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Meaning of the song ‘Denver’ by ‘Jack Harlow’

Released: 2023

“Denver” by Jack Harlow is an introspective and self-aware track delving into the Kentucky rapper’s struggle with fame, the pressures of being in the spotlight, and his relationship with his own self-image. Harlow’s words depict a surreal journey into the trials faced by accomplished artists in Hip-Hop, reflecting on the reality of fame and its often-deflating fallout.

The track’s opening line “Wonder, oh why this ever had to be?” sets the tone for an introspective journey into Harlow’s psyche. His initial verses reflect on how fame has desensitized him, seen in lines like “Just got off the stage on the Today Show and I basically felt soulless”, and “Ignorance is bliss and so is being underground ’cause it was fun when we were known less”. He’s admitting that the fun and novelty of fame have dissolved, and now it’s more of a struggle to manage expectations and public image.

Harlow continues this thread in the second verse, where he reveals the origins of the track: “I wrote that first verse in Denver back in September”. He catalogues the changes in his life since his rise to fame, acknowledging his insecurity and unease with lines like “But deep down, I find myself wondering if the people that write about are right about me”. Despite his success, Harlow is transparently open about his struggles, painting a picture of the mental toll taken by the constant criticism and attention.

His lines “I’m a long way from Shelby County / I been through some local tension, heard talks of a healthy bounty” underscore his growing disconnection from his roots. Here, he’s expressing his weariness with fame and the struggle to stay grounded, indicating that success has set him apart from his origins in Shelby County, Kentucky, and that he’s finally feeling the weight of his new lifestyle.

To close, Harlow returns to the refrain ‘Wonder, oh why this ever had to be?’. This recurring background query is indicative of Harlow’s ongoing struggle to reconcile his current fame-struck reality with his less complicated past. It’s a profound expression of weighing the costs and benefits of stardom, a theme prevalent throughout the track. “Denver” is a veritable thesis in the exploration of fame’s underbelly, set to the beats of hip-hop.

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