Macklemore and Ryan Lewis: The Heist

15 Jan

the heist

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ first album together has already struck a chord among music fans. Thrift Shop, a song about the merits of bargain buying has so far spent eleven weeks at the number one spot here in New Zealand, but this is about as light as it gets on The Heist. Previously released single Wing$ tackles poverty and class/race distinction, while Same Love is a passionate plea for gay equality and The Heist is filled with highly politicised fare.

It would be easy to dismiss the album as preachy if it weren’t for the fact that Macklemore is thorough in his disection of the history of hip hop. Though highly critical of the genre’s slow descent from a rallying force against the oppression of urban minorities to a celebration of gang culture and rampant egoism, Macklemore’s songs also acknowledge his own alienation from this culture. Although several tracks detail what sounds like a hellish ordeal with drug addiction, Macklemore is a white, middle-class, Seattle-native with a college degree, still trying to find a place within a genre he loves but knows is deeply flawed.

However, as clever as the tracks on the latter half of his album are, it does lose some of the catchiness. While a relentless energy is consistent throughout The Heist, the solid hooks on tracks like “Can’t Hold Us” and “Thrift Shop” fade away over the course of the album. Still, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have produced something truly original and The Heist is a powerful album.

 

By Tessa Clews

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