Macklemore is more than just 'Thrift Shop' on The Heist
Macklemore is an up-and-coming rap artist who has put out four albums since 2005. Besides having a fun-loving attitude and tireless work ethic, Macklemore is also an artist with a message who wants to be heard through his music.
Though “Thrift Shop” is the best-known song on his album The Heist, other tracks may be even better — and perhaps more revealing of Macklemore.
With The Heist, Macklemore takes his listeners on a journey through his life struggles and his opiniond about issues important to him, such as in album opener “Ten Thousand Hours.”
The track is made to push the listener to work hard to reach their potential, as Macklemore raps, “The greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint / The greats were great ‘cause they paint a lot.” These lyrics inspire the listener to believe that anything is achievable with sufficient work.
But even “Thrift Shop,” a song about, yes, finding great deals at a thrift store, is more meaningful than listeners might think. It’s a catchy tune, and the music video makes thrift shopping look like a blast.
However, the song’s catchiness might actually distract from its inherent message: it’s not how much you spend on your clothes, it’s how you wear them. “Let’s do some simple addition / Fifty dollars for a t-shirt, that’s just some ignorant bitch shit … I call that getting tricked by business,” Macklemore raps while rocking a 99-cent leopard mink coat.
This anthem proves there’s no need to spend a ton of cash to look fly; confidence is the key, regardless of your wardrobe’s price tag.
Macklemore takes on a more cultural topic in the track “Same Love,” which speaks about gay rights. The first-person narrator raps about the difficulties he has faced because of his sexuality. “When I was in the third grade I thought that I was gay, I told my mom, tears rushing down my face / She’s like ‘Ben, you’ve loved girls since before pre-k.’”
Macklemore continues on to detail how people cannot change their sexual orientation, even if they try. It is not a decision to be made, as may conservatives imply, and it cannot be cured with counseling or religion.
He also talks about how we have become numb to the meaning behind many of the words and phrases we use, such as calling something “gay” without thinking about the consequences. This song reaches out to the listener with the lesson that society needs to be more accepting of others’ differences.
As a whole, Macklemore shines on The Heist, and though the album doesn’t have another hit as big as “Thrift Shop,” it’s worth a listen for the messages within.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article stated the song “Same Love” is about Macklemore’s struggle to come out. Although the song does explore themes of LGBTQ issues and acceptance, Macklemore is not gay. The article has been updated to reflect this correction.