Macklemore, a.k.a. Ben Haggerty, has been releasing music since 2000. He started off as a local musician in his native Seattle, but he’s since become a cult star in North America and Europe. He struggled with addiction through much of the mid-00s, and began his collaboration with Lewis after he got clean in 2008. They’ve been on the rise ever since.
2. They Love Second-Hand Clothes
The duo’s single “Thrift Shop” has been gradually building in popularity since it came out in late August, and it was the most-shared song in America on Spotify last week. The song has a simple message: Bargain hunting in thrift stores is “FUCKING AWESOME.” It’s the perfect song for a cultural moment in which people are obsessed with swag, yet a staggering number of people are either unemployed or just scraping by.
3. They’re In Favor Of Gay Marriage
Macklemore and Lewis teamed up with singer Mary Lambert to record “Same Love,” a single in support of a referendum in favor of same-sex marriage in Washington state that was released by Sub Pop Records in August. “If I was gay, I would think hip-hop hates me / Have you read the YouTube comments lately?,” Macklemore raps over a melancholy beat.
4. They Are Truly Independent
The Heist, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ first album as a duo, is being released on the rapper’s own label, which handles all of his merchandise. The record is being released as a deluxe set in a gator-skin box, because, as Macklemore says in this pitch video, “we wanted to do something that stood out, something that weight and a body, that was different from a jewel case or a cardboard sleeve, something that had a personality.”
5. They Bring It In Concert
The duo have become known for ultra-theatrical performances in which Macklemore switches up costumes a few times through the set and leads the audience through high-energy shout-alongs. This footage from a gig in Portland, Oregon last year is remarkable – pretty much everyone in the house is flipping out as they perform “And We Danced.”
6. They Are Into Pizza Parties
Macklemore and Lewis have been throwing an annual pizza party for their fans, who can only score tickets to the party by proving their fandom in a creativity contest.