Artist: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Title: “The Heist”
The Seattle hip-hop duo of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis first turned heads in 2010 with “Otherside,” which cops a name and a beat from a Red Hot Chili Peppers song, but Macklemore used it to talk about the fatal dangers of a trendy, codeine-cough-syrup-laced drink.
Macklemore saw the dangers firsthand and, as a recovering alcoholic, brings credibility to rhymes about addiction. So when he spits on the pair’s debut, “The Heist,” about taking care of oneself and getting clean, he means it.
But his philosophy goes deeper than that. “No guns, no drugs, no sex, just truth,” he raps on “A Wake,” which celebrates the end of his drinking days. It’s a subject-matter mission statement for “The Heist.”
Sometimes, he comes off a bit too self-congratulatory – flaunting his indie cred on “Jimmy Iovine” and decrying capitalism in “White Walls” – but his lyrical choices deserve a measure of appreciation.
While Macklemore is at his best when he’s telling his personal story, easily overlooked is Lewis, who continues to find tight jams to marry to Macklemore’s rhymes, including that nasty saxophone hook that dominates catchy single “Thrift Shop.”
Together, the pair proves a promising duo on “The Heist.”
Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.