It’s common to see White rappers stake their claim in the industry and even excel above their Black counterparts. While it’s still a polarizing discussion that often ignites conversations about skill, style, and authenticity, fans have celebrated artists of all backgrounds in the Rap game for decades. Jack Harlow is Generation Now’s hitmaker that was steadily growing his buzz over the past few years, but when his breakout “What’s Poppin” dominated social media, the Kentucky native’s star reached new heights.
There was a debate among Rap fans this year after the BET Awards released their nominations, showing that Harlow had received three nods while other popular Black artists weren’t recognized. In a recent chat with Yahoo, Harlow spoke about being accepted within the Rap fold by his Black peers, as well as fans who have embraced his talents.
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“I feel blessed to have a voice in this period because, one, I’m not a street artist, and two, I’m not Black,” said Harlow. “The only thing keeping me here right now is that level of authenticity, of being myself.” Speaking specifically about Hip Hop’s transition from the 2008 to 2011 era, he added, “All of this stuff was coming into the fold and it had this energy surrounding it of, ‘We’re letting the White kids come to the party. We’re all in this together.'”
Harlow had conversations with fellow Kentucky rapper Nemo Achida about this more recent shift, especially as it pertains to the energy of protests and civil rights within Hip Hop. “[Achida] feels like the country going into these new civil rights moments almost shifted away from, ‘Let’s have the White boy at the party,” Harlow said. “It became less about let’s all be diverse together and turned back into Hip Hop being, ‘It needs to be a Black genre.’ That’s just been the natural transformation of things, I think.”
In 2020, Harlow took to the streets with thousands of others who marched against police brutality and for justice for Breonna Taylor. He told Yahoo that it was a “no-brainer” for him to advocate for Taylor, especially considering that the incident took place in his home state.