

    He continued, “I like conversation music. I like movies with a lot of dialogue. If anything, it’s even more of an artistic thing. I love characters. I love it when they say fly stuff.”

  • Outside of his parents’ musical influences, the 22-year-old credits his Kentucky upbringing for his diverse taste.

    “Louisville is a very soulful city, there’s a lot of culture. We’re kind of in this middle space in the US, so we’re absorbing from a lot of different places,” he explained to New Zealand publication Sniffers in March. “We like a lot of Detroit music in Louisville, but we also like a lot of Atlanta music as well. There’s all this influence from both the north and south.”

  • Harlow has a quirky sleeping habit.

    In 2018, Harlow was featured in XXL’s magazine interview series, The Break, where the rapper shared quite an usual tidbit about himself. When asked to share a detail about himself that most people don’t know, Harlow revealed that he likes to sleep in jeans when he goes to bed at night. He also added that he’s not a big fan of chocolate chips “at all.”

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