Macklemore's Terrifying Secret: He's Not Really That Good
When I first heard about Macklemore, it was through the word of mouth surrounding the craze over his video for the song "Thrift Shop." Memes make stars these days, and the kitschy, comedic video and song about wearing clothes from Goodwill really struck a chord with my young, hipster peers.
I was finally forced to listen to the damn song, just to understand what everybody was freaking out about, and in doing so, I stumbled upon a terrible secret Macklemore and his partner in crime Ryan Lewis have been hiding from all my friends and erstwhile hipsters around the world: He's not really that good.
I know, this revelation will come as a surprise to a lot of people who are really into what this guy does, but I'm going to have to put paid to that idea. It's okay if you like his music. Music is subjective, and I'm not here to say that your taste is, or even can be, wrong. But even if you like what he does, you can't possibly think this guy is actually a good rapper.
He's not even a rapper. He's a gimmick. He's in tune enough with pop culture and hipsters to understand what to rap about to catch people's interest; that much is true. But Macklemore isn't talented; he's smart. He's not an artist; he's a businessman.
He's latched onto a brilliant marketing scheme that literally anyone could think of if he or she tried hard enough: use clichéd indie hip-hop to talk about the things people want to hear about and can relate to in some generalized way. It's so obvious, yet so few people want to do it.
So why don't more people do what Macklemore is doing? For the sake of their art. Some people want to be artists and create something that matters to them, something that is inspired and has some kind of integrity to it.
Macklemore is not interested in that. He's interested in latching onto fads to make money. If this were the 1980s, "Thrift Shop" would have just had a whole lot of references to parachute pants and spiked leather jackets.