Critics Need to Lay Off Macklemore
Others assert Macklemore is somehow a derivative rip-off of indie-rap heavyweights like Brother Ali and Slug of Atmosphere. These days, the lines between influence and imitation have become blurred to the point of being nearly indistinguishable. Yes, Macklemore sounds reminiscent of a few members of the Rhymesayers label (who've maintained a strong connection with the Seattle hip-hop scene for over a decade), but if this were truly a case of blatant jacking, would the collective and their Minneapolis hometown be as consistently supportive of Macklemore as they are? (Not likely, no.)
Furthermore, at a time when critics have come to fully embrace and no longer automatically dismiss Big K.R.I.T.'s Pimp C influence, Action Bronson's Ghostface influence, Childish Gambino's Young Money influence and The Game's whoever-he's-sharing-a-track-with influence, why is this solely an issue with Macklemore?
I spoke with him last fall, about everything from open mics in New York to grinding in Seattle. He mentioned that he's always aimed to follow in the independent tradition of Hieroglyphics, Living Legends and Freestyle Fellowship.
He's since implemented that same DIY drive into a number two album on Billboard and the number one song in the country. (Even if he did get a little help.) Regardless if you agree with "Thrift Shop's" anti-materialistic message, or see it as a worthwhile alternative, there's no question that so many people being excited about an independent rap artist actually interested in rapping is a good thing.