In todays music industry where artist and more inclined to conform to what is currently selling rather than creating something original there is a growing mass of artist taking advantage of the limitless creative freedom on the independent scene. More and more of these independent artist are getting success based off little more than word of mouth and the undying love and support of their fans. From this new class of independent rappers comes Macklemore and his producer Ryan Lewis as a duo in it to make the music they like. Their debut album The Heist which just came out this month debuted at #2 on soundscan with 78,000 sold first week. With numbers like these and the freedom to create an entire project for your vision as you would like it to sound, its hard to believe artist still seek out major label deals. My favorite track on the album titled “Jimmy Iovine” (named after the well known record exec at Interscope Records) which features Ab-Soul on the hook focuses on the failures of the record industry at the hands of major labels. On the track Macklemore tells a story of a meeting with Jimmy which leads him to inevitably make his decision to turn down the deal and to do it for the art, independently. The rest of the album carries a upbeat vibe while handling some deep every day social issues for our generation. On “Same Love” he addresses his views on gay rights and equality aided by the soulful voice of Mary Lambert. Then on “Neon Cathedral” and “Starting Over” he again brings up his stance on alcohol and drug abuse with similarly to his infamous hit “Otherside”. With Starting Over being somewhat of a sequel to Otherside in which Macklemore displays his humanity to his core audience by admitting his issues in maintaining the sobriety he often preaches, but also his willingness to expose his own shortcomings in hopes it helps those in similar situations. All in all this is a very enjoyable album, with some interesting sounds some of us may not be used to. The music itself, which can at points sound preachy, still maintains a class of artistic expression that comes off organic and real. It is definitely good to see an artist make music for everyday people going through everyday problems without ostracizing those who may be unable to directly relate.
If you’ve somehow managed to overlook the video for the funky single “Thrift Shop” check that below!
Standout Tracks: Jimmy Iovine | White Walls | Ten Thousand Hours | Thin Line
FINAL GRADE: 4/5
Listen to the album in entirety on Spotify.