As I’m sitting here going about my business, I have music in the background on shuffle. A song came on that gave me strange nostalgia. It was Macklemore. It felt weird because it was a song I used to really enjoy but I’ve become so anti-Macklemore ever since his album came out that I haven’t listened to his music at all. Zip. Zero. Zilch. As we noted in our introductory post, this is a Seattle sports blog, but once in a blue moon you’ll get a non-sports related post, so on we go!
Via The Complex, this is what Lupe Fiasco had to say about his album, Lasers, his single “Show Goes On”, and the process that went on behind it.
“There’s nothing really to tell about that record, to be honest. I didn’t have nothing to do with that record. That was the label’s record. That wasn’t like I knew the producer or knew the writer or anything like that. That was one of those records the record company gave me, [they even gave me] stuff they wanted me to rap about. It wasn’t like, ‘Hey I did this and I went to a mountain and found inspiration and it was this.’ [Last April] I was backstage at a show at the House of Blues in L.A. and the president of [Atlantic Records] came to me and said, ‘Hey check this out, I got this song.’ He played ‘Show Goes On’ for me on the iPod. I was used to it because they presented me like ten other songs in the same fashion or via email. So for me, at that point, it was just another record like, ‘Is this a song you want me to do?’ There was nothing special about it for me at that point. It was like, ‘You know we still want off the label, right?’ That was the conversations we were having.
“I did the record maybe a couple weeks after I initially heard it. We were on tour and I didn’t have the schedule to go record it, so the first instance that I had to actually go do it, I went and knocked it out. I knocked out ‘Never Forget You’ that same day. Then we had ‘Show Goes On’ for two, three months completed in some fashion. It was never a record like, ‘Hey! Lupe is super excited about ‘Show Goes On.’’ At that point, I was just drained. I was like, ‘Whatever. Another song, another day, another dollar.’
“I had to do ‘Show Goes On,’ that was like the big chip on the table. I had to do it and it had to be the first single if the record was going to come out. And then there’s ‘Never Forget You’ [featuring John Legend]—which is another record I had nothing to do with—which became another bargaining chip, like, ‘Yo, after ‘Show Goes On’ there’s going to be this other record that you had nothing to do with.’ And I know John Legend, he’s a cool dude. But it was just a record he had sitting around and Exec A or Exec B heard it, and they were like, ‘Oh yeah! We’re going to put this on Lupe.’ And it wasn’t like, ‘Hey Lupe, do you like this song?’ it was like, ‘You got to do this record.’ At that point, I had already done ten records [the same way]. It was like I’d fly out from whatever spot I’m vacationing in, cut these records, and fly back.”
I respect the heck out of Lupe because despite the demands of Atlantic Records, he still managed to put a message into his music, in between the poppy beats and hooks. Had he not released this album, Lupe would not have been allowed to release an album. He even claimed at one point to being “held hostage” by Atlantic Records. Is he exaggerating? Not really. He had similar problems trying to release Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1. However this time around, he seemed to have much more creative control over the album.
So why would I dislike Macklemore so much? His record label did the same thing Atlantic did to Lupe. They forced him to put it out. Right? Actually, that couldn’t be more wrong. The Heist was independently produced, recorded, and released by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. He had 100% creative control over the album, and he put out (mostly) hot garbage. Aside from a few good features and a couple solid songs, the album is laden with poppy beats and terrible, absolutely god awful, hooks and choruses. This is all completely subjective, but the best songs on the album (“My Oh My” and “Wing$”) were songs that had been released previously as singles or on other projects. So even with a few solid songs, there are enough terrible songs that it has lost Macklemore credibility and simultaneously lost my respect for him and his music. A couple years back, he was an awesome story. A white rapper putting on for Seattle, and doing so on an independent label. “Same Love” had a great concept, and I respect him for defending homosexuality, especially as a hip-hop artist. I do give him credit for that even though I’m not a huge fan of the song. Before you write me off as a hater, I want to share with you a few lines off of songs from The Heist.
“Like Dennis Rodman, I got a rod, man (aww yeah!)/Long wong-dong in a soft hand and a pink palm pink schlong, let’s all, dance!”
“Walk into the club like ‘What up? I got a big cock!”
Those really were the lines I just felt were specifically bad. The message is gone, and the lyrics make you cringe at times. About four years ago, I was a pretty big fan of Macklemore’s. Along with the Blue Scholars, Grynch, Common Market, Jake One, The Physics, among plenty of others, Seattle was, and is, becoming quite the hip-hop scene! When I listen to his old music all I hear and think about is the new Macklemore and what in my mind he stands for, which sucks because now I can’t look at his old music the same. He got paid, and quite frankly he’s doin’ it. But at the end of the day what it comes down to is Macklemore sold out. He sold out, and he sold out hard. There was no record label to force him to put out a radio song such as “Thrift Shop.” He did it on his own accord. And for that, he has lost my respect.
by Michael Ajeto