Jack Harlow has said that the Harry Potter books are responsible for bringing out a competitive side in his personality that has boded well for his career.
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The rapper, whose collaboration with Lil Nas X, ‘Industry Baby’, landed him his first Number One single earlier this year, referenced J.K. Rowling’s fantasy novels during an acceptance speech at the Variety Hitmakers Brunch on Saturday (December 4).
Accepting the Hitmaker of Tomorrow award, Harlow recalled how avid reading and a school competition set him up for writing lyrics as well as rap music’s competitiveness nature.
“When I was in the second grade, I went to an elementary school that had a competitive program. You could read a book and then take a quiz on that book, and if you passed the quiz, indicating you had really read the book, you would get awarded a certain amount of points,” he said.
“The bigger more challenging the book, the more points you earned. I read every book I could find. I read all the Harry Potter books. Boy, those Harry Potter books are worth some points,” he continued.
“So we get to the end of the school year and there’s a big assembly. The entire school is there, in my memory at least it feels like a stadium full of people. The climax of this assembly is the staff announcing the top three students who had read the most, or at least, had been credited the most points for reading.
“In third place they announce some fifth grader, he goes up and they give him his trophy. Second place, another fifth grader – he goes up, they give him a trophy. And in first place, a second grader, they called my name. And I had beat the entire school. I won by a landslide, I probably had quadruple whatever second place had.”
After realising that he’d won, the young Harlow went up to accept his award with his “buzzcut, eyeglasses and crooked teeth”.
He continued: “Before today, that’s the only time in my life I’ve ever gotten up in front of a crowd and won an award. I just want to be clear, as a kid I was a little more of an introvert. Or at least I allowed myself to be an introvert. I wasn’t silent, I had friends, but I was much more comfortable just observing and enjoying my own thoughts. I think if you took a picture of me on this stage and showed that kid, he’d be pretty blown away.
“But to be honest, all the ingredients were there. It was a competition and it brought out the competitor in me, which is a big part of the genre I’m in. All that reading is what made me the writer I am now, and I’m pretty sure it’s what’s going to make me the Hitmaker of Tomorrow. So thank you so much, I really appreciate y’all.”
Speaking in a recent interview, Harlow was asked about West’s “doom aesthetic”, referring to his current fashion choices and the cult energy surrounding his recent stadium gatherings to promote new album ‘DONDA’.
“I think he sees himself as Mozart or Beethoven,” Harlow told GQ. “I think he’s worried, not about what it looks like now but what it will look like in 100 years.”