By Margaret Waterman, Associate Campus Editor
If there’s any song from 2012 that’s going to keep getting stuck in your head all throughout 2013, it’s Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop” from his debut album, “The Heist.”
I was first introduced to this song when my friend sent me a Facebook message with the link to its video, which follows Macklemore as he runs around a dingy thrift shop with his friends, rocking hand-me-down fur coats, reindeer sweaters and onesies.
Macklemore, or Ben Haggerty, just recently joined one of the music industry’s most exclusive clubs–Thrift Shop has officially hit #1 on the iTunes Top Singles list. Haggerty, who hails from Seattle, is the second independent artist ever to top the Billboard Hot 100.
Perhaps what is most remarkable about Macklemore’s hit is not just its popularity, but its message. While the song follows a traditional hip-hop/R&B format, it does not have a traditional hip-hop/R&B message.
Throughout the song, Macklemore consistently rejects materialism, rapping about how he would much rather buy something unique for 99 cents from a thrift shop than pay extra for a designer limited edition piece of clothing.
Fifty dollars for a t-shirt, that’s just some ignorant b–tch sh–t,
I call that getting swindled and pimped
I call that getting tricked by a business
That shirt’s hella dope
And having the same one as six other people in this club is a hella don’t
Peep game, come take a look through my telescope
Trying to get girls from a brand, then you hella won’t”
Macklemore has consistently resisted conformity, constantly coming up with new ways to break the mold in the hip-hop industry. His music video for another hit song, “Same Love,” features footage from 1960s civil rights protests and follows a gay couple throughout their relationship. His song “Jimmy Iovine,” not-so-lovingly named after the producer credited with helping Eminem reach stardom, takes a stab at the music industry today, using breaking into Iovine’s office as a metaphor for how artists today don’t necessarily work for their success.
If I get past security, the secretary, the cubicles
But it’s weird, it’s like this room I’ve walked into is unusual
Thought it would be shiny and beautiful
Thought it would be alive and like musical
But if feels like someone died, it’s got the vibe of a funeral”
The theme laid out in “Jimmy Iovine” seems to be Macklemore’s motto. Unsigned, he has defied expectations and kept his success all his own all the while. His debut album, ‘The Heist”, follows its title to the letter–he and Ryan Lewis have stolen the music industry and made it their own. I’m excited to see what Macklemore has waiting for us up his sleeve.
In the meantime… Let’s go thrift shopping.