Most popular music genres of today across the world first gained popularity amongst the African American community and then were heralded into the mainstream music listening populace courtesy "white" performers. Elvis Pressley took Rock n Roll from the American South to the masses all over whilst Eminem became the poster child for popularizing rap and hip hop amongst non-black listeners. Ben Haggerty's rapping might not be akin to Eminem's game changing style but he sure has started making heads turn and take a listen, so much so that he has already hit number one on the US iTunes download chart with his second album. Better identified by his stage moniker Macklemore, this Seattle based rapper doesn't just rap to electronically synthesized tunes but is part of a five-member band that blends the classically eclectic sounds of a trumpet, violin and piano with the contemporary cutting ones of guitar, bass and drums. Secure some Macklemore tickets now to be treated to his revolutionary rapping.
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Whilst living out his childhood in his home town of Seattle, Washington, Ben Haggerty was an ordinary schoolboy attending the Garfield High School and then went on to acquire his Bachelors from The Evergreen State College. Interestingly, Ben was initially geared towards educating children through music and even went to the extent of getting himself involved in the community by working within the local juvenile-detention center. Here he initiated and program the he dubbed as "Gateways" that primarily incorporated rap as an instrument of change and reformation amongst the incarcerated youth. Taking forth his newly acquired identity of being one of an educator, he aptly dubbed himself Professor Macklemore and released his first EP Open Your Eyes at the turn of the millennium.
Self-distributed by Macklemore, the EP Open Your Eyes introduced the hip hop community to a reorientation of the rules of their binding genre. Soon afterwards, Macklemore dropped his Professor prefix and came out with his debut full-length studio offering The Language of My World in 2005. The album was released by Macklemore's own namesake record label primarily as a digital download to circumvent the cost of physical distribution on a CD format. Though the record was able to chalk up only around 15,000 in sales, it familiarized Macklemore's growing fan base to his lyrical language that drew its content from the artist's own personal experiences.
The experimental record was an exercise in musical catharsis and conveyed to Macklemore's listeners his inner self sans pretensions and layers of deception. Songs such as "White Privilege" summed up his conflicts relating to being a "'white" rapper in a black dominated genre. At least Eminem had the clout of Dr. Dre backing him all the way. The rest of the tracks further delved into his multi-faceted personality and brought to surface elements of self-doubt, egotistical bouts and human relationship anxiety. The sound of the album also resonated across the various milestones of his musical journey that seemingly touched upon influences from acts such as The Fugees and Michael Franti.
Macklemore's 2012 record The Heist upped the ante to a whole new level, blazing up the charts to top the US R&B and US Rap ones and peaking at the 2nd spot on Billboard 200. The album dominated the music scene across the rest of North America as well by entering the top-five slot on the Canadian albums chart. It spawned a trio of US R&B top-fort singles in "Can't Hold Us," "Same Love" and "Thrift Shop," the latter also entering Billboard's Hot 100 and peaking in the top-twenty in the US Rap songs chart. The videos of Macklemore's songs have collectively racked up tens of millions of views on YouTube, with the video of "Thrift Shop" having been seen almost 10 million times. Since the late 2000s, Macklemore has compulsively collaborated with producer Ryan Lewis, with the latter being credited on all the tracks of his latest record The Heist and being featured alongside the former in most of his videos. So claim some Macklemore tickets now to be given a crash course in rapping 101 courtesy a musical educator extraordinaire.
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