Jack Harlow meets a Detroit inspiration before Lions halftime set


If you caught Jack Harlow’s performance during Thursday’s Detroit Lions game, you may have picked up on a quick tribute near the end.

“Big shout-out to Cadillac Dale and Skilla Baby,” the rapper said before launching into his latest hit.

Cadillac Dale is a veteran Detroit singer-songwriter-producer whose 1995 R&B song “Whatever (Bass Solique)” provides the catchy hook in Harlow’s “Lovin on Me.” Harlow’s single debuted at No. 1 last week on Billboard’s hip-hop chart while clocking in at No. 2 on the pop side.

Thursday, just before Harlow’s six-minute halftime set at the nationally televised Thanksgiving Day game, Cadillac Dale got his first chance to meet with the Kentucky rapper. The two warmly greeted each other on the Ford Field sidelines.

“Thank you,” Harlow said, grasping Dale’s shoulders.

“Thank you, man,” the white-bearded Detroit singer replied, adding that the success of Harlow’s single is having a big impact on him and his family.

Harlow noted that the 1995 song’s beat and melody made the writing easy when he embarked on “Lovin on Me.”

Cadillac Dale is planning a re-release of the original song, said his manager, Toya Hankins. He also has a large body of work, much of it in a throwback 1990s style, that he will be pitching to artists for further sampling and collaboration opportunities. The team is talking with music publishing companies on that front, Hankins said.

“He’s got more than 100 songs in the can we’ll be trying to connect people with,” she said.

Cadillac Dale has a writing credit on the Harlow hit, where he’s listed under his legal name, Delbert Greer. In 1995 — then going simply by the stage name Dale — he released “Whatever” on the independent label Futuristic Records as part of a five-song EP titled “Soulful Moaning 95.” Today, he says the music was about “bringing that New Jack Swing vibe to Detroit.”

Harlow’s “Lovin on Me,” which went viral on TikTok before its official Nov. 10 release, is built on a sped-up sample of the 1995 song’s vocals and fat, slinky bass line.

More: The Detroit Lions history in Thanksgiving Day games

More: You might be thankful for the Detroit Lions but what are they thankful for?

As for Harlow’s shout-out to Skilla Baby? That rising artist, a protégé of fellow Detroit rapper Sada Baby, has been turning heads across the hip-hop scene. The chorus of “Lovin on Me” features its own salute to the Motor City up-and-comer: “I get love in Detroit like Skilla Baby,” Harlow raps.

Harlow and Skilla Baby also met up before the halftime set.

Harlow was joined by the Detroit Lions cheerleaders for his Thanksgiving show at halftime of the Lions’ battle with the Green Day Packers, performing the songs “Tyler Herro,” “Whats Poppin,” “Industry Baby” and “First Class” before wrapping with “Lovin on Me.”

Contact Detroit Free Press music writer Brian McCollum: 313-223-4450 or [email protected].


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