Macklemore responds to criticisms of "Thrift Shop" and talks about his success in the music industry with producer Ryan Lewis.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' music has dominated airwaves, and the charts, to the suprise of almost everybody, including the artists themselves. The rapper and producer duo recently spoke to XXL about their new-found fame in the muisc industry, and the single that basically made it happen, "Thrift Shop."
Although the single "Thrift Shop" proved to be Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' launching pad for stardom, its received its fair share of criticism for its pop sound. One critcism in particular came from New York Times writer Jon Caramanica, who wrote in an article in February that Macklemore's success "is a reminder that in 2013 it is possible to consume hip-hop while remaining at a far remove from the center of the genre."
Macklemore responded to this while talking to XXL. The Seattle native said, "Well, that sounds like it’s coming from a thirtysomething-year-old white man, and they tend to be bitter and cynical. I think that we as humans who have grown up listening to hip-hop music, hip-hop is a certain thing to us. For me, the “pure” hip-hop is the Golden Era. That’s what brings back that nostalgia, that feeling of being a kid and connecting with music, like, “This is the real shit. Everything else is fake,” and it goes through all these different phases. But you had Puffy come out with the shiny suit after that, and then it was like, “Oh, hip-hop is dying. What is this?” Then it was like, “Oh, the skinny jeans! Skinny jeans are fucking killing hip-hop! That’s what’s the matter with music, is these fucking skinny jeans.” And now it’s Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and now it’s really over.
He continued to address Caramanica's claim, "But that’s bullshit. I think that the dude who wrote that probably hasn’t listened to the whole album. When a song like “Thrift Shop” becomes a part of popular culture and soccer moms are bumping it and 5-year-olds are singing, “This is fucking awesome,” it’s really easy to go in with a scalpel and dissect it and scrutinize the shit out of it. If it was somebody else who made the song, I’d probably do the same thing, particularly if it was two white dudes. But I still think “Thrift Shop” is a really great record."
Macklemore also spoke on their rapid success, and whether or not it gave him a "See, I told you so" feeling towards the industry.
"That’s exactly what it is, like, “See? I fucking told you!” [Laughs] No, for us, it was more like, “Damn, that happened?” All of this was an extreme surprise, so we haven’t really had that moment," Macklemore explained. "It’s cool that somebody could even look at it that way, but I think the thing that’s been underestimated with our music is its connection with people. The connection it has on a personal level, people just don’t value that. I read shit, and people don’t get it. They don’t understand that it’s resonating with people on a personal level, and when music infiltrates the spirit it has a power way beyond any normal club record or flavor of the month. It has lasting power, and that’s why The Heist is still selling 30,000 records a week seven months after it came out, which is more than I thought it was gonna do its first week."
Check out the full interview here.