Last week I promised to find you a nice boy to listen to, but I’ve only kept half my promise: I found you a boy, but he’s anything but nice. He’s actually pretty spectacular. However, I would be completely unable to appreciate this, or any song within this genre as fully as possible if it wasn’t for my own nice boy.
Sometime last year I met a guy that had sparkly eyes and was witty enough to hold my attention for more than 5 minutes. Whenever I meet someone new, I’m always terrified to ask the dreaded, very important question: ‘What kind of music do you listen to?’ I don’t really care about what the answer is per se, as long as they have some band they’re passionate about. As someone who spends a large portion of their personal and professional life with music, it’s crucial that other people in my life get it’s importance. Music is one of the most personal choices someone can make, and I will always respect others and expect the same from everyone in my life.
I’ve asked the aforementioned big question many times before; one time I got the absolute f*cking craziest answer I have heard to date. Some guy once said ‘Actually, I’m not really into music’.
‘Uh, are you into breathing’? I wanted to ask.
I had no idea what to say to him. I wanted to poke him, make sure he wasn’t a cyborg. I prodded further, no favorite band, never been to a concert, what CDs are in your car? ‘Nope, nope, nothing’ he said. ‘I mean, sometimes I’ll turn the radio on in my truck and listen to a song if it comes on that sounds okay, but I don’t like, own any CD’s or anything’. Needless to say, it didn’t work out.
Anyways, back to my sparkly eyed boy. He was lovely; well read, funny, smart, and a hip hop kid. I’m a bonafide rock/metal/punk chick through and through, and his genre was one I was familiar with, but not nearly as fully versed in. I was a little scared. But over time, he’s brought me over to his side a little. He’s introduced me to some amazing music that I wouldn’t have otherwise given a chance; and that’s a gift. If you love music, you share it, and the gift he has given me is one I can never fully thank him for.
One of my favorite gifts the hip hop world has recently brought to my life is this man: Macklemore. He’s an Irish kid from Washington that is easily one of the filthiest rappers I have ever heard. He’s raw, and probably the only person I have ever heard rhyme the word ‘orange’. I originally heard his song ‘Wings‘, an ode/hate poem to his Nike Airs and what they stood for. Upon checking out his impressive discography, I was blown away, and it took me a solid 10 minutes to choose which of his songs to share with you today; there are so many good ones.
At times, he can be dirty: His song ‘Can’t hold us down’ has one of the most epic beats I have ever heard and it doesn’t matter how bad of a mood I’m in: I put this song and my shoulders start to bounce and before I know it, I’m dancing around like a maniac. He’s sampled Red Hot Chilli Peppers ‘Otherside‘ for his song of the same name, and paints a picture of his own past addictions that are insightful, not self pitying, and that makes for an inspiring story. If you’re Irish in any way, or just really love St. Patty’s day, make sure you listen to ‘Irish Celebration‘, it’s an ode to his heritage that made me crave a green beer (and I don’t even drink)
He can be lyrical without standard predictable rhyming: His song ‘My Oh My‘, is a must listen for any sports fan; it’s about his beloved team, but makes you think of how much you love yours. When I heard it, I instantly thought of Joe Carter winning the world series for the second time, running around the field with that ball screaming his head off while I freaked out at home.
He can be pure poetry: His song ‘The End‘, is spine-tingling, and would win the award for ‘best use of horns’ if there was such a category. It made me nostalgic for every high school dance I ever went to, and when he says ‘you are perfect, forget that prom dress’, I get goosebumps every time.
I suppose my whole point of this story and about Macklemore, is that I appreciate people that are passionate about something. Whether or not you dig him or this style, he always feels real. He tells a story he feels strongly about, and it translates. I had the privilege of seeing him at his first Toronto show on his last tour (sold out!) and you could just feel every word come from a very true place inside him. He wrote on his blog earlier last year ‘believe it or not, writing as a vulnerable, real person is still a commendable and endearing trait in 2011’, and I really applaud him on admitting that.
He recently released the song and video for ‘Victory Lap’, which shows his journey from playing dive bars to stadiums. When you watch an artist grow over the years from his first album to major success, you can’t help but feel happy for them and to have been a part of it. It’s catchy, with an unpredictable beat and really shows how hardworking and deserving he is off all his accomplishments.
In the song I mentioned earlier, ‘The End‘, he says whistfully “Don’t you love music, it’s such a gift and I’ll give it to ya; but you gotta use it‘. I love that line. So thank you, to my sweet hip hop boy who gives me the gift of music all the time. Thank you to Macklemore, who reminded me to be more open minded about my choices. And thank you to all my readers, who make me want to keep sharing my thoughts and words. Do me a favor? If you’re reading this, thank someone today too. Post a song that’s been killing you, been saving you, been making you dance, whatever. You never know what effect it might have. Be real, and Give someone the gift of music today.