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First things first, The Heist by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis is the best hip-hop album of 2012. That's the moral of the review. There is nothing wrong with this album. Macklemore is excellent not only lyrically but he has a phenomenal flow. He can rap about general things such as thrift store shopping to more socially conscious subjects such as same sex marriage. Ryan Lewis lays down excellent beats to back up Macklemore, and really put together a very professional sounding album, one of the best I've heard in a while. All this together, and the fact that the duo self-released this album is phenomenal. I love this album, I strongly encourage anybody reading this to get it and listen to it thoroughly. This is an album that I will listen to quite a few times.
The Heist is the debut studio album of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. It was independently recorded, produced, and released by them. They've released some singles in 2010 and 2011 and decided to include the tracks onto the album. It seems they've developed some fans in that time because The Heist reached number one on iTunes within hours of release without any promotion, which frankly is incredible. It also speaks miles for the quality of the album and how good it really is. I know of Macklemore from his single "Irish Celebration" which is a sort of Irish hip-hop track that was really great. Macklemore has grown plenty since then.
The Heist brings some opinion into important content in many of the tracks including gay rights in "Same Love." This track features Mary Lambert and Macklemore in support of same-sex marriage and rejecting homophobia. I find this spectacular because 1) in hip-hop music, when it comes to homosexuality, it's usually shone in a negative light, but 2) it’s very big of Macklemore to defend it and take a stand. Impressively enough, no matter your views on the matter, it's a good song. This is a big song for the album, and for gay rights.
Macklemore addresses a subject that hits close to him personally in "Neon Cathedral," featuring Allen Stone, and "Starting Over," featuring Ben Bridwell. Macklemore himself has gone to rehab for alcoholism, and these tracks are heavy on the subject. "Neon Cathedral" focuses on the ideology of seeking shelter from troubles at the nearby bar to drown sorrows. The lyrics are great and he reflects himself in the song. "Starting Over" hits closer to home while rapping of struggling with the problem of the dependency, while also facing relapse and the fear of his image as a role model. It's a very personal song focusing on real issues and Macklemore should be praised for it. These are really "real" songs that you don't hear too often these days.
The Heist takes a shot at commercialism too, and it's allowed to because this duo reached success all by themselves. "Jimmy Iovine" features Ab-Soul where Macklemore does some speed-rapping and really does great. It's essentially a song calling out the music industry in the corporate aspect. It's really good and shines a negative light on the industry, which may explain the rise in independent labels. "Wing$" is a very heavy song. It's great, very powerful, and very well put-together. The song is elevated to another level with the inclusion of a children’s choir. It shows the problems of commercialism and the power it holds over the consumers and really is a call-to-action to be yourself, stop feeding the large corporations, and don't fall to the marketing ploys they throw at you. Macklemore wants individualism to reign free.
The most successful single off the album isn't even the best song on it, and it's still a good song. I'm talking about "Thrift Shop," featuring Wanz. It's the big hit of the album, and I'll admit that it's a very fun song, but I absolutely love the rhythm on this track. Otherwise it's one of the more humorous songs which is the purpose of it really, but I think that's what drew in such popularity. This definitely isn't them at their finest, but this is probably the song you'll hear from the album the most.
I haven’t even covered the album as a whole, but I noted the more socially conscious tracks. The others that aren't as topic heavy are still absolutely phenomenal. Some are the best of the album, but each song really is amazing, much like the album. I'm going to leave some mystery for the imagination, leaving it up to you readers to get the album and give it a listen. I give it 5 out of 5. I love it. It’s the total package in lyrics, production, flow, variety, spirit, and realism. You really can’t go wrong here. What I love even more is this is only the debut of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. I can't wait till the next release comes out. I highly recommend The Heist.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – “Wing$”: