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Same Love: Macklemore Provides the Soundtrack for the Gay Rights Movement

In Culture, Music

Started From the Bottom

Thanks to grassroots fan support and a marketing plan engineered for success in the Internet age, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have been able to achieve groundbreaking commercial success on their own terms without signing to a record label.

In a shifting music landscape that continually adds new independent success stories, this duo may be the best example so far that label support may now be an antiquated route for artists.

A few stats to put their indie success in perspective: on the first week of release, The Heist reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with no radio play. “Thrift Shop” has gone No. 1 in 16 countries, including the United States, and recently reached a record 12 straight weeks atop the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

Most impressive may be the fact that “Thrift Shop” is only the second indie song to ever hit no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Lisa Loeb’s “Stay (I Missed You)” is the only other track to do so, topping the charts back in 1994.

The freedom of being indie artists also has given these two the ability to release a song like “Same Love” unfiltered and without label influence. As such, Macklemore’s honest, personal perspective has had the chance to become more than just a song. It’s morphed into a steadfast anthem in support of equal rights, Macklemore accompanied by a video that serves to humanize an issue sometimes buried in semantics.

Whether or not Prop 8. lives on, “Same Love” serves as a watershed moment for hip-hop. It’s a track unafraid of the consequences of speaking out in support of homosexuality when homophobia continues to be a common through-line in hip-hop lyricism.

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