Late last year, Seattle emcee Macklemore and his production partner Ryan Lewis garnered national attention for their song, “Thrift Shop”, and an accompanying video that subsequently went viral.
1. Thrift Shop
2. Same Love feat. Mary Lambert
The song has been a point of contention for many in an age where hip hop, a polarized genre, has emerged in the epicenter of popular culture (see: NYTimes). As a teenager, I popped CDs from guys like Sweatshop Union and Blue Scholars as I drove my Volvo to the Goodwill on Dearborn (my mom threw out my Jay-Z), so this release undoubtedly left a smile on my face. I have, admittedly, regarded hip hop of the PNW variety as slightly cheesy, and “Thrift Shop” somewhat testifies to this (I am embarrassed to admit they pegged us Seattle kids to a T). However, after checking out Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ full length, The Heist, I’m putting aside the Illuminati, the ego, the chains, and the satanic beats that have plagued and hypnotized my ears, in favor of something with a little more spirit and soul. This album has that, whether it’s Macklemore’s heartfelt and intelligent rapping about marriage equality, or the ten thousand hours he took to perfect his craft, a geeky reference to economist Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers theory. Or, Ryan Lewis skipping the sample packs to bring together 88 different instruments in some truly original and catchy production, like candy to the ears. It’s my opinion that these guys will bring forward what independent hip hop acts like Atmosphere have done better than anything you’ve heard on the radio (except for some early Kanye): melodic and fun rhymes with a reason! It’s about time.