Macklemore. Have you heard of him?
If you’ve got a teenager in the house, chances are you have. Or if you’ve listened to the radio, surfed the internet, or watched Saturday Night Live.
And if you’re a mom, you should know about Macklemore and why teenagers love him.
Just in case you stilll have no idea who I’m talking about, here is Macklemore’s recent appearance on SNL:
You really should watch it.
Macklemore is a 29-year-old rapper from Seattle, Washington, who just happens to have a hit song, “Thrift Shop”, topping the Billboard charts-and has sold over 3.9 million copies of it to date. He and his musical partner, Ryan Lewis, have achieved unlikely success in today’s music scene, starting with their rise to fame as artists not signed to a major label. But that’s not the reason moms should know about him.
And it’s not that your teenagers are suddenly turning to rap music instead of Taylor Swift (but I love her, too).
You should know about Macklemore because he’s different.
Yes, he’s a rapper. I’ll admit that I’m not a big rap fan, mainly because I object to much of the lyrical content and suggestive ideas many rappers base their music around. But Macklemore, he’s not like them.
I first heard him through the walls of my 16-year-old daughter’s bedroom. Surprised to hear thumping bass and rhythm over melodic pop songs, I questioned her. She tried to tell me he’s different, but I just walked away, puzzled.
Finally, after weeks of persuasion, we listened to his newest album start to finish on a long car trip. I have to admit-I was impressed.
Macklemore has been called a ‘conscious rapper’-a label he doesn’t entirely love: “”Am I more or less conscious than everybody else? I’m a full spectrum of a human being. There’s songs that are deep and personal and might bring up some social issues, but that’s not the full side of me. I think it’s just a box, that’s just corny. It’s very outdated. It’s very underground and backpacker-ish and that’s not the music I make,” he stated.
But when I hear songs like “Thrift Shop”, and especially “Same Love”, I see how it fits; Macklemore writes about real life, real problems, and real people. He breaks the negative stereotypes of rap, and had the courage to break through trends and challenge his listeners to do the same. He writes about issues that I see teens struggle with every day, like wearing the ‘right’ clothes in “Thrift Shop”, and dealing with sexuality and discrimination, as in his hit “Same Love”:
We press play/Don’t press pause/Progress, march on!/With a veil over our eyes
We turn our back on the cause/’Till the day/That my uncles can be united by law
Kids are walkin’ around the hallway/Plagued by pain in their heart
A world so hateful/Some would rather die/Than be who they are
This is why moms need to know about Macklemore. At least read his lyrics. Hear the issues he writes about, and ask your kids what they think. When I asked teens why they liked Macklemore, they responded with things like “he’s just so good” and “a lot of his music is spoken word, which I like. It’s not all hardcore rap-he has a lot of variety.”
Teens liking spoken word? Wow-that means they’re actually listening to what the artist is saying…and in my opinion, that’s a very good thing. Well, except for the foul language, but if they can look past that and focus on his messages, Macklemore is ok in my house. Teenagers love him because he writes what they’re living-bullies and styles and fitting in and love…and moms, if you want to understand your teenagers a little bit better, you might just take a listen to “Wings”: