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“The Heist” by Macklemore & Lewis

By: Katelyn Harrop Assistant Entertainment Editor

Although they had a semi-successful EP in 2010, “The Heist” is America’s first real introduction to up-and-coming Seattle-born rapper Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis. “The Heist” acts as a reflection on Macklemore’s life experiences and his hopes and disappointments in society as a whole.  The album covers everything from consumerism and religious hypocrisy to the artist’s former drug problem and challenging family dynamics. Macklemore’s music is just as much about social justice and equality as it is a personal expression, both of which are apparent in one of the album’s singles, ‘Same Love’. It created a huge media buzz and social reaction after its release in July. Macklemore narrates the track with personal stories related to the marriage equality movement and touches on a variety of related issues, emphasizing his belief that love is the same regardless of one’s sexual orientation. Despite its deeply personal subject matter, the album flows a little bizarrely, giving me the inaccurate impression that I was listening to it on shuffle due to the unsubtle stylistic changes that Macklemore and Lewis fostered. With today’s music technology this is really a minimal issue seeing as albums are usually listened to in random order anyway. The final track, “Cowboy Boots”, is a passionate anthem to Seattle, W.A., Macklemore’s home, and features banjo accompaniment. Although this track follows the stylistically non-cohesive suit of the rest of the album, it acts as a surprisingly affective conclusion, reminding listeners that no matter where his career may lead, Macklemore will always be rooted in his home. Macklemore and Lewis have also hooked onto that questionable trend of featuring child vocals in the intro or chorus of some their songs. I know the idea is that it adds to the emotional aspect of the song, but it also added a strange and unexpected texture to the songs. “The Heist” is a refreshing change from the often objectifying and negative music commonly found on today’s rap and hip-hop charts. Macklemore and Lewis have taken their new popularity as an opportunity to reflect upon social ills in an organic and creative style that can only be found in the music of an artist who believes in sharing his music in a grassroots style, free from an overarching record label or management entourage. I recommended “The Heist” to anyone looking for a unique hip-hop and rap album deeply rooted in story telling and social commentary.

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