In My Ears: Macklemore


By Lauren Miller (@lomillah)mlk5
Artist: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Favorite song: Otherside
Vibe: amped up but also serious

As of about 20 minutes ago, I have decided at my wise age of 17 that I want to marry Macklemore. I only face a few obstacles, namely his wife he loves and adorable baby girl, (watch this, it will melt your heart) my age (just a number, right??) and the fact that he has no idea who I am. But I think it’s a feasible goal.
I forgot my love for Macklemore after the hype of The Heist died. His recent release of Downtown, renewed my love for him (And if you ever read this Macklemore, I’m sorry I ever forgot my love for you. I promise to never let it happen again). Downtown’s lightness is why it has been so popular. It reminds me a lot of Thrift Shop with the goofy lyrics and lively beat.
On the Heist to he balances these goofy, lighter songs with intense songs about important issues such as marriage equality (Same Love), drug abuse (Otherside and Neon Cathedral) and how harmful materialism can be (Wing$). When he talks about these issues, he does it with a blunt honesty as in Otherside, “Follow the formula violence, drugs, and, sex sells/ So we try to sound like someone else.”
When violence, drugs and sex are what children are hearing their favorite artists talk about then that is what they want. Even as high schoolers we are impacted by the perpetuation of these things in the music and media we consume. It breaks that cycle and challenges his listeners to question what they are consuming and what they value. This conversation is so important to have, especially coming from a rapper who easily could have “followed the formula.”
Beyond this, I love how personal Macklemore made the album. With nearly every song I learned a little more about him and in turn was able to value him as more than just a famous person. He is relatable. In Jimmy Lovine we learn about his struggles in attaining career success. In My Oh My we see him as a child in love with the Marlins. One of my favorite songs, Starting Over, is when we really get to meet the slightly broken and sinful him.
Macklemore battled with drug abuse for a lot of his life. In the song he talks about his continued struggle and even embarrassment for relapsing.
“Those 3 plus years, I was so proud of/ And I threw ‘em all away for 2 Styrofoam cups/ The irony, everyone will think that he lied to me… And every kid that came up to me/ And said I was the music they listened to when they first got clean/ Now look at me, a couple days sober/ I’m fighting demons.”
He bears his soul to us. To be so honest and blunt about something so difficult is crazy challenging. Even if you don’t like his music, you can’t not respect him for doing that.
Granted I may be a bit biased, but the combination of simplistic yet vibing beats, talented featured artists and brutally personal and honest lyrics makes for a perfect storm. A perfect storm of unconventional success that is. He isn’t like other rappers I’ve listened to before, again while I am not supremely well versed in the rap genre, I know that he is something special.
So listen to him and fall in love with him all over again this week, trust me you won’t regret it.