Macklemore & Ryan Lewis at the Key Arena Mainstage [Bumbershoot Preview]
Macklemore ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth
Bumbershoot 2009 Macklemore played before an early Fisher Green Lawn, and as the sky peppered the crowd with drops, nobody left. Two years on of enthralling crowds with the help of cohort/producer Ryan Lewis, Ben Haggerty is bringing his raps of redemption and searching for the right way to live to the largest stage in the land. Haggerty’s words are often reflections on the mistakes and realities of his former life glorifying the party line and going the predictable rapper route, but they’re also just as often allusions to the pop culture of his youth, and youth in general. By paying that attention he’s actively trendsetting for that group. In embracing the Youtube Generation norm of fluidly remixing culture in their own image (something already innate to hip-hop), Haggerty is participating in the conversation, and in doing so with no reservation he’s emerged as something more than a rapper. He’s now entering pop stardom territory.
In the past year via heavy touring, dominating social media, his cultivating of fashion icon status, a rapid fire release cycle of online singles and video’s, and clever sampling, Macklemore has outpaced just about everyone else in the Northwest rap game, and the local popular music game for that matter, online and IRL. From the national attention for his videos “Wings” and his Dave Niehaus tribute track “My Oh My,” to selling out three shows at the Showbox early this year, it’d be hard to argue for another local act at this year’s festival is more worthy of this mainstage spot. I’ve little doubt Macklemore’s outsized personality will extend to reach the rafters, though I do wonder how much his notoriety has materialized on a larger cultural level. Three Showboxes is big, but is the #sharkfacegang really Key Arena big? Sunday night, we’ll find out.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis play the Bumbershoot Mainstage Sunday September 4th at 8:00pm.