I couldn’t tell you how many thrift shops there are in Seattle. The hipster movement has fully enthralled the heart of this city. As a current resident, I can guarantee that Seattle-born rapper Macklemore’s lastest track “Thrift Shop” is going to be Seattle’s new hipster anthem.
Let me preface this by saying I don’t really enjoy Macklemore that much. I do feel he is talented, but I don’t identify much with the demographic that he seems to cater to. That being said, “Thrift Shop” is a dope song. Ryan Lewis, Macklemore’s musical partner and producer, kills the beat. He has been on fire with his underrated production lately, including his acclaimed instrumentals on he and Macklemore’s, The VS EP, and this is yet another example of how good he has become. Lewis is able to capture the pop sound while turning it into something more complex and interesting.
Lately, Macklemore has been making similar adjustments to his lyrics. He is a smart artist, and has been able to navigate the constraints of the rap game by constantly poking fun at it, while still making good music. “Thrift Shop” is no different. The song is a proclamation of his swag, but rather than being a walking advertisement for a certain omnipresent horseman, he details his, and all of Seattle’s, love for vintage clothing. With lines like, “Rollin’ in hella deep/ headed to the mezzanine/ draped in all pink/ ‘cept my gator shoes those are green”, you can tell he’s found his niche and it is unique. But in classic Macklemore fashion, he fits a message into this song too, showing us he can still bring a certain degree of irony and mockery with his lyrics. To him wearing vintage clothing is about more than stunting: “Limited edition/ lets do some simple addition/ 50 dollars for that T-Shirt?/ That’s just some ignorant bitch shit”. It’s a direct slap in the face to the mass produced consumer culture that he feels has taken over American style.
One of the strongest parts of a Macklemore & Ryan Lewis collaboration is always the video, and “Thrift Shop” does not disappoint. From the opening shot of Macklemore riding a scooter with a huge fur coat on, the video is both entertaining and ridiculous. Bad Bitches? Check. Delorean? Check. Velcro Shoes? This video has got it all – everything necessary to be ironically cool. The clothes are so absurd, that they appear fashionable, despite the fact that they came from thrift stores like the Goodwill Outlet, where the video was shot. Director Jon Jon Augustavo does a phenomenal job capturing the upbeat, playful spirit of the song. Macklemore brings a carefree attitude and beaming smile to match the vibe, which makes the video awesome. While working with Ryan Lewis, Macklemore has clearly been working on his presence – an aspect of his overall image that has improved immensely over the past couple of years. These changes make this video, and ultimately his persona, an intriguing and inviting figure for the viewer.
This video, and the rest of Macklemore’s work with Ryan Lewis, is what finally sold me on the appeal of this Seattle icon. He’s always had a message in his music, but only recently has he been able to present that message in a way that doesn’t come off like a sermon. He has found a great balance between delivering a message and just having fun. By making his point more accessible, he has quickly managed to escape the confines of Seattle, and gain a more national audience. Personally, I’m sold on Macklemore and I’m excited to see what comes of his upcoming album with Ryan Lewis, The Heist, dropping October 9th.