Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s new album “The Heist” opens in epic fashion with “Ten Thousand Hours,” a song that seems to announce the beginning of a gritty and struggle-filled story. It trails off with the words “Welcome to the Heist,” and all Macklemore fans can immediately tell that this album is going to be invention of its own.
Much as Macklemore is beloved for his goof-off and catchy rap tunes, “The Heist” demonstrates his maturity as a rapper and secures his place among the greats. Macklemore gets serious about struggles, whether they are a part of his life or a part of others.
His collaboration efforts with Ryan Lewis and countless other artists in the album give the tracks a deeper compositional value. The lyrical work and the melodic and instrumental experimentation together produce extremely honest stories with a clarity that many rappers struggle to achieve.
Despite the more somber tone of many of the tracks on the album, Macklemore begins it with a series of catchy tracks that entreat listeners to listen further. “Can’t Hold Us (feat. Ray Dalt)” has the natural melody and lyrical structure to propel it into the charts.
“Thrift Shop (feat. Wanz)” is lyrical gold. If this song doesn’t reach the top ten in the coming weeks, I will be extremely surprised. It combines Macklemore’s word tomfoolery with an extremely catchy and danceable beat.
The album then begins to progress into its heavier content until it reaches the already widely known “Same Love (feat. Mary Lambert).” This ally song for the legalization of gay marriage is one of the most honest and poignant of its kind. The lyrics revolve around reason and compose an argument for the legalization of gay marriage. The clarity of the message is unique and inspiring as the lyrics fade out with “I’m not crying on Sundays.”
From there, Macklemore begins to experiment with darker messages and share his own struggles. “Make the Money” and “Neon Cathedral (feat. Allen S.)” discuss his own fight with and for fame, as well as his struggle with addiction. The rapping style in “Make the Money” is somewhat reminiscent of Eminem.
However, “Neon Cathedral” has a much smoother structure and gives the impression of quiet pain, adding depth to the track. In testament to the album’s composition, “Starting Over (feat. Ben Bridwell)” is an inspiring account of Macklemore’s successful fight for sobriety and contributes to the joyous temperament of the ending of the album.
“The Heist” definitely shows Macklemore’s maturity as a rapper without losing his signature ridiculousness. Songs like “Thrift Shop” and “Same Love” demonstrate the breadth of Macklemore’s lyrical skill and how far he has come since the start of his career, both personally and professionally.
The honesty behind his lyrics is impressive, but their clarity is what truly sets him apart for other rappers. He doesn’t convolute his messages but leaves them as simple as possible, a technique which is likely to reach a larger audience. The penultimate track, “Victory Lap,” is justly named as “The Heist” is indeed a victory of an album.