Song You Need To Know: Jack Harlow, 'Thru The Night' - Rolling Stone
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Song You Need To Know: Jack Harlow Featuring Bryson Tiller, ‘Thru The Night’

A sample of Usher’s “U Don’t Have To Call” anchors the verse from the Louisville rapper

Jack Harlow backstage at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in 2019.

Nick Karp for Rolling Stone

Jack Harlow‘s “Thru The Night” is a sickeningly savvy product. The chart appeal of a white rapper on a song featuring a Bryson Tiller verse, a pitched-up sample of Usher’s “U Don’t Have To Call, all set in a roller rink music video is an idea destined for at least some algorithm-aided success. Depending on your mileage, it either comes off as cloyingly nostalgic or a truly effective piece of pop.

Personally, I am what you might call a “fan” of Tiller’s [Ed. Note: The writer’s affection for Bryson Tiller appears boundless, to the point of inexplicability] and think Harlow has a lot of potential in small doses. Normally, Bryson and Jack aren’t logical matches on paper, despite both hailing from Kentucky. One is a white rapper with a laidback flow and penchant for slice-of-life verses, while the other is an R&B/Rap hybrid who is equally relatable, albeit with a considerable amount of more intensity. Surprisingly, the two styles mesh as they let the Usher sample anchor the hook, while they deliver two entertaining, if brief, verses. Any song that features Tiller rapping “Know my soul isn’t trapped” with no hint of irony automatically needs to be hung in the rafters.

During an interview with Billboard, Harlow described how he finally secured the Tiller feature. “I was in Las Vegas with [DJ] Drama, and Bryson’s assistant was there with us,” he shared. “Bryson and I have been cool on social media, but we’ve never had any direct contact. In the club I told her, “I got a record.” The next morning, she texted me, “Don’t forget to send me that song. I sent it, and then he DM’d me saying it was hard. He didn’t do it right away, but I saw him at [the Kentucky] Derby and was like, “Yo, I’m ready for that verse. I got a project coming.” He knocked it out after we saw each other in person, and then we got to chop it up for real.”

Find a playlist of all of our recent Songs You Need to Know selections on Spotify.


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