Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – The Heist

White rapper from Seattle with Irish heritage…

Doesn’t sound promising, huh? Well, think again.

I’d like for you to meet Macklemore and his producer, Ryan Lewis. They independently released their debut album, The Heist, this year to surprisingly huge fanfare. The album went to number one on iTunes the night it was released. It also gained high praise from the likes of Hip Hop DX, Soul Culture, and XXL.

Macklemore is a poet. He’s one of the most honest rappers you’ll ever hear. Whether he’s speaking about his past drug addiction, his forays into the music business, gay marriage, or thrift shopping, he’s speaking as truthfully as you’ll ever hear in any genre.

The album’s production is top notch. To save money, they used no samples, bringing in numerous singers and instrumentalist to record the tracks. This also led to the discovery of great local musicians like Mary Lambert, Wanz, and Allen Stone (to name a few standouts for me). Ben Birdwell, this singer of Band of Horses, also performs on the track Starting Over. This is an incredibly moving song about him falling off the bandwagon after being clean and sober for a few years:

But before I can make it somebody stops me and says are you Macklemore?
Maybe, this isn’t the place or time
I just wanted to say that if it wasn’t for “Other Side” I wouldn’t have made it
I just look down at the ground and say thank you
She tells me she has 9 months and that she’s so grateful
Tears in her eyes, looking like she’s gonna cry.. fuck!
I barely got 48 hours, treated like I’m some wise monk
I wanna tell her I relapsed but I can’t
I just shake her hand and tell her congrats

The whole song is an emotional roller-coaster about the heartache of relapsing. Well, before you get too depressed, let me show you their humorous side. Here’s Thrift Shop, a song about everything you’d imagine it would be with a name like that:

The song that originally blew me way, that first told me Macklemore was different, was Same Love. When I heard this, I had to play it over and over so the words could sink into my soul. It’s such a powerful statement, a game changer for someone in hip-hop to take a stand like this. Plus, the music video is just beautiful:

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