Macklemore Review


Macklemore: a hip hop review?

Lifestyle Choices

On December 23, 2011, Nike released a limited amount of their newest Jordan series of sneakers and people went nuts. Reports of stabbings, gunfire and riots were heard around the country. A woman in Lithonia, GA was even arrested for locking her two toddlers in her SUV so she could be with those in line waiting for the mall to open. You might be asking yourself, why does this belong in a hip hop review? It is best explained in the words of the spoken-word-acapella-turned movie, Wings by Seattle based rapper, Macklemore,

“Look at me, look at me, I’m a cool kid
I’m an individual, yea, but I’m part of a movement
My movement told me be a consumer and I consumed it
They told me to just do it, I listened to what that swoosh said” –
Macklemore, Wings

Macklemore is more than familiar with the pitfalls of the consumer lifestyle, because he experienced firsthand how an expensive pair of Nike Air Jordan sneakers is not just a pair of shoes, but an unmistakable identity that can leave a mark on any unsuspecting youth. Macklemore, says, “we are what we wear” meaning there’s a struggle, as a consumer based society, between our identities and the commodities we consume. The dichotomy of lifestyle and our lifestyle choices is a lesson Macklemore has schooled me on.

Several weeks ago, I bought two tickets to go see Macklemore and his DJ/producer, Ryan Lewis, perform at the Drunken Unicorn, but sadly, I never got to see him play. The problem was I ordered the tickets too far in advance and I had the tickets mailed to my house not knowing the concert was going to take place the weekend before finals. I should have double checked, but I was just too excited - Macklemore was coming to Atlanta! After finals week, my hasty-impulse buy left me with nothing but some exam anxiety and two useless tickets to Macklemore. Instead of just being content as a fan, I rushed to purchase the tickets weeks in advance, to prove what a loyal fan I was. In actuality, I managed to prove that I can’t appreciate the music (the commodity) before I put myself first as a person. This is a lesson I learned through the creative words and images of Macklemore’s.

A Different Breed

Macklemore is a Seattle-based rapper, but he also has some of the best music videos I’ve seen. The first Macklemore video I saw was Wings, which, if you haven’t heard of him before this, I would recommend as a great place to start.

Before the music video was made for the song, though, the song wasn’t even a song, it was a Spoken Word piece. In 2008, Zia Mohajerjasbi, the director, caught Macklemore performing Wings and approached Macklemore with the idea that, if Wings were ever to become a song, he would want to direct the video. So, the song was a video before the song was an actual song! Well, unfortunately, they had a great artistic vision, but not enough money to make the video, (as is the case with most of the arts, but I digress) so they started a fundraising campaign using Kickstarter, a do-it-yourself fundraising platform, and got 423 backers and almost double what they needed to fund the project, $18,269. The memoir style reflections of his past as a sneaker-head came to life brilliantly in the end, with Ryan Lewis’ almost film score-esque production with the beats, the stunning cinematography by Zia and the sincere lyrical confessions of Macklemore. The music video was one of the best I saw last year, and there was some unique videos in 2011, like the video for Tyler the Creator’s, Yonkers.

To you, this may be another review of a “conscious rapper”, but to me this is way more than just rap – Macklemore is a different breed of rapper. Not like the Lil’ Wayne, “I’m an Alien” type of different. I mean, he is cut from a different cloth. He understands and acknowledges what most hip hop can’t; he knows that most rappers underestimate the influence that rap has on children and he knows that most consumers of hip-hop are young white males, so he tells stories about how his drug addiction left him “depressed and emotionally vacant”; he understands that he was a product of the hip hop culture, not the other way around; he owes his allegiance to hip hop and he knows what white privilege is; he can even make an Irish Celebration anthem from a hip-hop song, or a Dance anthem in the style of an 80’s David Bowie song. He is a sage and a bard in hip hop and if you are a hip hop fan, you have got to check him out. He may even appear on XXL Mag’s Freshman list for 2011, so keep an eye on Macklemore in 2012. (Josh Pate)

Releases some new


1.9.12. Rekchampa, Atlanta DJ/Producer, and Ethereal collaborate in the new track, Dream/Ecstasy. I love the Rek and Ether style shift that volleys back and forth at around 1:55 and 4:40 with a DnB breakdown and sample loop. Ether and Rek compose together what Ethereal describes as "a dream filled with ecstasy." Stream. Download for free. Or buy for a dollar on bandcamp (worth it).

1.7.12. heRobust and Awfully Creative bring you a look into the live performance of a local glitched out hero. Don't forget Awful Sessions // Rekchampa and Ethereal // Live @ the Apache. Also, it should be mentioned that heRobust and Ethereal were included in Creative Loafing's favorite things about music in 2011.

1.1.12. Released by Fool's Gold Records, Flosstradamus dropped Jubilation in late November and then continued to release a J U B I L A T I O N M I X T A P E for Mad Decent's podcast. Now they are working on a full length EP, "Total Recall." The single is up for grabs already, check it out (I'm looking forward to a Major Lazer // Original Don (Flosstradamus RMX) coming soon, too).

More Ethereal?... Abstractica.
More Rekchampa?... Pocket The Rest.
More heRobust?... Albumin.
More Flosstradamus?... Jubilation.