Rapper Ben Haggerty (aka Macklemore on left) and producer Ryan Lewis (right) are part of a hip-hop duo from Seattle, Washington that formed in 2008. Together they have released two studio albums: The Heist, in 2012, and This Unruly Mess I’ve Made in 2016.
Their first album, The Heist, debuted at No. 2 and was a massive success. Number one singles “Can’t Hold Us” and “Thrift Shop” featured Macklemore’s soulful voice paired with complex instrumentals produced by partner Ryan Lewis. Their elaborate combination was an upbeat fast rap that the music industry didn’t know it needed but definitely enjoyed as the duo went viral. Their second album, This Unruly Mess I’ve Made, was met with open arms by the music community, debuted No. 4, and featured the award-winning single “Downtown.” The song featured two hip-hop legends, Grandmaster Melle Mell and Grandmaster Caz.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were never ones to stray from controversial topics. The Heist includes gay rights song “Same Love” and This Unruly Mess I’ve Made incorporates the idea of white privilege and the Black Lives Matter movement into the song “White Privilege II”.
After years of working together and numerous successes, the music community was unsure of why the two split. Together they embarked on three tours: The Heist Tour (2012-13), The Fall Tour (2013-14), and This Unruly Mess I’ve Made Tour (2016). Not only did they tour worldwide and produce two incredible chart-topping albums, but they won three Grammies during their partnership. They won “Best New Artist” for The Heist, “Best Rap Performance” for “Thrift Shop”, and “Best Rap Album” for The Heist.
Rumors of their split began in February when they did not submit This Unruly Mess I’ve Made for consideration in the 2017 Grammys. This decision was in part due to the backlash they received after beating Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D City in the “Best Rap Album” category at the 2014 Grammys. The split was confirmed via Macklemore’s official Instagram on June 15th.
It’s unclear what Ryan Lewis will be doing following the split regarding music but we do know that he will be marrying Jackie Ganger and has invited Ben to be the best man at his wedding.
Macklemore recently debuted his first solo work in a song titled “Glorious” featuring Skylar Grey. The song is an appropriate fit for Macklemore as he embarks on a new chapter of his music career. It features refreshing hopeful lyrics about what is to come because after all, this is his first time being a solo artist since 2005.
I feel glorious, glorious
Got a chance to start again
I was born for this, born for this
It’s who I am, how could I forget?
I made it through the darkest part of the night
And now I see the sunrise
Now I feel glorious, glorious
I feel glorious, glorious
For fans of the duo’s work, there is no need to worry. Macklemore alluded to what would happen following their hiatus in that Instagram post: “After the last tour, Ryan and I agreed that some creative space would be good for the both of us. Ryan Lewis is my brother forever. We have been working together damn near every day for 9 years and it felt like the right time. This decision came from a place of love for one another. I’m the best man at his wedding next month. There will be more M&RL music to come when the time is right.”
Until then, check out Macklemore’s independent work “Glorious” below.