Ben Haggerty… Ring any bells? What about the name Macklemore? Of course! Who doesn’t know that guy? With sixty-four nominations and close to two dozen awards, including four Grammys, the prominent rapper scrapped his Irish name long ago for his now-famous stage name (it actually originated as the name of an imaginary superhero). From race to consumerism to parenting, he has rapped and covered so many “untouchable” subjects that it does not seem like there is much he would not do. And maybe that’s what makes him so popular, taking his audiences out of their comfort zones and leaving no stone unturned. Macklemore has pulled a variety of issues to the front of public consciousness. He even brought his haircut to the mainstream, enshrouding him in legend as unique as his own name and his own image.
But the man, the myth is back and releasing a new full-length album for the first time in four years. At the time of The Heist, Macklemore was twenty-eight, unmarried, and still finding his niche in the public eye. But now, he has reached his thirties with a wife and
gremlin baby hot off the assembly line. He’s wiser, and he’s ready. Highly anticipated by fans and critics alike, This Unruly Mess I’ve Made has been hyped with several teasers and early singles floating around including the worldwide success “Downtown.”
It almost seems to be a minor throwback to his first big hit, “Thrift Shop;” instead of flaunting any real big team that needs real big rings, he approaches success from the bottom up, rejecting fifty dollar t-shirts and Bugattis. All he needs is two wheels and a leather seat.
But speaking of “Thrift Shop,” perhaps his most memorable hit, I wonder if he still only keeps twenty dollars in his pocket?
Either way, he seems to be a man of many faces. The rapper, producer, social and political activist, sports fan, Seattle native, and most recently father is arguably one of the most versatile in the industry. He (hip) hops from a party single to a thoughtful ballad with ease, satirizing the stereotypical American man at one moment then celebrating Irish history in the next. Without a doubt, he’s an artist made of many pieces.
However, we certainly cannot forget his trusty sidekick and longtime friend, Ryan Lewis. As well as releasing his own album in 2008, the man behind the scenes has worked with Macklemore for about seven years directing, producing, engineering, recording, and DJing nearly everything the duo has released. The two met through MySpace (#throwback), worked through an intense creative process to generate their group name, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and the rest is history.
Although Macklemore has been subject to (not always wrongful) accusations of hypocrisy, he always has a message to give his audience in the end. Whether he’s cautioning us against idolizing material goods or he’s advocating for the universal right to marriage, Macklemore never fails to leave us wanting s’more.
He has now been in the industry for more than a solid decade and a half, and like any renowned rapper, he hopefully still has a long career in front of him (just ask Ice Cube). Now get ready for a tag poppin’, game killin’, freeway hittin’ album to drop on February 26 with some t-shirts as unforgettable as Macklemore himself!