Having calmed down from the abomination that was the Grammys, I decided to review The Heist, the number two album (in the US) from Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Of course it spawned massive number one singles as well, in the form of Thrift Shop and Can’t Hold Us.I could bore you with stats, awards and sales Macklemore/Ryan Lewis/The Heist/Thrift Shop has received, but the best and most incredible thing about them is The Heist was released independently, with no major label backing whatsoever. Now that, is an incredible feat to achieve. Cudos to the two of them.
The Heist is impressive, it actually isn’t a pop album despite it’s pop singles and if you think about it, the singles aren’t really that ‘poppy’ despite the catchiest hooks heard in music for a long time. So Macklemore, the man who beat King Kendrick Lamar to Best Rap Album, does he deserve this prestigious award? Of course not, but the guy can genuinely rap. He’s a potent lyricist, as you’ve probably heard from lyrics on Same Love, a song charged with personal experience about same-sex marriage, but across the rest of the album, he’s just as lyrical, the juggling of relationships and his career choices are covered on Thin Line, he raps about his impact on the music industry despite being ‘Mr I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-A-N-T’ on Make The Money, and the most impressive song on The Heist – Jimmy Iovine, is a song about his meeting with the Interscope boss, and walking out without signing, declaring he’d ‘rather be starving artist than succeed at getting fucked’. Right on Macklemore.
Now, Ryan Lewis, the forgotten man of the duo, (Macklemore has 2.2mil followers on Twitter- Lewis has 500k) the one responsible for crafting The Heist’s production. He’s more talented than a lot of the current producers out there at the moment, he crosses over so many genres, he incorporates so many instruments and sounds which fit flawlessly together and with impeccable execution and timing, if someone like Kanye, The Neptunes or No ID did the things Lewis does, they’d be raved about. The Heist really comes into its own with Ryan Lewis behind the decks, the children’s choir on Wing$, the brass accompaniment probing throughout, the piano on BomBom, the violins and cellos cementing Neon Cathedral together, it’s incredible production across the project leaving me to believe Ryan Lewis as one of the most underrated artists of modern times.
A lot of you music fans out there will think I’m mad praising The Heist to the heights I have, but until you listen to it from start to finish more than once and appreciate it for the body of work Macklemore and Ryan Lewis intended, you can’t really pass a judgment on the duo. The best of the pair’s talents aren’t made abundantly clear from Thrift Shop and Can’t Hold Us and it’s only when you open your eyes to them, only then, can you be more conscious of their incredible talents as a combined act.
NB – I’m looking forward to seeing the pair at Reading/Leeds Festival this summer more than ever before.