If Jack Harlow has any say in it, he’s looking to have one of the songs of the summer for a third consecutive year. Following the runaway successes of “What’s Poppin” and “Industry Baby,” “First Class” arrives with a perfect storm of nostalgia, TikTok support, and a traditional earworm of a hook. Produced by Rogét Chahayed, BabeTruth, Charlie Handsome, Jasper Harris & Nickie Jon Pabón, “First Class” is Jack’s second single from his forthcoming album Come Home the Kids Miss You. The new single follows the brassy “Nail Tech” which peaked at No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Megan Thee Stallion and Dua Lipa may have invoked the spirit of Fergie on “Sweetest Pie,” but Jack literally revives her voice with a sample of her beloved hit single “Glamorous.” “First Class” commences with a few seconds of warbling synths, yet the entrance of Jack’s hook still feels a bit abrupt. The hook and sample do all of the heavy lifting here. As Fergie spells out “glamorous” letter by letter, Jack raps lines that conclude with the first four letters that Fergie sings in the background. Slowing down the sample and lowering its pitch was a smart move; the track gets enough bite from the production to feel urgent, while Jack’s naturally relaxed tone still keeps the song squarely in the “chill” category. The song functions as a victory lap of sorts where Jack celebrates his success and boasts about his superiority; “Why do y’all sleep on me? I need reasons / Uh, I got plaques in thе mail, peak season,” he spits.
“First Class” isn’t groundbreaking, but it smartly assembles a slew of elements that optimize it for maximum success. The Fergie sample is perfect not just because it fits beautifully, but also because Jack’s audience largely consists of young listeners that are reaching the age where they can recognize samples from songs that dominated their childhoods. Furthermore, with references to Euphoria’s Angus Cloud and the dialogue framing that drew so many people to “Already Best Friends,” Jack is tapping into other moments of the cultural zeitgeist while creating his own. I’ve previously written about the overt Drake influence on Jack’s sound and image, and “First Class” — with all of its nods to “Nice For What” — is yet another example of it.