Macklemore, Ryan Lewis energize 9:30 Club crowd


Macklemore’s lyrics and Ryan Lewis’ beats kept D.C.’s 9:30 Club crowd going for three hours Nov. 13.

By Matthew Reback, Staff Writer

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have continued to shock the music world. Not only are they unsigned, but they also record, mix, edit and ship all of their albums from one 500 square foot room. Since Macklemore’s 2005 Language of My Mind, the duo has taken a pure do-it-yourself approach to gradually build up a sizable fan base.

The duo’s following exploded after the release of their new album, The Heist, Sept. 4. In just the first week, the album sold 78,000 copies independently and topped iTunes charts. It also made it to #2 on the Billboard chart behind only Mumford and Sons.

The five-month long world tour promoting The Heist started in September and has sold out in all but three venues so far.

D.C.’s 9:30 Club was lucky enough to host the group Nov. 13. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis brought an unmatched energy that sustained the roaring crowd’s unyielding enthusiasm for the duration of the concert. For three full hours, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis never slowed down. Because most of Ryan Lewis’s contribution to the group is done prior to the concert by making beats, he would often come up to the front of the stage and help Macklemore pump up the crowd.

Macklemore opened with the song “10,000 hours,” which is a reference to Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers. The book proves through case studies that it takes approximately 10,000 hours to achieve mastery in any specific craft. Performing live since the age of 17, Macklemore, now 29, has spent his fair share of time perfecting this art, and it showed.

When Macklemore paraded around the stage in “Thrift Shop,” he allowed audience members to pass up their most extravagant clothing such as faux fur hats and rainbow colored sweatshirts. When he rapped about his success in “Victory Lap,” the audience couldn’t help but feel happy for all that he has accomplished. When he championed the rights of gays in “Same Love,” it felt sincere.

Crowd favorites included “And We Danced” and “Can’t Hold Us.” The titles do each song justice, as they are both fast-paced tracks that are all about letting loose, forgetting how you are seen by others and just having fun.

Macklemore often overshadows Ryan Lewis, the second half of the duo, because lyricists receive the majority of the credit in any rap group. Lewis’s beats, though, add a unique factor to the music. They are responsible for the head bobs and the fist pumps that captured the audience. Macklemore’s voice is what resonates with listeners and carries the message behind each song.

The concert closed with “Irish Celebration,” which is a bit slower than the preceding tracks,  but it still engaged the audience just as much. The track is primarily concerned with Macklemore’s pride in his Irish heritage, which was infectious to the crowd that sang along as the concert drew to a close.

The duo’s music separates them from so many other rappers today because their content exposes who they are as people and what they value. They are too preoccupied with churning out some of the most original and thoughtful music, rap or otherwise, to concern themselves with comparing themselves to other artists.

The dynamic duo exudes swag in everything that they do. Whether it is rocking an absurd fur coat or one of the craziest hairstyles seen in the rap game, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are proud of who they are and what they do, and their fans can’t help but be proud, too.