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How Andre 3000 helped Jack Harlow find his voice

@josephtaysom

Jack Harlow started rapping when he was a kid, but there was a lot of failed experimentation before Louisville’s favourite son finally found his voice which he puts down to Outkast’s Andre 3000.

The Kentucky native hasn’t just shot out of nowhere, and his rise has been an incremental one. He first rapped when he was 12, under the alias of ‘Mr Harlow’ and soon became the talk of the town. He’d regularly sell out venues in high school despite still being in education. Remarkably, he even headlined the 900-capacity Mercury Ballroom and opened up for Vince Staples.

However, Louisville was too small, and Harlow ambitiously decided to move to Atlanta. To begin with, it wasn’t easy, and he was working at Chick-fil-A to get by, but it changed when he caught the attention of DJ Drama which soon led to him signing with Atlanta Records in 2018.

If you listen to his early mixtapes, Harlow is a different rapper from the one who exists today, and he puts this down to Andre 3000. Speaking on the legendary YouTube series, Hot Ones, he discussed his transition and why listening to the Outkast member was crucial.

“I started before I hit puberty, and I used to get made fun of because you could tell that my nuts hadn’t dropped. My voice was so high, so the shift (happened) with puberty when it got deeper,” he explained.

Harlow continued: “I remember Andre 3000 talking about when he was with somebody in Organized Noize. He was in the basement, and they were like, ‘Bruh, stop doing that rap voice. Just talk, say the lyrics and talk them’. He said he went in the booth, and it changed everything for him. It clicked, and that’s kind of what’s happening with me.”

The rapper added: “I’m learning to fine-tune it because you don’t always want it to be conversational. You’ve gotta inject energy in the right moments. But I found when I started talking like I’m talking to you on the mic, it worked wonders. Too much inflexion is hard to buy into.”

Why not kill half an hour by watching Harlow take on the Hot Ones challenge below?