Mackenzie Cummings-Grady Journal Staff
With a slew of new music being released in the last week from many talented artists, it was going to be a close call as to who would reign supreme on the top of the Billboard charts. Ellie Goulding, Cris Cab, All Time Low, and Machine Gun Kelly were all expected to make the list, but all fell short to a new hip-hop artist fresh out of Seattle, Wa. Within one hour of release The Heist, by rapper Ben Haggerty (better known as Macklemore) and beat maker Ryan Lewis, reached number one on iTunes.
At first take The Heist may seem like nothing particularly special. Macklemore’s voice isn’t distinct or unique in comparison to the likes of Lil Wayne or Wiz Khalifa. The beats, on their own, aren’t as unique as those of Kanye West or Lupe Fiasco, but Haggerty’s swagger on the rhythms, as well as his impressive lyricism, make this debut a deep inspirational rap album that will launch the duo to stardom. Macklemore takes the opportunity not to please the general public, but instead to make a political statement; in a way that is easily relatable, emotional, and not bogged down in poetic metaphors like Lupe’s Food and Liquor II. To most hip-hop listeners, this album was what The Great American Rap Album should have been.
The opening track “Ten Thousand Hours” acts as the opening dedication to a novel, and has Macklemore thanking the fans for appreciating the hard work he has put into his musical career. The hook states: “Ten-thousand hours, felt like ten-thousand ants, ten-thousand ants, they carry me.” The hours of work he has put into this album begins to show once the dedication is over. Macklemore wastes no time in diving into the political issues of current day society.
While tracks “Can’t Hold Us” and “Thrift Shop” show the fun, party side to Macklemore, he makes sure to put those songs early in the album, as if to get them out of the way before he moves in to what he really has to say. The song “Thin Line” has Mr. Haggerty describing a loveless marriage begin to deteriorate, and drops occasional hints that these marriage failures are all too common in American society; that people marry out of other reasons besides love; “the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing women they look better in their makeup.” The tear-jerking gay rights plead in “Same Love,” and the metaphoric description of America losing its faith in “Neon Cathedral” show off Macklemore’s diversity as a lyricist, as well as his poetic license.
Whether the chart-topping album The Hesit is your cup of tea is for you to decide, but the fact remains that Macklemore is talented, and that he has a lot of things on his mind. Diversity like this doesn’t come too often in the rap game, artists such as 2 Chains and Tyga are all too common. The Heist provides a breath of fresh air for hip-hop, and reaffirms my belief that hip-hop isn’t dead. Hopefully Lewis and Macklemore are ready for the pressure they put on themselves, and will continue to make inspiring tunes in the years to come. Until that day comes, listeners can enjoy their debut album until every song is ingrained in their brain.