Seattle duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have received quite a number of critiques thanks to their genre-crossing The Heist single “Thrift Shop,” and during a recent interview with XXLMag.com the pair had the opportunity to address their critics directly.
While commenting on an article penned by New York Times writer Jon Caramanica titled “A Hip-Hop Moment, But Is It Authentic: Macklemore’s ‘Thrift Shop’ and Baauer’s ‘Harlem Shake’,” Macklemore defended “Thrift Shop” and revealed that the song is merely a “great record” that just so happened to make the crossover into pop.
“I think that the dude who wrote that probably hasn’t listened to the whole album. When a song like ‘Thrift Shop’ becomes a part of popular culture and soccer moms are bumping it and 5-year-olds are singing, ‘This is fucking awesome,’ it’s really easy to go in with a scalpel and dissect it and scrutinize the shit out of it,” Macklemore explained. “If it was somebody else who made the song, I’d probably do the same thing, particularly if it was two white dudes. But I still think ‘Thrift Shop’ is a really great record. I think that the beat’s slapping, I think that I’m rapping my ass off, and I think that it has a really catchy chorus, and those things came together and made a record that crossed over to pop.”
Ryan Lewis also tackled the topic of authenticity in Hip Hop during the interview as he referenced Kanye West and the Chicago rapper’s ability to constantly reinvent his music.
“Or on the flip side of that is looking to make what is current,” said Lewis. “That’s why I think somebody like Kanye is absolutely phenomenal, because he continues to come out with something that nobody else has and he redefines what the standard is to an acceptable hip-hop beat or an acceptable cadence or subject matter. It’s the reason why he is a trailblazer in the genre.”
“When you see people who have longevity in this industry, it’s people who reinvented themselves. Jay-Z, although Reasonable Doubt is one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time, Jay-Z hasn’t made 15 Reasonable Doubts. Some people wish that he would, but people evolve, artists evolve, and music evolves,” Macklemore added.
Released in August 2012, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop” music video has gone on to receive a little over 300 million views on YouTube and the single alone played a vital role in sales of The Heist.