BOHN: Macklemore for fling

Macklemore was made for Yale.

I was introduced in high school to the man that Ben Haggerty becomes on stage when I saw him open for a more popular Northwest rap group. Haggerty simply called himself Macklemore. He stole the show, then did it again at Webster Hall in New York City when he had a concert of his own.

For those who have not yet experienced the magic, the experience presented by Macklemore and his co-star/producer extraordinaire Ryan Lewis goes like this:

The show starts with Lewis on stage playing a rhythm from his endless repertoire. Macklemore then sneaks his way on to the stage, either through the crowd or inauspiciously from the wings. The music starts. The infectious energy of the dancing is equaled by Lewis’ pumping beats and Macklemore’s mix of lyrics — some from the heart, some more playful.

I was drawn in by the party and stayed for the message. He managed to avoid the Eminem ethos of anger at the world, instead offering solutions.

This brings me to the reason I want Macklemore for Spring Fling. After back-to-back years of decidedly “eh” performers — acts that had their personal auras overshadowed by the excitement of the day — it’s time to bring in a pair who will make us regret forgetting them.

Consider their story: The Seattle-based duo toiled in relative obscurity until “The VS. EP” came out. With the success of their hit, “Otherside,” a sobering reflection on addiction, the two began to get some national press.

Now they’ve officially hit it big. Their album, “The Heist,” was released Tuesday at midnight and sits at No. 1 on iTunes in the U.S. as of Wednesday night, not to mention a few European charts.

“The Heist” features two songs that many Yalies are probably already familiar with: the infectious “Thrift Shop,” which has been inescapable in suites around campus since the video came out, and the far more serious “Same Love.”

“Same Love” is a powerful ode to marriage equality, featuring the lyric “no freedom until we’re equal / and damn right I support it.” Considering the notorious homophobia of the hip-hop and rap communities, Macklemore’s declaration is bold. With Frank Ocean’s summer announcement that his first love was a man, Macklemore joins the first wave of support for the LGBTQ community from this genre.

Chronicling the stories of several men dealing with the realities of being gay in modern society, the music video for the song has garnered more than 3,000,000 views on YouTube in less than two weeks.

Macklemore forges on without corporate influence — he doesn’t belong to a record label. He remains one of few musicians who actually hasn’t sold out. I challenge you to find somebody more worthy of Yale’s money.

He educates without crusading (see: Lupe Fiasco), addressing the terrible toll he has seen drugs take on his friends and community. He supports equality, and he even talks about the absurdity of a world in which a kid can be killed over a pair of Air Jordan shoes.

The duo have a show at Toad’s Place, but it’s the Sunday after “The Game.” I’m coming back to New Haven to see it, but I doubt there are many like me, and the rest of you deserve an opportunity to let this man make you dance.

Macklemore will give us a concert worth remembering and will offer more than just debauchery (see: T-Pain and the Ying-Yang Twins). Let’s get him.

Calvin Bohn is a junior in Timothy Dwight College. Contact him at calvin.bohn@yale.edu.

Comments