MACKLEMORE’S GEMINI released 2017
Warning: If you can’t hack the coarse language, steel clear!
Benjamin Hammond Haggerty (born June 19, 1983 in the US), known by his stage name Macklemore, is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter from Seattle, Washington. He previously collaborated with producer Ryan Lewis. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the Evergreen State College in 2009. That he battled drug addiction and alcoholism addressed in his music from time to time. On June 15, 2017, Macklemore released “Glorious”, featuring American singer Skylar Grey, as the lead single from Macklemore’s second solo studio album Gemini. Gemini was produced by long time collaborator Budo.
Macklemore has voiced his support for LGBT rights and same-sex marriage. He also condemns homophobia.
He also has stated ‘As a company, we are committed to a long-term investment of our time, resources, finances and creative capacities towards supporting black-led organising and anti-racist education and discourse.’
He also supports the 30/30 Project, improving access to comprehensive healthcare by building 30 medical facilities worldwide. He partners with such organisations as ‘Partners in Health’, the foundation for International Medical Relief of Children and other non-profit organisations that serve HIV and women and their families.
The album has had mixed reviews because on it Macklemore avoids political commentary and embraces the pop idiom.
He states ‘I believe that music can be a form of resistance without having to hit the nail on the head in terms of subject matter. It can be something that uplifts, that makes you dance, that makes you cry, that makes you think. But I didn’t feel like I needed to go super-in-depth with the politics. It was just not where my heart was at.’
Though Gemini embraces the pop idiom like no other Macklemore album before, it’s strongest songs flirt with funk and R&B. Other songs derive their sound from modern hip hop trend and feature artists native to that sound.
My feeling is that ‘Gemini” is vastly under-rated and misunderstood. In some ways it is a stroke of genius. The album is consistent and the music breaks new ground with lyrics and sound. Does Macklemore have to put a political tag on everything?
It’s fashionable these days for artists of all genres to stick a social justice tag on their work to make it sound legitimate and saleable. It doesn’t necessarily make it good work! Often it is mediocre.
The lyrics on Gemini go very deep at times and some listeners who have criticised him have no hope of understanding what he is really getting at, e.g. Excavate. There is a mature message in that for all of us! What is our legacy? What will we be when they ‘cut the lights’ and no one is watching? For many it will be sweet f.a.!
He, from time to time addresses pain, heartache and anguish. In other songs he experiments with sound and rhythm, e.g. Firebreather.
He experiments, he plays, he changes volume, almost distorts sound, e.g. ‘Willy Wonka’.
To me, there is no other artist like him in terms of creativity, innovation and experimentation.
Yes, he is an amazing set of contradictions and at times politically incorrect. But is he really? I think he is testing his audience. People vastly underestimate him.
We are all a mess of contradiction! I look forward to his next album.