This was possibly the most family-friendly hip-hop show we’ve ever been to. Kids with their parents from the front row all the way back into the stands filled up most of the Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum. If there’s any better indication of who’s buying music we’re hard pressed to find it.
From drug addiction to Grammy winning, Macklemore has started from the bottom, rock bottom. This is the success he deserves, backed by many hours of hard work, but being in the mainstream doesn’t help with avoiding criticism. His songs span the spectrum of overly-righteous, sometimes downright preachy, to playful and corny. With songs about thrift shopping, overdosing, LBGT rights, mopeds, sneaker culture, and more, it’s hard to pin down what will happen with his career. Ryan Lewis is a true producer, cultivating songs that could stand in entirety by itself. The duo is a nice nod to the era when producers and MC’s used to solely work with one another. Gang Starr, Pete Rock & CL Smooth are some examples of this. These days it’s rare to see this because the internet has made everyone accessible and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but when you’re working with one person you start creating on the same wave length.
An interesting choice about the opener, Raz Simone, is that he is knock of realism and a figure that represents exactly what he is about. Raz was once on the printed cover of E&E when he was still a smaller proponent in the Seattle scene, and seeing him play for arena sized crowds is heart warming. Owner of his own solar-powered tour bus, a Tesla, and the CEO of independent label, Black Umbrella, the man is a genuine embodiment of what an independent artist should strive to be. Perhaps through the selection of Raz as the opener, Macklemore is sending a message about the path he would like to see Seattle hip-hop head towards. We would like to see more artists like Raz, blazing their own path to success while keeping a level head on what is happening in your home environment and how to give back to that community.