I don’t want to be the one to say it. But is Jack Harlow’s “Whats Poppin” song of the summer? As heartbreaking as it is to assign a bop to a summer where very few heads are stuck out car windows, screaming lyrics to the wind, and where baddies can’t freak it for their friends on the dance floor, the hits have not let up. The 22-year-old year Louisville native’s TikTok-famous song has been slowly but steadily rising on the charts (not for lack of streams — the music video alone has over 74 million views). But with the release of a “Whats Poppin” remix featuring DaBaby, Tory Lanez, and Lil Wayne, it jumped ten spots to No. 8 last week, earning Jack Harlow his first Billboard Top 10, and another six spots to No. 2 on July 6.
“Whats Poppin” dropped pre-pandemic on January 21, with a video produced by Lyrical Lemonade and directed by Cole Bennett. The song quickly exploded on TikTok, especially thanks to its Pooh Beatz and JetsonMade–made beat. The “Whats Poppin” Glo-Up trend starts with a montage of your younger photos, then cuts to the new, improved, glo’d-up you when the beat drops out, lip-syncing “What’s poppin’?” like you’re flirting at a bar. It could also be a revenge thing, with captions like, “To all the guys who rejected me …” What’s poppin’ now? The glo-up inspo was perfectly in line with our vision for the new year. But just like how we were supposed to be doing a Dua Lipa “full 180,” suddenly the lyrics “I’ma spend this holiday locked in / My body got rid of them toxins” now mean something totally different. And with everyone literally locked inside, the TikToks just kept coming. Along with the glo-ups, the “If You Like” trend started, where guys list their attributes and qualifications then ask “What’s poppin’?” There are “Whats Poppin” dances, “Whats Poppin” skits, and more all over the app.
The song, off his EP Sweet Action, is a major breakout for Harlow, whose raps have earned him attention since he was in high school. There are over 400,000 TikToks set to the track, earning millions and millions of views and, frankly, I could just be talking about the one TikTok Charli D’Amelio made to it where she says “What’s poppin’” to her dog. With its fame, the song has only gained more clout for the rapper, especially since getting co-signs from some of the biggest names in rap right now; at No. 2, it caught up to another TikTok favorite from this year, DaBaby’s “Rockstar” featuring Roddy Ricch. As it takes over AirPods and airwaves, “Whats Poppin” could go past “SportsCenter, top ten” all the way to No. 1.