The Heist by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis


Macklemore - The Heist

The Heist by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, ASIN: B009G78EE2

Overview: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have created a genre bending rap album with reflective intelligent songs, and catchy songs you’ll hear on the radio or in the club. The album features many different guest artists, like Mary Lambert and Ab-Soul.

Track List:

1 Ten Thousand Hours
2 Can’t Hold Us
3 Thrift Shop
4 Thin Line
5 Same Love
6 Make the Money
7 Neon Cathedral
8 Bombom
9 White Walls
10 Jimmy Iovine
11 Wing$
12 Wake
13 Gold
14 Starting Over
15 Cowboy Boots

Critical Evaluation: These songs are generally catchy, danceable, and frequently have a deeper message. Songs like “Same Love” advocate for same sex marriage, while others address Macklemore’s addiction issues, the recording industry, or race. “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us” are the songs I’d heard beforehand, both good for dancing. “Thrift Shop” is funny but also smart, demonstrating Macklemore’s ability to make fun of himself. Songs like “Thin Line” are more melodic and slow, but no less catchy. Ryan Lewis contributes dynamic beats and inventive ideas for the trajectory of the songs. Each song sounds differently from the next one, and from a lot of other popular rap songs. Most of the songs have explicit language and some sexual situations.

Reader’s Annotation: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis create dynamic beats, catchy and intelligent lyrics, and danceable songs for a discerning pop and rap listener.

Information about the author: Macklemore was born Ben Haggerty and is based in Seattle. He debuted as Professor Macklemore in 2000. His 2012 album climbed the Billboard charts with little mainstream support.

Much of his more commercial success is credited to his frequent collaborator, Ryan Lewis, the producer on this album. He is also a Washington native. His creative interests have ranged from guitar to audio production to photography from his teens to his twenties. His interest in production was rekindled during a photo shoot with Macklemore, and the rest is evident

Genre: Rap Pop CD

Curriculum ties, if any: This could be looked at in a music class for its inventive and genre bending qualities.

Booktalking Ideas: I would play either “Can’t Stop Us” or “Thrift Shop” and “A Wake” to demonstrate the spectrum of this album.

Reading Level/Interest Age:  The lyrics of this album make this more appropriate for older teens.

Challenge Issues:

  • Language
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Sexual situations

Defense Strategy:

  1. First, I would want to be familiar with the album. As I’ve listened to this album, I’d be aware of potential issues that could be challenged. In the case of an album I had not listened to, I would want to have access to reviews.
  2. Then I would put together a rationale for why this album is included in the collection. This rationale would include:
    • Bibliographic Citation of the album.
    • A description of who the album is best suited for.
    • A summary of the album and applicable other information, such as biographical information about the author.
    • My justification for including the album. This would include how it fits in with the selection policy and library mission statement, and include its educational significance if applicable or the impact it could have on readers.
    • Copy of selection policy and library mission statement at my library.
    • ALA Library Bill of Rights
    • Good and bad reviews of the album
    • Alternative works a student could listen to
    • Reconsideration form if patron is not satisfied with rationale
  3. When talking to patron, I would listen to their concerns without getting on the defensive and attempt to sympathize with their concerns. In some cases, all an upset patron needs is to be able to vent and know that someone is listening to them.
  4. If needed, I would send the challenge up the chain of command.

This album meets the recreational needs of teens. It also has a lot of smart lyrics and ideas that would be good for reflection. I think Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ grassroots success would also be inspiring for teen musicians, so it’s important for teens to have access to.

Why did you include this book? : It is very popular so it represents something teen librarians should be aware of.

Reference Page:

Jeffries, D. (2013). Macklemore’s artist biography. All Music. Retrieved from

Jeffries, D. (2013). Ryan Lewis’ artist biography. All Music. Retrieved from


One response »

  1. Pingback: Alphabetical List of Titles | let's talk about that book...

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