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The Heist
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:$10.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on October 9, 2012
I'll admit, I'm a new fan, but I'm completely hooked.

Last week, two different friends shared the hooky "Thrift Shop" and heartfelt "Same Love" and either one alone might not have been enough for me to look into the rest of their tracks, but combined, I was intrigued enough to figure out what this guy was about. From there, the counter-culture-of-consumption messages in "Wing$" and hometown pride in "My Oh My" hit me and I was a confirmed fan. "Can't Hold Us" is addictive. I want to play "Starting Over" for everyone I know who's ever stumbled.

I was excited not just to listen to the album all the way through, but to pay money for it and hope Macklemore and Ryan Lewis get to keep making a living doing what they love for a long, long time.
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on January 25, 2013
Too much rap today is repetitive, narcissistic, inane, untruthful. Where is the edge? Where is the story telling? Where is the truth? (Even in the 2pac era, rapping about money was really about the *desire* for power and money at a time when such things were inaccessible to black youth, and seemed to be intended as a stark contrast to the crack epidemic that was decimating inner city neighborhoods. The 'money' story line is now 20 years old, and has morphed to become less relevant, less truthful, more vain, more narcissistic, and boringly ubiquitous.). Maybe I had just outgrown rap....

Enter the Heist. I was sent a link to the NPR "Tiny Desk" concert performed by Macklemore and was blown away. Here was Macklemore challenging the homophobic culture of hip hop, while examining his own assumptions about what it meant to be gay. In the next song challenging the narrative about money by professing his love for "your Grandpa's clothes" that he could pick up in a thrift shop. (About designer t-shirts: "That shirt's hella dough; And having the same one as six other people in this club is a hella don't!") Story telling! An edge! Something novel! Hallelujah!

The message is all well and good, but to be honest I probably wouldn't have made it that far if the music didn't sound good. But it does. Banging bass. Melody. Great vocals. A trumpet loads the songs with energy; the songs are interlaced with samples from '90s era hip hop. The songs actually progress and develop. Macklemore changes his tempo and phrasing. Good stuff.

My best advice: Check out Macklemore's 'NPR Tiny Desk' concert. If you're not blown away, then this isn't the CD for you. And.... I'm not sure you're a fan of the best that rap can be.

Macklemore is the next rap star in the making. In a way, a throwback. But also an evolution. And just in time.
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on November 14, 2012
Wow. WOW! I've been a fan of Macklemore since I first heard and saw him perform here in Eugene. I didn't know who he was when I met him at his merch table (he opened for Blue Scholars) but if I could go back to that night I'd at least give him a handshake and preferably a hug. His words, combined with the spectacular musical abilities of Ryan Lewis, are genius, and I don't use that word lightly. This might be one of those Joshua Tree albums of hip-hop.

WATCH THE VIDEO FOR "SAME LOVE"! I cry every time I see it or hear the song and I know for a fact I'm not alone. The end of the video will really get you. The video for "Wing$" re-defines music videos as an art form and is so good you'd think Scorsese made it. The message of anti-materialism is especially important when you consider that a large part of Macklemore's demographic is teenagers.

One of the amazing things about Macklemore and Ryan Lewis is how they can be so humorous and lighthearted in one song and so inspirational and deep in the next. The song "Thrift Shop" on this album is humorous and quite enjoyable (the video especially), but "Same Love" and "Ten Thousand Hours" and "Neon Cathedral" are so intensely inspirational and from the heart that they make you want to just hug the album. The latter, "Neon Cathedral," and also "Starting Over," really hit those of us who have dealt with addictions, and it's songs like that which give us inspiration and a drive to become better people; they connect us with the artists in a way that is rare, especially if one has listened only to radio hip-hop.

The first song, "Ten Thousand Hours," is largely about the almost spiritual satisfaction that comes from putting in the effort to learn something to the utmost and ignore the common desire to just settle for something easy. I'm a very ambitious, self-motivated person myself so I'm no stranger to that but the hook "Ten thousand hours felt like ten thousand hands / ten thousand hands, to carry me" really put it in a different perspective: every hour I've spent learning my craft isn't a struggle, it's a small, subtle push in the right direction. It's this way of looking at things and providing a beautifully loving perspective that makes Macklemore so unique. I'm a huge fan of Atmosphere (of course), especially their last three albums, but one of the things I like more about Macklemore and Ryan Lewis is that they mix humor and fun into their often heavy and serious songs.

PLEASE buy the album, don't download it. I am PROUD to support Macklemore and Ryan Lewis and every dollar they earn from their art, real art, is well-deserved and worth it.
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on December 19, 2012
I bought this album because I liked Thrift Shop; I checked out some videos online and was absolutely blown away. I know the videos add a lot to each song, but simply listening to this album every day to and from work, I am completely blown away. I've contemplated buying it as a gift for a number of people that I know; today a young co-worker told me she was struggling with drinking and I immediately thought of the second to last track which talks about Macklemore's struggles with the same issue and I think his song could help her. This album is a blast to listen to but still focuses on real life. It's helped me.

There are a number of tracks that I have found to be powerful, both in their musical construction and their lyrical content. I play through new albums slowly, listening to each track multiple times before moving on, and some tracks are worthy of an album purchase all on their own. I have big hopes for this artist and would absolutely buy a follow-up album if it is similar.

There is however one huge blemish on this otherwise amazing record: Schoolboy Q's lyrics on the song White Walls. These are counter to everything Mackelmore seems to be about - they glorify "white hoes in the back seat snorting coke", stealing liquor, and having unprotected sex. This album is largely about Mackelmore's struggles with alcohol and drug abuse and the importance of humility and non-materialism. Schoolboy, go back to school - if you're going to rap, learn some rhetoric. I absolutely hate that part of that song. If I had heard this song first instead of Thrift Shop, I would have avoided this album entirely.
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on January 12, 2017
Macklemore put everything he had in him and it shows! You hear happiness, you feel the struggle, you sense the urge for greatness and that ginger for success! This album hours on many subjects and is a breath of fresh air. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain buying this masterpiece of an album! Some of the best that had come out in 2012! It is now 2017 and I have not let this album go, I take it everywhere I travel to and even the Mack haters change their mind after I force them to give him a listen! Wings is one of the more powerful tracks in the album, take a listen and you will surely see Macklemore in a new light! Stop reading these reviews and buy it already!!! You are missing out!
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on January 17, 2013
Honestly, the CD surprised me and is much better than our live show experience...

On a friend's whim, we went to see these chaps in concert in Denver, CO. The crowd was 90% disheveled teens so we didn't know what to expect... ML&RL ended up being ok live. Yes, just ok, but I've been to worse (i.e. their opening acts were a bit painful to sit through). A few ML&RL songs stood out.. obviously "Thrift Shop". And few of the songs' lyrics did actually stick with me, which is something rare.

I was going to buy only the Thrift Shop track since my girlfriend seemed to enjoy it and kept humming the tune over the following month. However, after previewing a few of the other tracks on the album I actually enjoyed recalling some of those lyrics so grabbed the whole thing.

All in all, ML&RL have a unique sound and a few tracks will actually go into my playlist. As a whole, not my personal type of sit and listen album... but regardless I am enjoying them MUCH more than I had anticipated after the live show.

Will keep an eye on these two moving forward, and honestly hope they don't fall into the one-hit abyss.
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on September 3, 2013
I rarely listen to rap, and although I liked the "thrift shop" song after hearing it on SNL, it wasn't until my kids demanded I get this for them (and made them pay with their own allowance money), that I actually ordered it and ended up downloading it into my amazon cloud player. The first time I heard this album, I was completely hooked. My husband loves it too, and yes, my kids. The "explicit" part is not really an issue in our household, and the powerful lyrics make up for it anyhow (IMO). This album will make you think! If it doesn't, there something wrong with you. :) The various backup vocals keep the tunes interesting. Great album!
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on March 18, 2013
This album/these guys are amazing. Most of the tracks are great at getting you pumped up, esp. Can't Hold Us and Make the Money (and Thrift Shop, obviously). Some of the tracks, like Same Love, Wing$, and Starting Over, are more about the issues in the lyrics than about giving you something to dance to; but these songs still have great beats & hooks, although generally they're slower in tempo.

Macklemore has a gift for bringing you into his emotional journey. Every one of these tracks FEELS like the subject matter. E.g. Wing$ mixes nostalgia for your favorite childhood possessions, the pride you get from accomplishing something new when you're a kid, a strong desire to fit in/be the coolest, and coming into a consciousness of mortality; and Wing$ is (ostensibly) just a song about a pair of shoes. The lyrics are a huge part of this; but skilled producer Ryan Lewis also deserves major props for broadcasting these emotions straight into your ears and hearts.
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on January 16, 2013
Disclaimer: I don't know anything about rap aside from what I personally like. And what I personally like is pretty simple: heavy percussion, great beats I can snap to (don't you judge me. You love to snap just as much as I do and you know it. That's why we spend hours as a child mastering it), and inventive, heartfelt lyrics. Much to my delight, this album has all of those things and more. Listen to Wing$, Same Love, and Starting Over and tell me you don't get chills every time you hear them. Tell me that you can't think of ONE person in your life those lyrics wouldn't apply to. Listen to Can't Hold Us, BomBom, and White Walls and tell me it doesn't get your blood pumping and your body twitching to dance or act out. Listen to all of the songs and tell me you aren't refreshed by the lack of usual rap bulls***: bitches, hoes, titties, big asses, shooting people, and hollow sexing. To the cynical you may find the lyrics too political, too much of a personal platform, too preachy. As if those who love this album would expect anything less from the cynics. To someone that's tired of the same old raps about killing, drugs, and name checking, I hope you give this album a genuine try. It has an essence, a spark, a genuine truthfulness and relatedness that inspires instead of placates/sedates.
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on September 25, 2017
This album has me hooked from start to finish. Starts out strong with tracks that will get you going, and finishes with some fun. Honestly one of my favorite albums of all time, any genre. This is a true piece of art!
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