“Same Love,” an extended take on homophobia and same sex marriage, is their latest statement. It’s another watershed moment for hip-hop in a year that’s also included the high-profile coming out of crooner Frank Ocean as bisexual.
While Macklemore came up in the Catholic church, he also grew up with gay uncles and admits he never saw much of an issue with sexual orientation. In an interview with Fuse, he said he had been waiting to write “Same Love” for years. Asked why he chose the topic now, Macklemore did not flinch. “There’s an evolution happening right now and I wanted to touch on that,” he said. “I wanted to write a song that spoke to my own experience and just to our generation.”
In a genre where calling someone gay is still often viewed as the ultimate diss, the duo has ignored convention and stuck to their social guns (the info for the “Same Love” music video ties their message to upcoming Washington legislation on gay marriage).
“Same Love” is incredibly effective in its message, but its deep emotional impact is nothing new to those who have been keeping an eye on the duo since Macklemore made it to the cover of XXL. Before “Same Love,” there was “Wing$,” a critique on consumer culture that examines the complicated relationship between sneaker collectors and the violence that can accompany privilege. The video was funded by fans on Kickstarter, a testament to the fervent grassroots support of their audience: they asked for $10,000; they received $18,000.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis may be the torch bearers for Seattle at the moment, but they’re also a key cog in the rise of thoughtful rap in the Emerald City. In a town that calls Grammy Award-winning rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot its greatest hip-hop export, Seattle has recently been enjoying a quiet underground resurgence. Macklemore and Lewis are paving the way for artists like J Pinder, Blue Scholars and Shabazz Palaces to follow in their footsteps.
With “Same Love” already at four million views after a week on YouTube and their debut now on shelves, leading by example doesn’t seem like such a bad career choice.
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