A year and a half ago, I had no idea who Macklemore was. My brother was staying in Seattle at the time and mentioned to me one day in early 2011 that there was this white dude in Seattle named Mack who was slaughtering shows and was on the verge of selling out his nationwide tour. I thought, “Oh great… Another Asher Roth” – wait, is that racist? – but my brother insisted that dude was nice. Always tentative before I co-sign a fellow “Mack”, I reserved judgment for the time being…
Fast forward a month or so and I had the pleasure of meeting Macklemore in Austin. He looked older than I expected, had piercing blue eyes and was surprisingly unassuming. I’d still never heard any of his music, but shortly after being introduced I got to watch him perform live at the 2DopeBoyz showcase and got a firsthand lesson in Crowd Control. Aside from Ice Cube at the Roseland, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a show where the MC was in complete control of the crowd like he was. When it was over, we got a chance to talk again. Dude was on his grind. He’d rocked seven showcases the prior day (I lose my voice if I have 4 shows in two weeks) and we talked about his then upcoming tour in which they went on to sell out 18 of the 27 stops, including New York, Chicago, LA, San Francisco and three shows at The Showbox in his home town. At some point, he learned the top secret #AirPlaneMode handshake and shouted out “#APMGang” on Twitter. More than anything else, I remember that he was chill as hell, amazingly humble, and down for the team, so I decided to make positive judgment on the guy.
On Monday, Macklemore launched his website, and Jake (ever the abusive and belittling boss) instructed me to do a write up on it. I had no choice in the matter so I agreed. So after my Skype date with an undisclosed tenderoni, I checked out Macklemore.com to see what dude had in store. Most of us have seen a lot of rap pages, and I wasn’t really sure what I was supposed to write about. I mean, it’s just a web page… Right? Well I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by what I found.
As I typed the page address into my URL, I expected to see a dramatic picture of Mack – maybe the Wings picture – on a huge banner at the top of the page. Instead I found a logo that simply says “Macklemore & Ryan Lewis”. Instead of an “About Me” section chock-full with egotistical exaggerations, there is a “Team” section containing information on the team that makes his brand successful. In the typically self-absorbed world of hip-hop, this simplicity, teamwork and humility really caught my attention. (In case you don’t already know, Ryan Lewis is a production genius/DJ and plays the role of Jazzy Jeff to Macklemore’s Fresh Prince. If you don’t get that analogy, feel free to unfollow me on Twitter.) Naturally, the site also includes links to all of his videos, a litany of pictures, show listings and a blog featuring fluttering thoughts from Mack and Ryan. Nice work, I must say.
Today, I realized Jake’s true editorial genius as Macklemore graced the cover of XXL’s Magazine’s 2012 Freshman Class edition alongside MGK, French Montana, Roscoe Dash and others. This is a huge accomplishment, not only for Mr. Mack, but for the Northwest hip-hop scene in general. Regardless of your opinion on dude’s rapping, you can’t argue that this proves that it is possible for a Northwest rap artist to blow up out of their city. And that, my friends… That is what it’s all about. Now go check out www.Macklemore.com.
Oh… and Macklemore, if you read this, would you please tell me what #SHARKFACEGANG is all about? Holler.
~Mac Smiff (aka Your Favorite Rapper’s Favorite Writer)