The Seattle based hip-hop duo, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s dropped their debut LP, “The Heist” this previous Tuesday to critical acclaim. Reaping a 4/5 in XXL magazines, the album shot to the top of iTunes in mere hours. The album in question hails from the same duo that brought us “The VS. EP,” and while their collaboration may be new, neither artist is new to the music scene. In fact, Macklemore’s own work spans the early 2000s, building from the release of “Open Your Eyes” as Professor Macklemore.
Following that came, “The Language of My Own World,” (2005) a respected EP that sounded well with some critics, and “The Unplanned Mixtape” (2009). Born in Capitol Hill Seattle, Washington, Macklemore later worked at a juvenile-detention facility where he partook in a program called “Gateway,” where he organized concerts, and other activities related to hip-hop. Such a general need to reach the public (more so youth) propelled him, and in 2010, he met and collaborated with fellow Seattle based producer Ryan Lewis on what would become “The VS. EP.” Substance ranging from substance abuse to Macklemore’s Irish heritage, the album did well enough to receive a reboot. This came the following year as “The VS Redux,” a collection of remixes.
Thus their newest album was set to make waves. And with the culminated publicity of previous releases, “The Heist” dropped like a bombshell. Coupling Ryan Lewis’s abilities as a producer and Macklemore’s skills at the mic, “The Heist” netted itself as a tour de force, featuring lyricism rarely seen in the music industry today. From the brutal honesty of “Starting Over,” a personal tale of a drug relapse and past addiction, to the more frivolous “Thrift Shop,” Macklemore showcases his skills as a rapper, in the realms of politics, life, and humor. Nevertheless, the duo seemed truly surprised when the album topped iTunes. “WE F****** DID IT!!!!!!!! #1 album in the US on ITUNES!!!!! INDEPENDENT!!!!! I LOVE YOU BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE!!!!!” wrote Macklemore via his Facebook.
This surprise was shared by the collective music industry. Mainly for a simple fact: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are independent musicians. Long seen as part of the underground sub-cultures, their works were mostly spread by the internet and word of mouth. Until recently, with “The Heist” being plastered on the front page of iTunes, the assumption of a mainstream acceptance seemed dismal. Now hope seems to have arrived.
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