Jack Harlow is a confusing rapper. He blends words and flows through sunny rhyme schemes without much trouble but fails to deliver much more than indistinct, soulless bars. On “Come Home The Kids Miss You”, Harlow’s latest album, the young MC flourishes his flashy personality by means of lofty and shallow boasts. He is far from shy, often to his own detriment, and while his technical skill has improved, his all around musical output has already experienced a creative tumble downward from his freshman debut to this sophomore effort. To put it simply, Jack Harlow’s music is extremely hot and cold.

Though not by a particularly large margin, Harlow has improved as an MC since his previous work. This can be seen primarily in his both smoother and denser rhyme schemes, such as these lines on the opening track “Talk Of The Town.”

“New levels, new devils, Dundee Way, I’m a rebel
Walkin’ through my parent’s house, forgot I had a Grammy medal
Old heads from the scene back then could tell that I was special
Young Jack, ain’t no lookin’ back, look where that could get you”

This improvement can also be noted in the rapper’s flow, for as Harlow moves through lines like these he does so with little obstruction. This is not necessarily a stunning feat per se, for most of what Harlow spits is not particularly complex in form and does not require his skills to be especially elastic. Still, the way Jack Harlow raps on “Come Home” is a step up from his previous work and can be seen as an evolution from that of earlier projects going all the way back to his first mixtape “18”.

The production on “Come Home”, though on one hand crisp and clean, also often sounds a bit cheap. The album’s second track, “Young Harleezy” is defined by its light piano work and notable percussion grooves. While the slight variation of drums on this track are a welcomed touch, they are a bit too on the nose. The guiding piano is the same way, perhaps sounding a bit too clean to give this track any real character. It’s possible that this is meant to fit the glossy feel of the project as a whole but, ultimately, it just renders the song impersonal, something that is done more than enough by Harlow’s words.

What weighs this album down so heavily, however, is its utter lack of substance. Rather than speak on anything of personal or social value, Harlow chooses to spend his time on the mic bragging about his luxury status. This type of talk is bland and stale. It is glitzy, but not particularly stylish as it lacks the depth of any truly meaningful come up story.

“First Class”, for example, talks a big game of the dazzling life Harlow can offer a love interest, yet rather than the track describing or complimenting this person, it’s merely a show off session that revolves almost solely around himself. This is demonstrated with lines like,

“Tryna come the same day as Jack? Rethink it
You don’t need Givenchy, you need Jesus
Why do y’all sleep on me? I need reasons
Uh, I got plaques in the mail, peak season”

And on the second verse he raps,

“Can’t lie, I’m on Angus, Cloud 9
I got ’em on the bandwagon now, ’bout time
I ain’t even got no downtime
Every time I speak, she say, ‘Yeah, that sounds fine'”

Harlow’s overconfident attitude is detrimental to his music. While many great rappers are just as cocky, if not more so, they support their braggadocio lyrically. When Harlow raps, however, even if he tells the truth about his extravagant success, he simply comes across as talking shit. The Fergie sample used here is not an altogether negative attribute, but the clever and, well, glamorous use of it alone surely does not save this track.

It can also be argued that “Come Home” isn’t even up to par with Harlow’s previous, less experienced work, “That’s What They All Say”. There are several reasons to believe this. For one, the monotonously high flying, luxurious tone of “Come Home The Kids Miss You” is considerably less memorable than that of the rapper’s more varied freshman effort, an album that found Harlow more aware of sonic aspects of his music, at the very least to the extent of implementing more colorful musical dynamics.

Tracks off that record often contrasted and complemented each other well, such as “Face of My City” which held a more energetic and even aggressive energy and “Funny Seeing You Here”, a track which brought soft piano chords backed by soulful vocal samples as well as interesting staccato bass bumps along with snares and claps.

Harlow brings several guests onto “Come Home”. Both Drake and Lil Wayne contribute to this album, for example. In both of these cases, however, despite their big name recognition, these artists don’t achieve what might be hoped for, which is to give some spark to this otherwise bland project.

Jack Harlow’s attempts at grandiose appeal ultimately fall short on “Come Home The Kids Miss You”. The young rapper fails to inspire or interest and his attempts at grand standing charm are without merit. If Harlow continues to proceed on the route he has steered onto on “Come Home”, the energy behind his success will likely burn out fast as his hollow rapping will eventually be exposed as just that.

Jack Harlow :: Come Home The Kids Miss You
4Overall Score