Jack Harlow to bring emerging hip-hop to M-Shop

Jack Harlow is bringing his new hip-hop beats to the M-Shop Tuesday night.

Courtesy of SUB

Jack Harlow is bringing his new hip-hop beats to the M-Shop Tuesday night.


19-year-old Kentucky based rapper Jack Harlow is bringing his slick rhymes and unique aesthetic to the M-Shop Tuesday night. The show will be one of fourteen stops around the Southeast and Midwest on his “Gazebo” tour, which also features The Homies.

The rapper dropped his first mixtape, titled “Finally Handsome,” at age 16. His latest mixtape, “Gazebo,” released last November. The “Gazebo” tour features many dates surrounding Harlow’s hometown, Louisville, Kentucky, but the tour also explores college towns in the Midwest.

“There’s more of a potential for people to just pull-up whether they know the artist or not,” Harlow said when discussing performing in a college atmosphere. “People are more receptive to something new.”

“Gazebo” features Harlow’s bounciest and in-your-face creation yet, “Dark Knight.” Across the track, Harlow raps about having writer’s block and feeling burnt out before the release of the song.

“When I heard the beat, I got inspired real quickly. I hadn’t been rapping on those types of beats. So, when I heard it I was like I don’t care what’s going on, I know I’ve been feeling burnt out, I’m about to go write,” Harlow said.

“Dark Knight” was an introduction to Jack Harlow for many, but the young artist made it known that he wants to be unpredictable.  

“It’s a privilege to be able to drop a song like ‘Dark Knight’ that opens me up to a whole new audience of people that like that type of sound and then drop a project right after that doesn’t have one other song that sounds like that and people are still rocking with it,” Harlow said. “I’d like to hone it in more and just have a sound for myself, but you know, I’m still young.”

Diving deeper into Jack Harlow’s online hip-hop catalog, one will find a coming-of-age story with Harlow at the center. His lyrics focus on self-esteem, his growing infatuation with girls, his relationships with friends and his quest to make it big.

“Overall, you want to be someone people feel like they can resonate with,” Harlow said on his relatability to his audience.

Harlow explained that the connection with his audience is important, but he also went into the challenges he anticipates as a growing artist.

“The further you go in this music thing the fewer common person life experiences you have,” Harlow said. “It’s important to put yourself in other people’s shoes or common experiences again regardless of the money you have or to reach back to previous selves for inspiration.”

Jack Harlow grew up listening to classic hip-hop acts such as OutKast, A Trible Called Quest, and Eminem. Harlow also built a strong following in his high school and hometown Louisville, KY, where he now sells out shows. Since age 12, he’s been rising to fame by making music and uploading his work to the internet on sites like Soundcloud and YouTube.

“My following has to be built online just because of the time we’re in, but I don’t think that necessarily puts you in a box. A lot of artists get put in a box just because the website they blow up on or the style of their music,” Harlow said. “Regardless of what box I get thrown into or what type of artist people say I am, I am going to be an internet-age artist because everything is the internet right now.”

Despite Jack Harlow’s internet fame, he expressed that a goal of his was to become big enough to drop off social media completely. 

“I do everything I can to stay off that,” Harlow said regarding social media. 

“How a lot of people will perceive it is, like, I want to have the same mystique as artists like Kanye West and Frank Ocean and other artists like that. I think mystique is important but, like, it’s for my own well-being,” Harlow said.

“Sometimes there’s information you got to ignore. You scroll and you scroll, and you’re sucking stuff in, and you don’t get to choose what it is,” Harlow said. “It’s hard because there’s a lot of gratification that comes off going on there. I like seeing if my followers are up, I like checking my messages, I like seeing if someone big shouted me out.”

Jack Harlow has a lot of directions he may go and many ways to grow as a young artist. He emphasizes that his biggest sources of inspiration are the sources close to him.

“I talk to a lot of friends and artists about how they like to create because I’m still getting my creative process together,” Harlow said. “For the most part it’s something you got to deal with on your own and navigate.”

Harlow spoke about how being on tour has influenced what he’s going to create next.

“When I get off this tour I’m definitely going to be creating with the live setting in mind,” Harlow said. “The more you perform, the more you realize: wow, I want to have fun out there.”

The show starts at 8 p.m. and doors open at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for ISU students and $14 for the public and can be purchased at the M-Shop box office or online via midwestix.com.