M&RL - TUMIM

This Unruly Mess I’ve Made should definitely win the (mythical) Grammy for Most Aptly-Titled Rap Album.

Next year for that, though.

For now, tiptoe with the greatest of care through the online landscape lest your kicks become soiled with the mess of “White Privilege II” think pieces and — soon to come — album reviews of TUMIM.

Full disclosure: I haven’t listened to the thing in its entirety yet so I’ve no authority on making any sort of grand statement about the record. Suffice to say I was underwhelmed by the aforementioned “WPII” — it’s never interesting to watch or listen to white people struggle through their privilege, least of all when the catalyst for the testimony appears to be outside criticism and internalized guilt. It is possible for a pop artist to make a thoughtful, effective song about something as abominable as white supremacy that falls under four minutes and qualifies aesthetically for radio play. When it comes to provocation, I’ll take sneaky subversion over cheap scholarship six days a week and twice on Sundays. Our most interesting pop stars of the day pull it off with ease. Macklemore is not one of them.

He is, however, a capable rapper who, when relying on his natural humor and charm, can make truly fun songs. “Thrift Shop” previously, and “Buckshot” — featuring eyebrow raising guest appearances by DJ Premier and KRS One — here. Mack and RL are best when they stick to that formula.

One of my resolutions for the still relatively new year, is to try to reserve judgement against Ben Haggerty the human being; polarized energy is the last thing we need in our already overheated political environment. Instead, judgement should fall with impunity against a world that causes us to need to have these conversations. To be forced into a reckoning by a societal landscape in which the existence of a middling song like “White Privilege II” actually makes for a better place, is a much greater atrocity than seeing mediocre pop music dominate your Twitter feed.

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