“The Heist” raises standards with original and impressive tracks
Within hours of being released, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ first full album, “The Heist” topped the iTunes top albums chart with deep lyrics and original, catchy beats. Seattle rapper, Macklemore, and producer, Ryan Lewis, have already teamed up to create a number of successful mixtapes, and together they loaded their “debut” album with songs that stay true to their image as musicians, incorporating a diverse range of guest artists.
Building on his previous mixtapes, Macklemore showcases what he does best: storytelling. The deluxe version of the album includes some of his popular tracks from earlier releases like “My Oh My” and “Wing$,” which both seem more like slam poetry accompanied by a beat rather than the traditional loud, fast rap song.
The most popular song on the album, “Thrift Shop,” which came out before the release of the album, features guest artist Wanz. While it isn’t the most lyrically deep or meaningful record, it still incorporates one of the catchiest beats in recent memory, never failing to trigger inevitable head-bobbing. The beat, headlined by snare drums and a jolly saxophone melody, provides a background to a different side of Macklemore’s style than previously shown, rapping about, of all topics, thrift shopping. Not only is it hilarious, but also tremendously catchy.
Macklemore doesn’t just make happy-go-lucky songs though, as he discusses his struggles with sobriety in “Starting Over.” The track, highlighted by a melancholy beat, and featuring guest Ben Bridwell, the lead singer of the indie rock band “Band of Horses,” tells the story of the rapper’s relapse and all of the different emotions that went along with it. It’s a sad and dark song that draws the listener in with superb story telling and vivid memories.
The rapper also reflects his political views on the topic of same-sex marriage in “Same Love” featuring Mary Lambert, a fellow Seattle native, and gay rights activist. With a jazzy piano melody serving as background music, Macklemore attacks right wing conservatives and the number of internet users and rap artists throwing around gay slurs––stating that society has become numb to the stereotypes we use daily. The deep lyrics show his passion for the topic, and it acts almost as an anthem for gay rights.
Other songs like “Ten Thousand Hours,” “Neon Cathedral,” and “White Walls” also highlight the album with memorable beats and expressive lyrics. It’s one of the few albums released these days that every track is just as important and unforgettable, with the exception of “Cowboy Boots,” a song with an awkward mix of country music and rap that doesn’t feel like the right fit for this album.
Overall, “The Heist” exceeds expectations, proving the Seattle-born rapper still manages to create original and impressive tracks while maintaining his unique style of music. The mix of playful and emotional songs show the depth of Macklemore as an artist and a storyteller, demonstrating his profound understanding of the art itself.