I like to think that hip-hop culture is influential to pop culture overall. If you need proof, look no further to than the twerking fiasco. But is this stream of influence one-sided? What happens when it flows the other way? Let’s ask Macklemore! The guy who kicked in hip-hop’s door and brought his friends from Starbucks with him. While most say he isn’t hip hop, I must have to say I disagree. He IS Hip-hop.
Before I state my case, I would like to say that I hate his music. I really thought The Heist sucked ass. It didn’t appear on any of my album of the year lists and it would probably be #2 on my Damn, This Album Really Sucks list. For what it’s worth though, at least I know he can rap (he has a nice flow and cadence, whatever). Sky (@CheesusSlice) and I discussed his inclusion into XXL’s freshman list back in 2012. It seemed quite peculiar at first because I don’t think either one of us knew he would blow up like this. Well, he’s here.
My introduction to Macklemore came from VS EP. It took me the longest to realize he wasn’t a Norse warrior but a rapper. Really, wtf is a Macklemore? Anyway, I thought it was cool, but nothing to be excited about. I still saw his direction.
Fast forward a year later, and he burst unto the scene with the most terriblest of terrible songs that I have ever had the displeasure of hearing. Really, how much does “Thrift Shop” suck? I don’t think we can quantify it. But still, I saw his vision. Like previously stated, The Heist may be the worst collection of music ever created, but still it speaks to someone. And isn’t that what hip hop is about? If I had to make a prerequisite list for an effective hip-hop artist, I would say: 1) Be real 2) Say something worthwhile 3) And make us believe you really mean what you say. Does he not do that?
The Heist is hip hop for those who are outside looking it. It breaks the borders and introduces a totally different demographic to the genre. Now we’ll have former Smashing Pumpkin fans listening to Ab-Soul and Schoolboy Q. He made an anthem for a community that’s often ostracized by rappers and whether you agree or not, I think that’s amazing. Every hip hop artist should be an advocate for the art form and Macklemore does it well. While his music isn’t for me, it is for someone out there. And that’s what it’s all about. Hip hop isn’t meant to be boxed in, it’s always changing and evolving.
Hopefully Macklemore gives the courage other artists to do what they want to do and say what they want to say (also, stay indie. Let’s not forget that). Because while I think Macklemore’s music is a steaming piece of crap, it is music with a message. And if it reaches people, more power to you.
So to sum it up, who else was worthy of Man of the Year of 2013? Think about that and get back to me.
PS, Let’s bury “Thrift Shop” now. This is the last time it should be played. Click. Click now. Let’s get this over with.