Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is the self-released single “Make the Money” by Macklemore X Ryan Lewis.
The rising star that is Seattle hip hop duo (emcee) Macklemore and (producer) Ryan Lewis is meteoric to say the least. Not only did they kick off 2011 with sold out shows of the city’s biggest venues, but they continued their streak in other cities and around the world with local cohorts Champagne Champagne and Olympia’s Xperience in tow. They have gained attention (for various reasons) but mostly for Macklemore’s earnest lyrics and dedication to socially conscious hip hop along with Mr. Lewis’ polished yet chill beats. This combination has garnered them leagues of devoted fans who claim to be changed by the music and indeed if you listen to lyrics, the delivery, and the cadence of his words, and the swell and relief of the tunes, it’s easy to get sucked into his world. Macklemore’s natural abilities as a storyteller, (part confession, part teacher), can engross even the most casual listener of hip hop. There’s a little something in there that you identify with, and once you realize that, he has you.
Today’s song, “Make the Money” isn’t the anthemic, testosterone swelling, call to arms that you might hear from other rappers. Instead, it’s a thoughtful look at the genre’s idolization of being made, and all the perks that come along with it. It’s not such an innocent or condemning look at what many people’s dreams/goals are, but a look at one’s motivations for achieving them. He may want those things too, but the reason why he’s doing what he’s doing is because he can’t not do what he’s doing. What saves him from becoming too preachy (as with other socially conscious songs), is his earnestness and honesty as he frequently turns his critical eye upon himself in order to share what he has learned.
Right now, the only dates they have posted are a trio of shows in Colorado in April w/ Xperience. More info on their website. Until then, check out their performance live in the KEXP studios last summer. Here they are with their full band performing “Can’t Hold Us.”