A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Gemini

Gemini is Macklemore’s self-released celebration of our town: Because of their features on this record, local talents Dave B and Travis Thompson were on The Tonight Show singing “Corner Store,” and representing our hip-hop community on national television.

But let’s start here: I’m headbanging in my car. It’s 1:00 am and “Firebreather” roars. It’s no surprise there’s a car on the cover. This is car music. You turn up the dial and you keep wanting to turn it up.

Macklemore’s devout honesty is found throughout Gemini, leaving you with the feeling that you need to reduce the hypocrisies in your fraudulent life. Despite our desire to make work and be artists, “waking up to a screen and watching TV, it’s easy.” On “Intentions” he begins, “I want to be sober, but I love getting high.” Rather than pursue our own dreams, we choose to “live on social media and read other people’s thoughts.”

Recorded at home, in the basement, the music is intimate. Every song is so thoroughly considered and contains the sort of details it takes dozens of listens to notice, both in the music and the storytelling. In lieu of usual producer Ryan Lewis, there are talented local and mainstream collaborators galore here: Budo, Tyler Dopps, Xperience, Saint Claire, Dan Caplen, Abir, Donna Missal, Reignwolf, Otieno Terry, Ke$ha, Offset, Lil Yachty, Eric Nally, and Skylar Grey, whose hook on the second track is truly “Glorious.”

For everyone out there hoping to one day to have the worldwide stadium-level fame that Macklemore has achieved, may this record be your textbook for success.

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

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This Unruly Mess I've Made

This Unruly Mess I’ve Made, from Macklemore and Ryan Lewis is defiantly uncool; celebrating hair metal, failed resolutions, books on tape and herbal tea. Few records from 2016 are more eccentric and audacious. At a time when seeming cool holds such a premium, Unruly Mess walks in the opposite direction and consequently sounds like nothing else. It’s also the only local hip-hop record this year that made me cry. Regardless of mega-star status, this record is still grounded in Seattle’s DIY ethic: self-released and supported on tour by local talents Dave B, Raz Simone, Budo and others. I always laugh at the line, “Give me the Macklemore haircut!” because Ben and I have been the same Capitol Hill barber. How Seattle is that? If you haven’t spun this one recently, go back and listen to it again.

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