Release Date: Sep 22, 2017
Record label: Bendo LLC
It may feel like a lifetime ago, but it’s been just three and a half years since Macklemore & Ryan Lewis had that triumphant night at the Grammys when they not only won four awards—their debut LP, The Heist, even beat out Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m. A. A.
Macklemore's first post-fame LP minus longtime partner Ryan Lewis finds the Seattle MC unburdened by stardom or the social concern that turns his woke anthems into online firestorms – "I'm a motherfuckin' icon/Boots made of python," he raps on "Willy Wonka," a creeping track with Offset of Migos. Partying tunes like the funky "Firebreather" sometimes feel like not much more than a rich white guy bragging. But Macklemore's trademark awkward humanity comes through on "Good Old Days," a reflection on aging (with Kesha), and "Church," a thank-you letter to making it that's warm, vivid, earnest and earned.
Macklemore has experienced a tremendous amount of a success in his career but also lived with being one of Hip Hop’s favorite punching bags. While he certainly made some missteps, such as publicly sharing his guilt-ridden text to Kendrick Lamar after winning the Grammy for Best Rap Album, the negative perception is largely unwarranted. Despite being equated to Iggy Azalea as a poster child of whitewashing rap music, the title was always undeserved. Macklemore cut his teeth in the underground scene like so many MCs before him and earned his Hip Hop stripes.
The cultural context in which Macklemore briefly became one of the most derided musicians on the planet has, in some sense, dissipated. In 2014, the Seattle native, born Ben Haggerty, caught hell when The Heist—his goofy, modest, hit-laden album with Ryan Lewis—was awarded a Grammy over Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d. city. In response, Macklemore sat down, had himself a think or three, and emerged in early 2016 with a painfully labored sequel.
Macklemore was never filmed carelessly uttering a racial slur, his career bonafides are stronger than “viral reality TV star,” and he never recorded anything as annoying as Blue Slide Park, but he’s nonetheless the worst thing a white rapper can be: uncool. He never was cool, except in the way that award shows approve of, but hit musicians don’t always have to be—no one is lamer than Ed Sheeran, and he’s sold more records than God. 2012’s The Heist, Macklemore’s breakthrough record with producer Ryan Lewis, spawned two No.
Few have experienced the extreme highs and lows of the music industry like Macklemore. From 2010 to mid 2012, he was king of the underground, paying dues and filling up dive bars in college towns. After releasing "The Heist," his first full length project with producer Ryan Lewis, he crossover to the mainstream, scoring a pair of No. 1 hits and four Grammys.