DJ Drama has reflected back on the “white rapper” criticism he got after signing Jack Harlow to his Generation Now label.
The Gangsta Grillz mogul, who signed Harlow to the Atlantic Records imprint in 2018, spoke to Home Grown Radio about the initial pushback he received from the label in the wake of signing him but said he still signed Missionary Jack because of his talent.
“When I first met Jack I felt his ambition, his want to be one of the ones,” Drama recalled at the 70-minute mark. “I remember even from the label they were like, ‘Eh, white rapper?’ And I’m like, ‘Look, it’s not 2001. We’ve had plenty of examples of successful white rappers since Eminem. It can exist in the culture.’”
He continued: “And Jack was dope! Obviously, you see his skin color and it’s a big factor but the kid made incredible music. Lyrically, he was dope as fuck. Personality-wise he was just never trying to be something he wasn’t. He was very comfortable in his own skin in the culture within Hip Hop. I love that about him.
“Years later watching the videos come out of when he was a kid rapping and Kendrick complimenting it and Drake complimenting it, it just kinda shows how long he’s been at it.”
Check out Drama’s comments on Harlow below:
This isn’t the first time Drama has praised the Jackman rapper in recent weeks. In a previous interview with Bootleg Kev, Drama tipped his hat to Harlow for remaining loyal to him and the label.
“Jack’s just a solid guy,” Drama said in part. “Obviously, at 25 where he is with the type of success and the stardom, he’s not the same kid he was at 19, but he’s a very focused individual. He made the decision years ago to stop drinking and get in a workout regimen. He was really, really focused. I just think outside of rap music, he’s solid.”
The Louisville rapper most recently returned with Jackman on Friday (April 28), and raised some eyebrows when he compared his lyrical prowess to Eminem on the song “They Don’t Love It.”
“Ya boy’s strivin’ to be the most dominant ever/ The hardest white boy since the one who rapped about vomit and sweaters,” Harlow raps on the Hollywood Cole-produced joint. “And hold the comments ’cause I promise you I’m honestly better than whoever came to your head right then/ They ain’t cut from the same thread like him/ They don’t study, doin’ work to get ahead like him/ They don’t toss and turn in the fuckin’ bed like him.”
The lyrics are in reference to Em’s diamond-certified classic “Lose Yourself,” where Marshall Mathers raps: “His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy/ There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti.”
The internet had a lot to say about Jack Harlow’s braggadocious bars, with a few people pushing back on his claim on Twitter.
“No way Jack Harlow just said he’s better than Eminem. I’m off the Jack Harlow train bro,” one user wrote — even though Harlow’s bars don’t hear him say he’s “better” than Slim Shady.
Another added: “Jack harlow not better than eminem btw,” wrote one user, while another added:
Others applauded Jack’s hustle, with one user writing the bar was a “crazy ass thing to say but gotta respect it.”
Jackman serves as the follow-up to 2022’s Come Home the Kids Miss You, which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 with an estimated 113,000 total album-equivalent units sold in its first week. The No. 3 finish was a two-spot improvement over Harlow’s debut album That’s What They All Say, which peaked at No. 5 back in 2020.