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Meaning of the song ‘WHATS POPPIN’ by ‘Jack Harlow’

Released: 2020

In Jack Harlow’s hit song “WHATS POPPIN” the overall theme is centered on Harlow’s rise to success in the music industry and the lifestyle that accompanies it. He flexes his achievement, bountiful options in terms of women and money, and his growth as an artist, all while having fun doing it.

The track kicks off with a confident line “Brand new whip, just hopped in” a common hip-hop reference to having new expensive vehicles. He further states “I got options” indicating that he’s got multiple choices in life, particularly in regards to material possessions and romantic partners. “I could pass that bitch like Stockton” shows Harlow comparing himself to the legendary NBA player, John Stockton, known for his exceptional ability to pass the ball, a metaphor for Harlow navigating his new lifestyle.

Harlow carries on drawing sports-related analogies like “I could put the ball in the end zone”, a football reference implying that he’s capable of scoring or succeeding in his endeavors. He also references making a “top ten” appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter, another nod to his knack for victory and gaining recognition.

In the third verse, Harlow moves to a more introspective space, talking about the detachment he feels from some friends and the resentment he feels coming his way, a common situation for those who find success. His line about sharing a section with the Cardinals at the club, is about him popping bottles with his local basketball team, Louisville Cardinals, showcasing his hometown pride and his new elevated status.

While Harlow continues to enjoy his fame, he remains conscious of the potential downfalls and distractions. The lyric “I’m drinking water and wearing protection” can be seen as an embodiment of this awareness. It’s a declaration of self-care, both physically, with the explicit mention of hydration, but also metaphorically about protecting himself amidst the hazards that come with stardom.

Harlow ends the song similar to how he began, reminding listeners of his newly acquired wealth, his flexibility in choice, and his focus on his music. He informs everyone that he’s not going back to where he started: “Y’all wasn’t tuned in back then,” and he’s not interested in helping those late to his party: “I ain’t doing no verse, quit asking”.

The song is a charismatic reflection of Harlow’s rise in the hip-hop industry and an assertion of his place in it. He remains cautious and aware of his environment while simultaneously enjoying and leveraging the opportunities his hard-earned success provides.

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