By Corey Deiterman
By William Michael Smith
By Jef With One F
By Craig Hlavaty
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Sonya Harvey
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Nathan Smith
"That managing group in control of the club decided to throw a theme party, not knowing the power would be turned off because of non-payment. The theme was Gone with the Wind. On the Friday night of the party, the managing group went into the club and there was no power. Numbers One was truly gone with the wind.
"The group that stepped away came back and started to redo the club in August of that year and reopened the club as the 'infamous' Babylon on December 8, 1980. That was the same day we lost John Lennon."
What a story, dad!
I know, son. No matter what, 300 Westheimer will always be Numbers, where all kinds of people mix: debutantes to factory workers, truck drivers to drag queens. Son, if the world were like Numbers, there would be no war."
Dad, when I'm old enough, can I hang at Numbers?
"I promise, son, I will take you there for your first concert just like my dad, your grandfather, took me. I promise."
Macklemore of "Thrift Shop" is a savvy businessman, just not an especially good rapper.
When I first heard about Macklemore, it was through the word of mouth surrounding the craze over his video "Thrift Shop," his No. 1 song with producer/collaborator Ryan Lewis. Memes make stars these days, and the song about wearing clothes from Goodwill (plus its kitschy, comedic video) really struck a chord with my young, hipster peers.
I was finally forced to listen to the damn song, just to understand what everybody was freaking out about, and in doing so, I stumbled upon a terrible secret Macklemore and his partner in crime Lewis have been hiding from all my friends and erstwhile hipsters around the world: He's not really that good.
I know, this revelation will come as a surprise to a lot of people who are really into what this guy does, but I'm going to have to put paid to that idea. It's okay if you like his music. Music is subjective, and I'm not here to say that your taste is, or even can be, wrong. But even if you like what he does, you can't possibly think this guy is actually a good rapper.
He's not even a rapper. He's a gimmick. He's in tune enough with pop culture and hipsters to understand what to rap about in order to catch people's interest; that much is true. But Macklemore isn't talented; he's smart. He's not an artist; he's a businessman.
He's latched onto a brilliant marketing scheme that literally anyone could think of if he or she tried hard enough: use clichéd indie hip-hop to talk about the things people want to hear about and can relate to in some generalized way. It's so obvious, yet so few people want to do it.
So why don't more people do what Macklemore is doing? For the sake of their art. Some people want to be artists and create something that matters to them, something that is inspired and has some kind of integrity.
Macklemore is not interested in that. He's interested in latching onto fads to make money. If this were the 1980s, "Thrift Shop" would have just had a whole lot of references to parachute pants and spiked leather jackets.
But "Thrift Shop" isn't all Macklemore is about. Let's be fair to the guy: He's also about serious business. After calling his integrity into question on Facebook, I was introduced to some of his very, very melodramatic work talking about the very, very serious subject of drug addiction.
The problem here is that this song, "Otherside," is also extremely calculated. From his heartstring-tugging minor chords on piano and choral backing vocals, to the part in the chorus where the music fades and it's just his broken voice, Macklemore takes all the tropes of indie hip-hop and mixes them in with modern indie-rock clichés to make the sappiest "my life is so hard" song in ages.
But forgive me for not buying it. The dichotomy makes it too unbelievable. Jumping fences between this and a song like "Thrift Shop" just shows the bare-bones mathematics behind these songs: It's designed to grab your attention and draw you in with something familiar and simple, with easy emotions that we've all felt before.
Since this blog was posted February 27, it has drawn more than 15 comments, including the following:
joshechols: "Finally forced yourself to listen to the No. 1 song on the radio? Then whine about it being 'hipster'? Wow, now that's hipster!"
April Dupree: "Is this what people said about Eminem? Not comparing the two, but almost every lead single from an Eminem album until now has been a 'comedic song' and people look up to him like a hip-hop god."
Ask Willie D
Can our columnist talk some sense into a reader with too many women in his life?
Dear Willie D:
My wife becomes really negative when I talk on the phone with other girls, especially when I talk with my ex-girlfriend. My ex-girlfriend and I still love each other, not in the romantic sense but as true good friends.
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