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Jack Harlow, 'First Class'

Ever since Jack Harlow's song "WHAT'S POPPIN" blew up in the height of the pandemic almost two years ago, he's been inescapable, performing everywhere from the Grammys and SNL to the Kids' Choice Awards. That versatility across demographics is Harlow's strength: He has massive appeal and can't seem to lose.

Another of Harlow's strengths is that he's a goofball at heart – simultaneously in on and above the joke, always with a knowing wink. He knows what he's doing, and in his latest single "First Class," he games the Gen-Z algorithm to great effect.

Built around a sample of Fergie's timeless "Glamorous," "First Class" finds Harlow further dabbling in the space between dorky and affable – perhaps the key to his success. You can't help but root for him, even as he delivers objectively embarrassing lines about pineapple juice and Euphoria actor Angus Cloud; it helps to be aided by a clever sample spin with just the right amount of humorous nostalgia. Few rappers could sincerely incorporate a sample through lines like, "I been a (G), throw up the (L), sex in the (A-M)" and not have it sound eye-rollingly corny. But, then again, there's very little that Jack Harlow couldn't get away with.

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Reanna Cruz
Reanna Cruz is a news assistant for NPR Music's Alt.Latino.