Holiday Hiatus: Time For Some Hip Hop, Macklemore-style

Ooof! It seems like the holidays have got a lot of folks stressed out (myself included), well, I come bearing a gift — the invitation to take a break and enjoy some excellent music!

I’ve never been a fan-girl, groupie or what-have-you, so when I mention that I’m totally diggig a hip-hop artist, Macklemore, and his friend and producer, Ryan Lewis, I hope that you can takeaway that this isn’t a commonplace experience.

Why The Hype About This Hip Hop Artist?

English: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis performing at...
English: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis performing at Sasquatch 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s Good Music. Duh.

Simply put: it’s genuinely (emphasis on the word genuine) good music that is comprised of uplifting, soulful beats (hat tip to Ryan Lewis) and heart-felt lyrics that evoke an emotional response.

Dammit, I’m becoming fangirl. But, maybe that’s ok.

Good Energy Is Contagious and Sorely Needed

By way of a comparison, I appreciate Eminem’s music for he is a talented rapper and lyricist but his message is overwhelmingly negative and, to me, it’s fatiguing.

Macklemore, or Ben Haggerty, and Ryan Lewis have produced songs that discuss topics I’ve not seen discussed in hip hop before:

  • • The crippling powers that our Egos have over us.
  • • Evaluating the sterotypes that continue in our music (all genres, but he focuses on hip hop) and what example an artist has to young people in his song “Contradiction”.
  • • In “Same Love” he highlights his support for gay rights by showcasing (and shunning) how in our everyday actions (thoughts and words written on YouTube comments) are still so hateful and unacceptable.

Here’s a line that grabs me from “Contradiction”:

“We have a claim: your fires are ignited with sound, are you building the empire up or are using your fire to burn it down.”

“Same Love” music video:

Get the Kleenex ready.

That Human Connection

My favorite musical artists mirror what I love about my favorite relationships — the ability to connect with that person’s energy. Oh crap, here she goes again with meta-physical mumbo-jumbo.

Hear me out.

You know when you were in grade school and there was someone you gravitated towards and you asked bluntly if you could be friends. You felt a connection. But then came a time when you were shut down and you guarded yourself and put a wall up so making relationships wouldn’t come as easily.

Don’t think it’s so different with musical artists. Their melodies and words resonate with you and you feel some sort of connection.

Bingo.

For me, I’ll take it a step further. When I heard NPR (yes, I listen and LOVE NPR) feature an independent hip hop artist on the Tiny Desk Concert show I stayed on the channel and listened to the whole segement. I couldn’t remember the name of the artist but I knew damn, I like these guys.

Maybe it was the way Macklemore performed for the small NPR team as if though it was for a large sold-out show in a concert hall — he jumps around, throws his hands in the air, quite easily, his energy is infectious. Well, I didn’t see that then. The curse of radio? Perhaps not, as that energy came through and I enjoyed what I heard. A lot.

Jump On The Bandwagon

Perhaps you’ve already heard Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ work and didn’t even know it.

Exhibt A:

We need more musicians like Macklemore with music that makes you feel good and provides a good message that uplifts us, encourages us to jump in the air and dance, go and get clothes from the thrift shop or think about the cultural norms that are antiquated and no longer resonate.

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