You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis look like leading Grammy contenders

By Glenn Gamboa

Newsday (MCT)

NEW YORK — Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have managed a pretty nifty trick: They are underdogs who are leading the pack.

The Seattle hip-hop duo went from unknowns to arena-filling stars in the course of a year or so, and their No. 1 smashes “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us” made them the first duo in history to have their first two singles top the charts.

In what may be their biggest accomplishment yet, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis go into Grammy night with the best shot to take home the biggest awards. They have seven nominations overall and are the only artists with nominations in three of the top four categories — including album of the year for “The Heist,” song of the year for “Same Love” and best new artist.

“Seven is unbelievable,” Lewis told CNN after the nominations were announced. “We came here hoping for one.”

For the year, Jay Z actually tops the nominations with nine. However, he was nominated twice in two categories, making him eligible to win only seven awards, just like Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Kendrick Lamar, Justin Timberlake and Pharrell Williams.

What makes their nominations success even more surprising is that they released “The Heist,” which went platinum last year, on their own Macklemore label. Everything about the project had an indie, do-it-yourself vibe that challenged business as usual in the music industry. And now, it seems, the music industry is ready to reward them for it over previous Grammy darlings, including Timberlake, who got shut out of the top categories even though his album “The 20/20 Experience” was his first in seven years and the biggest-selling album of 2013.

Instead of using the usual go-to hip-hop collaborators to appear on their songs — like Chris Brown, Lil Wayne or Pharrell — the duo went with lesser-known artists from the Seattle area. “Thrift Shop” features an appearance from 52-year-old soul singer Wanz. “Can’t Hold Us” has 22-year-old newcomer Ray Dalton singing the chorus. And “Same Love” includes 24-year-old singer-songwriter Mary Lambert on the hook.

The unconventional team also created some unconventional themes for hip-hop. “Thrift Shop” challenges the widely held hip-hop ideal of using expensive clothes and designer labels to convey status. “I am stuntin’ and flossin’ and savin’ my money and I’m hella happy that’s a bargain,” Macklemore declares, before questioning why anyone would pay $50 for a T-shirt.

For “Same Love,” Macklemore simply declares his support for same-sex marriage by telling his own personal stories and bringing Lambert in to sing about hers. By using hip-hop to drive his point home, Macklemore questions the genre’s ongoing use of homophobic slurs without battling over it. He just offers another rarely seen outlook. “A certificate on paper isn’t gonna solve it all, but it’s a damn good place to start,” Macklemore raps. “No law is gonna change us. We have to change us.”

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ outsider attitude even extends to their acceptance speeches for awards. At the American Music Awards, after the duo won for favorite rap/hip-hop album, Macklemore skipped the usual thank yous and referenced Trayvon Martin, the unarmed Florida teen shot and killed in 2012. “I want to acknowledge Trayvon Martin and the hundreds and hundreds of kids each year that are dying due to racial profiling and the violence that follows it,” he said. “It’s time that we look out for the youth and fight against racism and the laws that protect it.”

The duo’s conscience-raising actions and their unorthodox approach, as well as their unquestionable commercial success, should gain them plenty of votes from the Recording Academy, which likes to recognize all of those qualities.

Of course, there could be some spoilers. New Zealand teen Lorde has several of the same qualities going for her with her smash “Royals,” which is up for record of the year and song of the year, as is Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven.”

And the hip-hop establishment hasn’t been completely supportive of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, which will actually make it tougher for them to win in the rap categories — voted on only by those working in the rap field — than in the general categories, which are voted on by all members of the Recording Academy.

“Up until a year, a year and a half ago, we were an underground rap group that only a small percentage of the population knew about,” Macklemore told MTV News after the nominations were announced. “I never thought that our music would affect this many people and be heard by this many people. It’s the highest honor. It’s the peak of what you strive for in terms of being recognized for the music that you make.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Springfield Entertainment

Watch: Dog appears to dance to music at groomer
Watch: Dog appears to dance to music at groomer

An Orlando pet salon uploaded a video to its Facebook page of an adorable dog that appears to dance to salsa music. In the brief clip, uploaded Jan. 12, the dog can be seen rising to its hind legs and dancing around to "Conga" by the Miami Sound Machine. It's famously led by singer Gloria Estefan.  When you had such a fun time at...
Alec Baldwin to host SNL for record 17th time, smashing previous record
Alec Baldwin to host SNL for record 17th time, smashing previous record

Actor Alec Baldwin is scheduled to host “Saturday Night Live” next month for the 17th time, in an appearance that will break comedian Steve Martin’s record for most times hosting the late-night comedy show. Baldwin's impression of President Donald Trump has garnered rave reviews and plenty of late-night laughs, as he played Trump...
Lifetime's Britney Spears biopic trailer released
Lifetime's Britney Spears biopic trailer released

The first trailer for "Britney Ever After," Lifetime's TV movie biopic on pop icon Britney Spears was posted Monday morning on the network's social media pages. Mashable reported that the trailer is somewhat somber, focusing on on Spears' publicized struggles with fame. Using shots of British actress Natasha Bassett portraying Spears as a...
Alec Baldwin to host 'Saturday Night Live'
Alec Baldwin to host 'Saturday Night Live'

Alec Baldwin is scheduled to host to "Saturday Night Live" on Feb. 11 amid his ongoing battle with President Donald Trump. Ed Sheeran will appear as the night's musical guest. Baldwin, who has played the president multiple times in the run-up to and since the election, will host the show for the 17th time. He holds the record for the most...
Cyndi Lauper, Rod Stewart to play in Cincinnati
Cyndi Lauper, Rod Stewart to play in Cincinnati

Two powerhouse artists have joined forces to bring yet another big-ticket concert coming to the region this year: Sir Rod Stewart and Cyndi Lauper.  The two will play Friday, Aug. 4, 2017 at Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati. Tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 27. Tickets range from $26.50-$146 each, plus additional fees....
More Stories