By now just about everybody has heard of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis or at least grooved to one of their songs. They took the hip hop world by storm from the internet to the Billboard charts. Their single “Thrift Shop” currently tallies in over 400 million views just on YouTube. The duo also made music history with both their singles “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us Down” from their debut album The Heist reaching the coveted number one spot on the Billboard singles chart consecutively. This was an impressive achievement because no other artist in Billboard history has had their first single sit at number one on the chart and then their second single directly take its place!
The statistics are definitely impressive and even as hip hop is bridging color line gaps with the presence of talented artists like Eminem and Mac Miller, it is still shocking to learn that Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are both white. While it may seem that the duo’s success was overnight I was also surprised to learn that Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have been trying to make a name for themselves since the 2000′s. Macklemore (real name Ben Haggerty) first recorded under the name Professor Macklemore but shortly dropped the “Professor” from his name. Macklemore then teamed up with Ryan Lewis and released a few underground mix tapes. Their friendship and professional relationship carried on even as their music went on barely noticed. Recently Macklemore was finally recognized in prominent rap magazines such as The Source and XXL Magazine. After many years and persistence they found a tune that resonated with the whole world and I am very glad they did.
With the success of their first two singles, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis made good use of all the attention currently focused on them to speak out on hot issues such as the debate on gay rights. They turned the conversation into a hit song called “Same Love” which conveyed a clear message about their supportive stance on gay rights over a soothing melody. This song solidified their position in hip hop and showcased the diversification of their talents. “Thrift Shop” is a catchy, fun and upbeat tune. “Can’t Hold Us Down” is an anthem that can motivate and pump up any crowd. And “Same Love” was a more loaded and serious song that portrayed an important opinion. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis created a masterpiece debut mainstream album, now everybody will be waiting with high anticipation for their sophomore effort!