VIDEO: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Interviewed by The Nature Conservancy

As a part of The Nature Conservancy’s All Hands on Earth Music campaign, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis share a few words on what it meant growing up in one of the most beautiful places in the United States. As a lifelong camping and canoeing enthusiast — and product of the impossibly resplendent San Juan Islands — I have to agree with everything they’ve said here.

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VIDEO: “Can’t Hold Us” – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (feat. Ray Dalton)

So this just dropped. Pretty epic from the minds of Ryan Lewis, Jason Koenig and Jon Augustavo (credited as co-directors, though Ryan cites the importance of other parties’ influence in the video write-up). Also Macklemore wrote some raps for it. I hear these guys are pretty popular these days.

[Update: 4.17.13, 2pm PST]

A few more stream of conscious thoughts I had while watching this video:

  • “Magical brown people” all over the place. John Coffey, Bagger Vance, et al.
  • Macklemore stunting wildly on a “pirate ship” / “Can’t Hold Us”‘s re-appropriation of soul music. Hmm… (Editor’s note: This thought credited to my friend; name withheld.)
  • The Space Needle as Mack’s metaphorical penis.
  • This some bullshit, fam.

And…

  • I know hella white dudes who “planted their flag” on the tops of really tall shit — whether that means proposing to their girlfriends, or just summit-ing a damn mountain because it’s really big. (And yeah, this is a masculine thing not unique to the color of one’s skin, but still…)
  • I don’t think there was menace behind any of the stuff in this video, but that doesn’t change the fact that this kind of imagery is pervasive. (And often damaging.)
  • Yeah, I’m grinding axes. Deal with it.
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THOUGHT BUBBLE: The Trouble with Macklemore

Macklemore SNL

The white rapper with the crazy red fringe game and un-Googleable hairstyle danced across Saturday Night Live’s venerable stage two weekends ago like it was his last performance on earth. At first glance, the “blandly handsome” Macklemore (as Grantland’s Steven Hyden put it) didn’t look much like a rap music harbinger of doom, but for a concerned segment of hip-hop’s literati that’s what he closely resembles.

If you were a viewer watching at home, or maybe even in the studio audience, your reaction was likely one of either intense bewilderment, extreme delight, or furrowed disdain. Macklemore’s number one hit single “Thrift Shop” has very humble origins and the story of its rise to fame contains the standard tropes now associated with meme-powered feats of acclivity. But while sectarianism as it concerns bubblegum acts like Carly Rae Jepsen and petri dish experiments like Lana Del Rey can be reduced essentially to matters of taste, Macklemore’s ascent is complicated by the genre he practices in and the resultant untidiness endured by racial semantics.

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