The Austin Chronicle Guide to SXSW 2017

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

The Heist

Fun Fun Fun Fest Friday Reviews

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

The Heist

Flexing the same contextual muscle that helped make Atmosphere's Slug an MC for the downtrodden, Macklemore utilizes second album The Heist as a vehicle for dissection, pulling back the layers of skin that cover addiction ("Starting Over"), the music industry ("Jimmy Iovine"), materialism ("Thrift Shop"), and homosexuality ("Same Love"). It's the latter that earned such adoration this summer, when, backed by a slow piano melody that producer Ryan Lewis could have lifted from Atmosphere's sonic architect Ant, Macklemore stepped into the mind of a gay man to look at the way rap culture sees sexual diversity: "If I was gay, I'd think that hip-hop hates me/Have you read the YouTube comments lately? 'Man, that's gay' gets dropped on the daily/We become so numb to what we're saying." Rap's issues extend far beyond money and street violence, something this Seattle wordsmith understands. "We have to change us," he raps. "Strip away the fear, it's all about the same love." (Fri., Blue stage, 7:05pm)

***.5

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