In the last few months alone Urban music has succumb to the effects of evolution in a huge way. Frank Ocean came out of the closet, Drake graduated from high-school, and Kanye West gave up on revamping Kim Kardashian’s hopeless wardrobe collection. While not quite obliterated, ignorance in the form of intolerance has been perpetuated to lesser degrees among Hip-Hop, R&B and Rap diehards and artists alike. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “The Heist” is a fearless 15 track compilation which boots the momentum of progress in Urban music to revolutionary speeds. The philosophy behind their debut album is something a lot more individuals should subscribe to, covering topics from senseless homophobia to mindless consumerism. On October 9th of this year The Heist was released on CD and made available for digital download on the independent Macklemore label.
Ben Haggerty (a.k.a. Macklemore) and Ryan Lewis have preserved an unparalleled type of independent song production throughout their partnership, and through “The Heist” have continued a tradition of bringing their fan base something truly unique to chew on. Possibly one of the most refreshing aspects of the album, among many, is a rare complexity and full-bodied orchestration, complete with brass and strings. The classically trained Macklemore members and instrumentalists, Andrew Joslyn (Violin), Noah Goldberg (Piano), Owour Arunga (trumpet) and Zach Fleary (Rhythm) bring a surprising spritz of whimsy to a number of the tracks– notably, ‘Thrift Shop,’ ‘Can’t Hold Us,’ and the fully instrumental and fittingly titled track, ‘BomBom’.
Macklemore has been celebrated for his candidness, and amid the insights of The Heist he passes on a mix of evolved cultural observations and mature self-reflexive wisdom. The lyrics of the first track alone, ‘Ten Thousand Hours’, read like a self-help book minus all the frilly encouragement. Sampling from the little known brilliance of folksy and tender-voiced, Mary Lambert in ‘Same Love’ demonstrated a real shift toward what may, hopefully, become a growing trend in Urban music. “The Heist” is genuine I.N.D.E.P.E.N.D.E.N.T. SH*T hustled from most every angle, and I for one hope Macklemore and Ryan Lewis never sign off on the sale of what immense soul their music has forged for us all.