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THE EARBUG: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Seattle rapper Macklemore is probably one of my new favorite people. Anyone who makes a song about looking fly in clothes from Goodwill and on the same album spits out a powerful anthem for marriage equality is good in my book.

The Scout office tends to be my testing ground for the music I write up in the Voice. In between blasting Taylor Swift’s new album, I threw some Macklemore in there and no one knew what to do. The sax hook is goofy, and the premise is funny, with lyrics like “I’ma take your grandpas style/I’ma take your grandpas style/no for real ask your grandpa can I have his hand-me-downs?” and “I wear your granddad’s clothes/I look incredible” that expose the culture of thrift shopping hipsters. Which I love, considering the amount of awesome stuff I’ve found at Goodwill. Macklemore always has a message in his raps and he throws one in to “Thrift Shop” calling out people who pay 50 dollars for a Gucci t-shirt just to have the name.

What makes his music stick is that mix of humor and message. He is able to deliver something thought provoking without being condescending. The humor makes the heavy messages light and prepares listeners for serious tracks like “Wing$.” He explores the obsession with materialism that Air Jordans represent. By recounting his own experience with them humorously he makes a strong point with a powerful story.

While Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis make some sick hits together, it is the song “Same Love” that has propelled their rise to fame nationally. It has become the anthem for the marriage equality movement. He originally wanted to write about a bullied teen, but decided it wasn’t his story to tell. Instead, he went with his own perspective, a straight rapper with gay uncles growing up in a world where “that’s gay” was thrown every which way. This perspective makes the song 100 times more powerful.

The song features beautiful vocals from Mary Lambert and honestly it is chilling.  Lyrics like “I might not be the same, but that’s not important/No freedom ‘til we’re equal, damn right I support it,” and “

It’s the same hate that’s caused wars from religion/gender to skin color/complexion of your pigment/the same fight that lead people to walk-outs and sit-ins/human rights for everybody/there is no difference” call for change and inspire thought.

It’s nice to see someone use their platform to do some good. Even outside of the causes they support, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis show insane talent in making unique, fun music.


Must listen: “Same Love” The Heist

Drinking song: “Irish Celebration” Vs. Redux

Drive to: “Gold” The Heist

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