Today in Hip Hop History: October 9
The recently established hip hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis self released their debut album, The Heist, through Macklemore LLC in 2012. The album was independently produced, recorded and self-released by them with outside distribution help and some promotion from Warner Music Group’s radio department. It was completely produced by Ryan Lewis and featured vocals from Ray Dalton, Wanz, SchoolBoy Q, Ab-Soul, Mary Lambert and others.
After release of their debut EP, The Vs. EP, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis announced The Heist tour alongside the upcoming album. The album contained 5 singles, including “Same Love,” which was in support of Washington’s Referendum 74 surrounding gay marriage legalization. Another single, “Can’t Hold Us,” caught the attention of The Source for their “Unsigned Hype” column in 2012. All 5 of the singles from The Heist charted on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
Upon its release, The Heist received very favorable reviews from critics, in addition to extraordinary commercial success for an independent release. Critics cited its layered production and conscientious lyrics as a breath of fresh air in hip hop. Previous to the duo’s conception, Macklemore had always had a solid foundation in hip hop but his production remained average at best. With the help of producer Ryan Lewis, Mack raised the bar in his music, creating a “beautiful album that challenges musical boundaries,” according to XXL.
The album peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200, #1 on the US Top Rap Albums Chart, #1 on the Independent Albums Chart and #1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart. It became RIAA Certified Platinum in 2013 with over 1 million copies sold. It has also gained some notoriety for indubitably snubbing Kendrick Lamar‘s Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City from a Grammy Award in 2014.