Arachnophonia: Macklemore “The Heist”

Editor’s note: Arachnophonia is a regular feature on our blog where members of the UR community can share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library‘s collection. All links included in these posts will take you to either the library catalog record for the item in question or to additional relevant information from around the web.

Today’s installment of Arachnophonia is by Music Library student library worker Claire (class of 2020), and features hip hop artist Macklemore’s debut album The Heist. Thanks, Claire!

Macklemore
The Heist (2012)

Macklemore - The Heist

Few other hip-hop albums besides The Heist touch on such a variety of political and social issues. While most people will remember songs such as the catchy and silly “Thrift Shop,” I argue that most other songs on the album have had a much greater impact on Macklemore’s listeners and the country as a whole.

Macklemore - Thrift Shop

I can remember sitting at my dining room table in middle school, listening to this album while doing homework. At the time, I don’t think I was aware of many of the controversial and powerful statements Macklemore was making.

Macklemore - "Same Love"

In “Same Love,” Macklemore sends a clear message that he believes in equal rights for all, and specifically, gay rights. In the song, Macklemore raps: “Whatever god you believe in, we come from the same one/ Strip away the fear, underneath it’s all the same love/ about time that we raised up.” In this line, Macklemore not only expresses personal support for gay marriage, but also calls upon his fans to join him in supporting gay rights.

Macklemore - "Wings"

In “Wings,” Macklemore addresses his concerns regarding capitalism and the sacrifices which Americans will make for name brands. When explaining his obsession with Nike and Adidas shoes throughout his youth, he explains how one of his friend’s brothers was shot while he was being robbed of his name brand apparel. Macklemore raps: “Yo, I stick out my tongue so everyone could see that logo/Nike Air Flight, book bag was so dope/ And then my friend Carlos’ brother got murdered for his fours/ Whoa.” Macklemore explains a culture of obsessing over trends and conforming to social pressures in order to fit in, even from an early age. In the song, he grapples between wanting to conform to this culture in order to be “cool,” but also criticizes how he allowed these name brands to define his identity for so long.

Macklemore

Finally, Macklemore addresses the issue of addiction most clearly in his song “Starting Over.” Macklemore recounts his experiences with alcoholism in particular, and his fluctuations between sobriety and use. However, the message of this song is not one of shame or blame, but instead paints a picture of hope; hope that recovery is possible and that sobriety is attainable. Since the release of The Heist, Macklemore has launched multiple national campaigns (even producing a documentary on addiction which features President Obama) which attempt to destigmatize addiction and stop the cycle of addiction in American society.

Macklemore - Heist tour 2012

Macklemore performing in Toronto during The Heist Tour on 28 November, 2012. By Drew of The Come Up Show (Flickr) – http://www.flickr.com/photos/thecomeupshow/8228257996, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24401827

You would be hard-pressed to find a hip-hop artist that addressed such a wide variety of relatable issues in one album. While listening to it from start to finish, The Heist encourages us reflect about tough and controversial issues while also giving listeners an opportunity to smile and enjoy themselves in some of his fast-paced, feel-good songs.

Arachnophonia: Black Noise

Editor’s note: Arachnophonia is a regular feature on our blog where members of the UR community can share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library‘s collection. All links included in these posts will take you to either the library catalog record for the item in question or to additional relevant information from around the web.

Today’s installment of Arachnophonia is by Joanna Love, PhD, Assistant Professor of Music in the UR Music Department. Thanks, Joanna!

Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America by Tricia Rose

Black Noise

Tricia Rose’s Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America is a foundational piece of scholarship on hip hop culture. Written in the mid-1990s, it explores the complex economic, social, and cultural origins of hip hop. It also discusses the social and cultural implications of its many facets and prominent features, including rapping, DJing, B Boying/breaking, signifying, scratching, and sampling. Anyone interested in learning more about this genre should definitely read this book.

New CDs added in April / May!

New CDs for April / May 2017

Classical

Catalyst Quartet – Bach/Gould Project / J.S. Bach
Antal Dorati – Antal Dorati Conducts Satie, Milhaud, Auric, Francaix, and Fetler
Alberto Ginastera / Heitor Villa-Lobos / Jose Evangelista – Concerto for Strings / Suite for Strings / Airs d’Espagnes for String Orchestra

Catalyst Quartet - Bach/Gould Project

Franz Xaver Mozart / Muzio Clementi – The Classical Piano Concerto
Carl Nielsen – Aladdin Suite / Pan and Syrinx / Saga Dream / Maskarade Overture / Helios Overture
Rachel Barton Pine – Capricho Latino

Rachel Barton Pine - Capricho Latino

Rachel Barton Pine – Testament: Complete Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin / J.S. Bach
Louis Spohr – Violin Concertos Nos. 6, 8, and 11
Alberto Williams – Musica para piano Volume 1

Louis Spohr - Violin Concertos 6, 8 & 11

Jazz

Pat Metheny – The Unity Sessions

Pat Metheny - The Unity Sessions

Pop / Rock / R&B

Drake – Views
The Killers – Hot Fuss

Drake - Views

Miramar – Dedication to Sylvia Rexach

Miramar - Dedication to Sylvia Rexach

Adriano Viterbini – Film [O] Sound
Various Artists – Boombox 1: Early Independent Hip Hop, Electro and Disco Rap, 1979-1982

Boombox 1

Vocal/ Choral Music

Ian Bostridge – Shakespeare Songs
Thomas Lloyd – Bonhoeffer: A Choral-Theater Piece

Thomas Lloyd - Bonhoeffer:  A Choral-Theater Piece

New CDs added in February!

New CDs for February 2017

Classical

Francis Poulenc – Gloria for soprano solo, chorus and orchestra

Poulenc -- Gloria

Charles Rosen – The Complete Columbia and Epic Album Collection

Charles Rosen Collection

Pop/Rock/R&B

The Avett Brothers – I and Love and You
The Avett Brothers – True Sadness

Avett Brothers - True Sadness

De La Soul – And The Anonymous Nobody
Prince – HITnRUN Phase One

De La Soul - Anonymous Nobody

Prince – HITnRUN Phase Two
Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool

Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool

Jill Scott – Woman
A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here Thank You 4 Your Service
Twenty One Pilots – Blurryface

Twenty One Pilots - Blurryface

Musical Theatre

Jay Kuo – Allegiance: Original Broadway Cast Recording

Allegiance - Cast Recording