Most people know Mackelmore for his radio hit “Thrift Shop“, but lately I have been listening to a lot more of his music, and I am truly inspired. Most of his music has a lot more meaning than “Thrift Shop”, and it bothers me that this is the only song of his that the radio will put on the air, but I’m not surprised.
The first song that turned me on to the rest of his music is “Same Love” which is about marriage equality. Mackelmore starts off the song with admitting that he once thought he was gay, “When I was in the third grade I thought that I was gay because I could draw, my uncle was, and I kept my room straight“, he goes on to say how being gay has so many stereotypes, but it’s not really so clear cut, it’s not a decision someone makes as the “right wing politicians” think it is.
While I haven’t had the chance to listen to every song, most of his other music is about his struggle with alcoholism. This really hits home for me as I have seen loved ones struggle with it and I’m growing up in a time where many of my peers abuse prescription drugs, which Mackelmore also talks about in his songs. In his song “Otherside” Mackelmore specifically calls out Lil’ Wayne for his “purple drank”, but he does it in a way that doesn’t put anyone down. “This is not Californication, there’s no way to glorify this pavement, Syrup, Percocet, and an eighth a day will leave you broke, depressed, and emotionally vacant. Despite how Lil Wayne lives, it’s not conducive to being creative“.
Another song that I really took to was “A Wake” which is about the current generation in general. The line that gets to me everytime is when he says, “I grew up during Reaganomics, when Ice T was out there on his killing cops shit or Rodney King was getting beat on and they let off every single officer, and Los Angeles went and lost it. Now every month there is a new Rodney on Youtube, it’s just something our generation is used to“. What gives me chills is how right he is. How often have we seen a video of a cop abusing their power on youtube, but what have we done to stop it? I know it’s hard to compete with and there are a lot of problems that need to be dealt with in this world, but what’s important is that we don’t forget them. I think that Mackelmore, and other rappers like him, should be on the radio more than the rappers that encourage young kids to smoke and drink. Mackelmore is a positive figure who makes it look cool to be free from alcohol, his raps tell it like it is, and that’s something that’s rare today- but kids need it.