Reflecting on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “The Heist” [Review & Documentary]

Posted by on October 25, 2012

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First off, thank you to Jabari Presents for this fantastic production.

By now, many of you have hopefully scraped the wax out of your ears and christened your drums to the incredible art featured on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ debut LP, The Heist. Yes it reached the #2 spot on Billboard, yes it sold 78,000+ units in week one, and yes the duo accomplished this all independently, but that is not why this project is so special to me and so many others. Mack and Ryan are still the kids you used to play neighborhood ball with. They’re still the guys who will shake your hand or take a picture with any fan on the street. They’re still representing authenticity for the people.

“The Heist” will be in consideration for the album of the year come December, that’s without question. What may fly under the radar is the amount of blood, sweat, tears, and man hours that went into this project by both Mack and Ryan. Lacking anything but determination and perseverance, this documentary shines light on what it means to be an independent artist working at such an eminent level. There are no handouts, no pampering, no CEO black cards. Loyalty, love, determination, resilience and passion for the art is the driver. If you are unable to see the transparency in their music, this album may not hold the same weight, but there is enough versatility on the project that you should still be able to connect with one or two records. On a final note, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis will forever hold my respect. Although I’ve never met them personally, their music is honest, open and genuine enough to lead me to believe otherwise.

Below I’ve listed some of my personal highlights if you haven’t listened to the album and need a starting point. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the album, positive or negative, so please sound off in the comments section.

Most Creative Beat: “Thrift Shop”

Addictive Hook: “Gold” – “Today we’re feeling like gold, five hundred thousand sold, Slick Rick Gold, rope on, hella cold, And we stay fresh, so fresh head to toes, Goldschlager faded, 14 carat plated, So we’re feeling like gold”

Lyrics Turned Motto: “Make the money, don’t let the money make you. Change the game, don’t let the game change you.” – Make the Money

Underlying Message: Resistance to succumb to the “industry standard”, voiced freely on “Jimmy Iovine” which also features Ab-Soul. (I’m still trying to figure out how Ab-Soul – a signee of Interscope Records – is featured on a song openly sharing distaste with Jimmy Iovine’s – the CEO of Interscope – offer)

Ground Breaker: “Same Love” ft. Mary Lambert [Watch Video]

Music Video: “Thrift Shop” [Watch Here]

Cover Art: “Starting Over” (Hard copy deluxe album includes artwork for each individual track)

Song I’ll play for my kids one day: “Wing$”

Goosebumps: “My Oh My” …You don’t have to be a Mariners fan, any baseball fan will enjoy this one.

PURCHASE “The Heist” on iTUNES | ORDER DELUXE ALIGATOR BOUND CD

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  • Max B

    Great review, Gru. In response to your statement here — “I’m still trying to figure out how Ab-Soul – a signee of Interscope Records – is featured on a song openly sharing distaste with Jimmy Iovine’s – the CEO of Interscope – offer” — Macklemore recently tweeted that the song is not about jimmy lovine specifically (he said that he has never actually met jimmy) but merely a stance against major labels as a general entity. In the documentary, he jokes with a crew member about needing a major label as he is loading the U-Haul. He goes on to say that he isn’t against working for a major in the future, he just wants it to be on his terms.

  • Grubeats

    Good call man and thanks for the kind words, I did notice that in the video. As long as he holds the POWER 🙂

  • Sam

    The hook for “Gold” is actually “Today we’re feeling like gold, five hundred thousand sold, Slick Rick Gold, rope on, hella cold, And we stay fresh, so fresh head to toes, Goldschlager faded, 14 carat plated, So we’re feeling like gold”

  • Tom Simmermaker

    “Starting Over” is so raw. I admire him for his piercing honesty. I also loved “Cowboy Boots,” because it is such a great description of leaving one’s childhood neighborhood.

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