What Macklemore and Ryan Lewis Story Means for Hip-Hop Moving Forward

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The buzz of the night in hip-hop is Macklemore and Ryan Lewis winning the Grammy for Best Rap Album at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards for “The Heist”. This is like the OJ Verdict revisited for a lot of people and I can’t understand why.

OK! You’re mad Kendrick’s Album “Good Kid M.A.A.D City” didn’t win. Ok. I myself liked the album more than The Heist too but, I see why The Heist won and regardless of what people say, it is not all about White guys in hip-hop, pushing the gay agenda or being gimmicky. Matter fact that all makes up about 30% of your so called legit arguments. However I don’t feel anything about Macklemore and Ryan Lewis is a gimmick at all.

Let’s talk FACTS: It’s 2014 and “Rap Fans” aren’t buying Rap Albums. Also let’s be clear that “Mixtape of The Year” or “My Mixtape Sound Like An Album” will NEVER be an award presented at the Grammy’s…Not even online and spoiled on Twitter. So if your favorite rapper fell in that category…you’re out the conversation. If you like something so much get behind it and push it forward. Do something besides ReTweet or brash TCOM Thuggery to prove who you like in this game.

The Heist is a independent, conceptual hip-hop album. That’s where it starts. All Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have is distribution. They’re not even on a “Koch or Fools Gold”. They LLC their names and released an album. It made impact and did numbers against major labeled pushed artist. THAT’S MAJOR! PERIOD!

Let’s talk about what The Heist doesn’t have: It doesn’t have gratuitous use of the N-Word, It tackles more than just the every day drug dealing street tales. I don’t think the word “twerk” was used 1 time during the album. It didn’t push the standard percentage of ignorance and genocide to specifically impoverished black communities, yet pleads that it is “showing them hope for a better life” through their stunting and shinning. Don’t recall a song for the strippers, the streets or something to make a dance to on the project either. So gimmick arguments are now officially invalid. Now we are just down to beats, rhymes and concepts. That’s where hip-hop started right??? That could have universal mass appeal right???

This is probably one of the biggest moments in Independent Hip-Hop History and people are down right hating! Ok, you don’t like Same Love, You thought Thrift Shop was “corny”, You heard Can’t Hold Us too many times and hate the song now….OK…but ask yourself this question “What engine put it in your face?” Your answer is “THE PEOPLE WHO SUPPORTED IT”. Movements don’t move without supporting fans. No way around that.

IT’S OFFICIALLY NO EXCUSES NOW. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have proved if you go left, tackle some topics put some effort into your business and your visuals that your just may sell a few million units and get a Grammy Nod…AND you can get all that with no major label backing, No Co-Sign, No well known Super Producer, No Popular rapper 16 on a feature run and not from the well known hot spots for hip-hop stars. You and your real fans can get it done.

Ok now for the “But He White” argument….Don’t blame Macklemore and Ryan Lewis being white on why YOUR BLACK FANS don’t support YOU! End of day not 100% of his fans are white and not 100% of your fans have to be black. Music is colorless. Try rapping about something other than Bad Bishes, Real Ni**as and G-Ish and MAYBE you would reach a broader audience. Eminem did it mainstream and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis did it independently…..But so Have Kanye West and Tech N9ne…STOP MAKING EXCUSES!

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis may never have another year like this again since the expectations to “Do Them” yet  “Make Hits” is on the line. However, what they have established independently has assured that their movement is real and will stand the test of time. They may NEVER get another Grammy Nod or have another Number 1 Album but, they will continue to sell out venues and make a honest living off of music. If you want to make it in this industry, that should be your top 2 goals.

Congrats to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis for their accolades achieved from “The Heist”. May Hip-Hop Live Long and Strong!


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