A Lyrical Anaylsis of Jack Harlow’s ‘Ambitious’

Jack Harlow, a Mic Drop Music favorite (Kentucky Born and Bred for Stardom), has majestically floated his way back into our realm with the latest release of his 10-track solo album, Jackman. Jackman shares a deeper look inside the Kentucky native’s journey in the music industry and his evolution as a person. Although Jack is known for his flirty persona and suave delivery, his lyrics show there is much more than meets the eye.

There are zero features on this album — listeners get blessed with Jack, Jack, and more Jack. His ability to allow his emotions and unique style is what attracted me to Jack Harlow as an artist initially. Today I’ll be highlighting the track “Ambitious” off the new album and providing a deeper lyrical analysis.

Instagram: @jackharlow

And it’s Not Just his lyrics that stand out..

Jackman was full of several notable changes in overall production style and tempo as well. His past few projects have featured songs that became go-to party tracks with high-energy vibes. I have noticed that in his career, the high energy tracks are the ones that become more viral and mainstream. When you dive deeper into his discography, the shift in energy is evident.

Not to say I don’t appreciate his work that has popped off and become more mainstream, but I think his more thoughtful and intellectual pieces deserve attention and recognition (queue Gazebo IMO). This album is a more thoughtful piece, with multiple stories to share. The topics Jack touches on in here aren’t light, but if you listen intently, you can hear his truth.

We will dissect “Ambitious” as it adequately describes the transition for Jack in a nutshell.

Let’s break it down verse by verse.

Verse 1:

Ambitious fourteen-year-old
Grades goin’ down as I’m stack in’ up zeros
Peach fuzz comin’ in
Cool kid, but my hair cut like I’m a weirdo
Peyton Siva, Montrezl Harrell
Scuffed-up kicks, Old Navy my apparel
And I’m cummin’ in my girl like I’m sterile
Totaled my whip, I thought I had the green arrow
I was never meant to be a college applicant
Fuck I look like goin’ to college after this

Class clown type that like to holla at the chicks
Friend group solid as it gets
Recordin’ in my room won’t be air conditioner all up in the mix
Did a couple local shows, okay, my following exists

Even if it’s fifteen high school chicks
Better than a front row of dicks
One day I’m gon’ be front row at the Knicks
Wait until the world gеts a load of this (Ooh)

Verse 1: “Ambitious” by Jack Harlow

The Analysis:

At fourteen years old, Jack is thinking about his life path and realizing that college isn’t an option for him. What he does know is that he has a solid group of friends he can trust and that support the vision. From the recording sessions in his room with the AC in the background, to the humble local shows, they’ve always been there (see highlighted text above in Verse 3: “Ambitious” by Jack Harlow).

Verse 2:

Ambitious nineteen-year-old
I just signed a deal, now my neck sub-zero
Mustache coming in, I really want a beard though
And I really think this might be my year though
Suddenly, I’ve made some Moncler, my apparel
Playin’ dive bars and stoppin’ at Cracker Barrel
No security, my brothers gon’ step, Will Ferrell
Gettin’ high, gettin’ drunk, no more straight and narrow for me
Street raps make me ask if this the era for me
Is the playing field fair or is it fairer for me? Whew

A couple karats in my ears enough karats for me
I’m feelin’ like the local scene finally cherishing me
Selling out my hometown so my parents can see
Charismatic, naive, young, arrogant teen
Givin’ everything I got to the American dream
But I’m still playing 1 PM sets at the festivals
Looking at the crowd, they embarrassed for me, jeez

Verse 2: “Ambitious” by Jack Harlow

The analysis:

At nineteen years old, Jack signs his first deal. One foot into the industry, he begins to look at his competition around him and questions his place in the community (see highlighted text above in Verse 2: “Ambitious” by Jack Harlow) . Jack is experiencing some imposter syndrome at this phase. He’s playing shows at 1 PM and feels like he’s received some recognition, but still seeking validation from his community.

Verse 3:

Ambitious twenty-four-year-old
Used to have dreams of being friends with my heroes
Now I’m Andrea Pirlo out in Europe spending euros
French girl chewin’ on my earlobe
Here goes nothing, coasting through customs
Take away the phones at afterparties, we don’t trust ’em
Heartthrob status, I’ve adjusted to the lustin’
FaceTime calls about God from Justin

“I can’t stop hustlin’, I can’t stop hustlin'”
I’m tryna be inspired, but y’all ain’t got nothin’
They tryna downplay me now, ain’t that somethin’?
I saw that comin’
Readin’ way too many articles about myself, I gotta fall back from it
Auditioned for a lead and got the call back from it
I’m festival headlinin’, keepin’ them heads noddin’

I tell her I’ll be back, but I don’t know when the next time is
Folks think it’s ’bout to be more actin’ and less rhymin’
But hell nah, I gotta show these boys who the best out is

Verse 3: “Ambitious” by Jack Harlow

The Analysis:

At 24 years old, Jack is experiencing the consequences of his blow up. He’s traveling overseas, playing shows, exploring his acting career (White Men Can’t Jump), and is actively noticing the differences in his social and daily life (see highlighted text above in Verse 3: “Ambitious” by Jack Harlow).

Give credit where credit is due

As one who appreciates art in all forms, particularly of the musical medium, this project is one to appreciate over and over again. We can all enjoy mumble rap and mainstream hyper pop from time to time, but being gifted a lyrical masterpiece that showcases so many different parts of a person (so deeply to this extent) is art that deserves to be loved slowly and tenderly.

Not only is “Ambitious” on repeat, but I’ve included a few other honorable mentions sprinkled within this article.

I invite you to share intentional space with these tracks and explore the messages you receive with others.

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