Submit a link Features Reviews Podcasts Video Forums More ▾

First unsigned artist at #1 since 1994—what does it all mean?

Andy Baio looks at the implications of Macklemore's Thrift Shop, the first single from an unsigned artist to reach #1 since Lisa Loeb's 1994 hit, Stay (I Missed You).

We're at the beginning of an indiepocalypse — a global shift in how culture is made, from a traditional publisher model to independently produced and distributed works. Artists that were royally screwed over in the past now have an alternative.

Thrift Shop by Macklemore

Fantastic song by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. He wears your granddad's clothes and looks incredible!

Related on Boing Boing: "Same Love" - A Song for Marriage Equality

"Same Love" - A Song for Marriage Equality

 Music for Marriage Equality

Music for Marriage Equality is working with Washington musicians to approve R-74, a referendum that will put same-sex marriage to the popular vote on Washington's state ballot in November.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis recorded this lovely song, which includes vocals by Mary Lambert, to benefit Music for Marriage Equality. The cover art (above) for the single is a photograph of Macklemore’s uncles, who served as inspiration for the song and were a model of a committed and loving relationship while he was growing up.

Here's Macklemore on the process of writing the song:

 This song, which I wrote in April, is a response to what I have observed and experienced, and is also an act of personal accountability. It was not easy to write, and I struggled with how I, as a straight male, could genuinely speak upon this issue.

Initially, I tried writing from the perspective of a gay, bullied kid, but after getting some feedback, I felt it wasn’t my story to tell. What I do know, and where I wrote from, is my own perspective growing up in a culture where “that’s gay” was commonplace, with a huge stigma on those who identified and were perceived as gay.

Growing up in the Catholic Church, I saw first-hand how easily religion became a platform for hate and prejudice. Those who “believed” were excused from their own judgments, bypassing the stark issue of basic civil rights.

But, more influential to me as a kid than the church was hip hop, my cultural foundation that influenced my worldview.

Unfortunately, intolerance of the gay community in hip hop is widespread. The best rappers will use homophobic language on albums that critics rave about, making hip hop and homophobia inextricably linked. We have sidestepped the issue entirely, become numb to the language that we use, and are increasingly blinded to our own prejudice.

The consequence and impact of what we say, and the culture of shame and abuse it creates, has very real, sometimes deadly impacts upon LGBTQ young people looking for acceptance and belonging.

You can hear the song now for free (below), buy it on iTunes next week or pick up a limited 7" vinyl single to support marriage rights for everyone.

You can also stay in touch with Music for Music Equality on Twitter and Facebook