Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Macklemore, also known as Ben Haggerty, is a Seattle native whose name is now internationally known thanks to his and Ryan Lewis’s hit, “Thrift Sop”. The 29-year-old has been releasing music independently since 2000 and now has a numerous online fanbase, but his road to stardom has not been smooth.
Though he was not born to a musical family, his parents were very supportive and always encouraged his musical ventures. He discovered his passion for hip hop when he was only 6 and during his childhood he used to spend the summers with his friends making dubs and mix-tapes of radio played songs. When he was fourteen years old, he started writing lyrics and friends called him Möcklimore. Haggerty attended Garfield and Nathan Hale high schools, where he faced the reality of racial discrimination. Used to live in an all-white neighborhood, going to a racially diverse school was a revelation and a disappointment for the teen Haggerty, who realized that life and society was not as he thought. He came upon his own ignorance of racial and social status and this was to influence his music later on.
Soon after graduating, he got involved in “Gateways for Incarcerated Youth” program and facilitated music workshops within a juvenile-detention facility. Determined to make a difference and reach the young generation through his music, he took the name Professor Macklemore and released his first EP, Open Your Eyes in 2000. He distributed the EP himself but the outcome was not as he expected, so he called himself simply Macklemore and five years later, in 2005, he released his first official full-length album, The Language of My World. Unfortunately, his substance abuse issues seized him from making new music and for four years, Macklemore fought a long and exhausting battle with his addiction, entered rehab several times, was on the verge of losing his life but came out of it successful and with plenty of ideas for ending his musical hiatus.
Thus, in 2009 he released The Unplanned Mixtape and a year later he began the collaboration that was going to change his life and mark his career forever: he teamed up with producer Ryan Lewis. Their second EP, VS. Redux, was based on Macklemore’s own experience with substance abuse and it received the critical acclaim they hoped for, reaching No. 7 on the iTunes Hip Hop chart.
Last year, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis released their first debut full-length album, The Heist, which was their international breakout. Macklemore was already famous in Europe, so the release of this new record only validated his talent oversea. They hit the road in an extensive world tour to promote their album, as The Heist sold 78,000 copies in the first week and the music video “Thrift Shop” has had more than 60 million viewers.
To sum up, Macklemore is still a rising star. He hasn’t yet reached the zenith of celebrity and his road to stardom is far from being finished. To be where he dreamt to be when he was only a boy, Macklemore will have to stay sober, continue his work with Lewis, throw his annual pizza bash party encouraging fans’ creativity and their love for music, and support same-sex relationships.
Best singles: “My Oh My,” “Wing$,” “Can’t Hold Us” featuring Ray Dalton, “Same Love,” “Thrift Shop”.