×

Grammy nominated rapper Jack Harlow, Variety’s Hitmaker cover star, dropped what is presumably the first single from his next album late Thursday: “Nail Tech,” his first new solo release since his major-label debut album “That’s What They All Say,” released 14 months ago.

Just hours after it dropped Kanye West took a break from promoting his new streaming service to give the song and Harlow a big (if loaded) cosign: “This n—a can raaaaaaap bro,” West wrote on Instagram. “And I’m saying n—a as a compliment Top 5 out right now.” (Hear the song and watch the video below.)

Harlow was quick to respond with effusive thanks. “This right here…is one of the greatest moments of my entire life,” he wrote on social media. “Glad y’all all get front row seats to it…suddenly all the hate means nothing…imagine your hero saying this about you…I could cry.”

Harlow spoke about his admiration for West in an unpublished segment from Variety’s interview late last year. During a part of the conversation where he spoke about artists controlling their image and “brand,” he mentioned “Kanye notes.” Asked what they were, Harlow replied:

“[It’s like he’s saying his identity is] ‘always gonna shift, and I can always steer the narrative and reinvent. I’m not pigeonholed, and who I am right now and the music I’m making has nothing to do with where I’m gonna be in a year.’ That’s Kanye notes — you can’t tell Kanye what he is and what he isn’t. I salute that so much.

“Each album has a different identity,” he continued. “They told him he couldn’t do the fashion thing and he took it over; they told him he couldn’t rap. He’s thinking 100 years ahead — he knows whatever he’s doing now is gonna age, and people are gonna look at it like, ‘Wow, he was on some different shit.’ I appreciate his foresight. His whole career has been defiant: ‘You don’t tell me who I am, I tell you who I am. I decide my reality. I choose.’”

Asked if he believes that things like West’s embrace of Trump and Marilyn Manson might be for shock value, Harlow responded, “I think that could easily be the case,” to laughter, “but I know he’s a true artist.”

Asked if those things bother him, he replied, “Nah, he doesn’t bother me, he inspires me.”

Oddly, Harlow also is friends with West’s apparent arch-enemy, Pete Davidson — the two have appeared in several video skits together…

Also in the interview, Harlow spoke about what fans can expect from his next album, which seems likely to drop within the next few months.

“My songs are very intimate, and a lot of my fans say they feel like they’re having a conversation with me,” he said. “I love that and don’t ever want to lose it, but there’s a certain feeling, when I’m performing, that some songs are hitting the back wall of the room instead of the first five rows, and I’m excited to have more of that. Before, I wanted to show off my subtlety, but now I feel like my tone is more commanding — there’s more presence, more personality. This one has a lot more of my DNA all over it: I’m acting as a producer for the first time. I know my venues are about to get bigger, and I want my music to connect out there. I wanna turn up!”