It was was Christmas in Texas last night at iHeartRadio’s massive annual Jingle Ball Tour returned to the Dallas-Fort Worth area for an unforgettable night of live music at the Dickies Arena. As the crowd got to unwrap gifts from major music artists, new and old across all different genres, including Jack Harlow, the Black Eyed Peas, Lauv, Khalid and many more, the Jingle Ball is as amazing and festive as ever.
Jack Harlow Keeps Us Laughing
“First Class” rapper Jack Harlow had his hits and personality on full display Monday night. Between Harlow’s performances from his first two albums, as well as his massive Lil Nas X collab “Industry Baby”, the Louisville native kept us laughing with his between song banter. “Two white rappers in a row, that’s a bold move,” Harlow joked after following Macklemore. Harlow is impossible to not root for.
Pitbull Closes Out with the Hits
Monday night’s stacked lineup ended with the most seasoned veteran on the whole bill, Mr. Worldwide himself, Pitbull. Delivering a 7-track set to put the cherry on top of a memorable night, Pitbull only brought the hits to the Allstate Arena. Starting with “Don’t Stop the Party” and finishing with “Give Me Everything”, Mr. 305 was easily a highlight in the 847.
Jax Finds a New Job
Jax is just a few performances into her career but its evident that she will be around for quite sometime as a performer. However she decided to pick up a second job as an arena security guard, as the “Victoria’s Secret” artist sported an arena staff members jacket during her performance. She blamed the wardrobe choice on a malfunction, but we are convinced that she just couldn’t resist making the joke during her opening set on Monday.
Khalid Spreads Positive Vibes
Khalid was nothing but smiles during his Allstate Arena performance for the Jingle Ball crowd. Khalid and his dancers kept us entertained throughout his 5-song set, with standout tracks like “Location”, “Talk”, “Better”, “lovely” and his Halsey collab, “Eastside”.
Amongst an unbeatable lineup of musicians, one performer stood out the most, that being “Thrift Shop” rapper Macklemore. The Washington native was unstoppable on Monday and delivered an unmatched among of energy the reminded us of how great his live performances are. Macklemore challenged the sold-out arena to make sure that when he talked to his daughter following the Jingle Ball tour, Chicago would be the city that he told her was the most live. Chicago called Macklemore’s bluff and matched his energy from start to finish.
Macklemore returned to The Rave’s Eagles Ballroom in Milwaukee tonight for another sold-out performance, after a memorable 2016 performance with Ryan Lewis, in the very same room. And while Macklemore was without his partner-in-crime this time around, as the duo of “Macklemore and Ryan Lewis” are currently on hiatus while the close friends take some time musically apart, Macklemore still brought the same fun energy in support of his new solo LP, Gemini.
Up first for the evening were opening sets from XP, Eric Nally and Travis Thompson, emerging artists that you can all find featured on Gemini. Not only did the cast of openers gain new fans with their opening performances, but all of the above would later join Macklemore on stage to perform their Gemini collaborations, ‘Church’, ‘Corner Store’ and ‘Ain’t Gonna Die Tonight’. Gemini also boasts features from artists like Kesha, Offset, Skylar Grey and Lil Yachty, but having some of the album’s featured artists, big or small, definitely was a nice bonus to the night.
But despite entertaining performances from XP, Nally and Thompson, the anticipation continued to build as it was time for the man of the hour to hit the stage. And to kick off his performance in support of his new album, Macklemore opened his set with Gemini‘s opening track, the Eric Nally-assisted ‘Ain’t Gonna Die Tonight’. Macklemore continued with two more tracks from the 2017 LP, his first solo album since 2005, before really getting the crowd going with his 2012 mega-hit, ‘Thrift Shop’.
The above sequence set the tone for the entire night as Macklemore performed the vast majority of his new album, while still taking time to pay homage to his catalog of hits with Ryan Lewis with performances of ‘White Walls’, ‘Thrift Shop’, ‘Downtown’ and ‘Same Love’. Then, to end the glorious night and close out his 17-song setlist, Macklemore gave fans a great encore performance of his Gemini single, ‘Glorious’. Fans already can’t wait for Macklemore’s next Milwaukee visit, no matter who he brings with him.
Check out our photos from tonight’s performance below and peep the remaining tour dates here.
It’s starting to get cold in the Windy City but the live music scene is getting hotter than ever. We’re months removed from the summer festival season, but Chi-town is bringing some of the biggest artists in the world to the city for some amazing shows.
From Red Bull Sound Select’s “30 Days In Chicago” series, with concerts from Migos, Lil Yachty, 6LACK and the big reunion of the Big Tymers (to name a few), to some big headlining arena shows from The Weeknd, Halsey, Guns N Roses and more, Chicago (and the surrounding areas) are delivering some of the best concerts of the year in November.
Check out our list of the 12 can’t miss concerts in Chicago this month!
Perhaps the best city in the world for music festivals, Chicago has added another great one to the list. Coming to the Guaranteed Rate Field (home to the Chicago White Sox) next month will be the Get In It Music Festival!
On September 16th, the Get In It Fest will boast a huge lineup with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Fifth Harmony, DNCE, Lupe Fiasco, Fat Joe, Jeremih & more. Festival organizers also promise a number of special guests and sports figures.
If you needed any more reasons to attend, the festival with benefit Get IN, a collection of local nonprofit organizations that works to prevent violence and support Chicago’s youth.
Off his recent LP, This Unruly Mess I’ve Made, Macklemore has released his new music video from the album, this time for his fun record, ‘Brad Pitt’s Cousin’. And while the music video is certainly low budget, the visuals complement the record and are just as fun as the track itself. In the new video Macklemore is caught on the road, goofing off in Europe, in what was surely a blast to film. The video even has some special cameos from rapper XP, Macklemore’s new born child and a kitten!
Watch Macklemore’s music video for ‘Brad Pitt’s Cousin’ below.
Last weekend we caught the last date of An Evening with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. With an entertaining opening performance from rapper XP (Xperience), the night couldn’t have got off to a better start. So when it was time for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis to hit the stage, energy levels were at an all-time high, and Macklemore and company truly delivered. Saturday we posted some of our favorite photos from the show, and today we have our video recap of the awesome performance, shot by our photographer Dan Garcia.
Check out our video recap from the last stop of An Evening with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis below.
Earlier tonight Macklemore and Ryan Lewis brought their 2016 tour to The Rave in Milwaukee, WI. Closing the U.S. leg of their “An Evening with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis” tour, Macklemore rocked the sold-out Milwaukee crowd with a memorable performance. While we can’t speak for the previous tour dates, you wouldn’t have guessed that it has been two years since the ‘Thrift Shop’ rapper has been on tour. If you went into tonight thinking that it would just be a rapper going over some of his instrumentals with a DJ in the background, you couldn’t have been more wrong!
The night kicked off as rapper Xperience (XP) hit the stage to warm up the crowd. Although XP was not billed on the lineup, the emerging rapper has been touring with Macklemore and company throughout the tour, introducing himself to city after city. And tonight’s crowd received a great introduction to the rapper, and although Milwaukee wasn’t rapping along word-for-word with XP this time around, he certainly set the great tone for the night and picked himself up some new Midwest fans.
However of course, the man (or men in this case) of the hour was Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. For this tour, the majority of the songs performed were off Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ critically acclaimed 2012 album The Heist, but the Seattle rapper definitely made time to sprinkle in some new music. The crowd’s energy level were certainly at a climix during Macklemore’s performance of his 2015 single ‘Downtown’, which is expected on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ forthcoming LP This Unruly Mess I’ve Made, however ‘Growing Up’ and ‘White Privilege II’ were noticeably left out from the setlist. Although the latter may be because it’s a more political, less up-beat, and nine-minute song. However given the song’s recent popularity, and because it’s a great record, many fans would have loved to see a live performance.
In total, the performance was full of energy from start to finish. Contrasting from your average rap concert, Macklemore and company put a lot of production into the show, that looks like it was designed from an arena tour instead. All throughout the night Macklemore paid tribute to his Milwaukee fans, dubbing the crowd as the tour’s “best crowd yet”, and while this may be something he tells every crowd, because Milwaukee was the first show to completely sell out on the tour, he just may have meant it this time.
“An Evening with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis” isn’t your average show, in the same ways that Macklemore isn’t your average rapper and that Ryan Lewis isn’t your average producer. It’s almost impossible to pick one or two moments that stood out from tonight because the performance left fans consistently entertained throughout the night.
Check out our photos from Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ Milwaukee tour stop below.
For many it’s easy to hate on Macklemore, even if not for good reason. Whether it’s because of his text apology to Kendrick Lamar for winning the “Best Rap Album” Grammy, that came off cheesy to many when Macklemore made the private messages public on social media, or whether it’s because he is a rapper that makes (what many people consider) pop music, or even simply because he is a white rapper who doesn’t rap like Eminem raps, many find a way to dislike an artist who genuinely comes off as one of the nicest people in music. No matter the levels that his commercial and critical success has reached (or will continue to reach), rap fans andpublications alike have found a way to poke fun at Macklemore.
Now I’m not trying to be the hero that stops the bully from picking on the nice kid, but it’s time that those who haven’t yet jumped on the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis bandwagon hop aboard (something that I admittedly jumped on far too late). He may not come from a broken home, he may not have the lyrical fire of a J. Cole or Kendrick Lamar, and yes… he isn’t black, but he isn’t acting like it either. Macklemore has consistently stayed true to himself, making music from a perspective that is 100% his own. However being real isn’t enough, if an artist’s music isn’t relatable in one way or another, then what’s the point? Or if your music doesn’t have a message, then why make music at all? Fortunately for Macklemore though, his music and his new record especially is not only true to Macklemore but it carries a great message, that music fans across all different races and genres can relate to.
‘White Privilege II’ is another great record to tackle a huge social issue on a bigger platform than anyone before him has. On his last LP, The Heist, Macklemore broke ground with his record ‘Same Love’, rapping about same-sex relationships. Although Macklemore himself is not gay, and in fact is a new father to a baby girl with his wife Tricia Davis, he spoke from his own perspective, a straight person who supports equality and with loved ones who are gay. Even though it wasn’t “his fight to fight”, Macklemore spoke up for equality instead of sitting on the sidelines.
Macklemore takes a same approach as in ‘Same Love’ with his new record ‘White Privilege II’, dedicating nearly 9-minutes to tackle issues of race. Like in ‘Same Love’, this one isn’t Macklemore’s fight to fight, but as Jamila Woods sings in the new track, “silence is a luxury.” Music aside, if you ask many different people “what can white people do to help the Black Lives Matter movement”, they will tell you first to be aware of white privilege. And that is just what Macklemore does throughout the entire record.
In his opening verse, Macklemore vividly tells a story of when he joined the protests and march in support of Michael Brown, where a police officer )(Officer Darren Wilson) was not indicted for the death of another unarmed black man. Immediately Macklemore acknowledges the uncomfortable situation one finds themself in when supporting a cause that they aren’t directly part of. “In my head like, ‘Is this awkward, should I even be here marching?’ Thinking if they can’t, how can I breathe”?, Macklemore raps.
In the second verse, Macklemore aggressively battles the voices and demons inside him, for stealing from black culture. A common critique of many white artists who cross over into black genres, whether it’s Macklemore, Iggy Azalea, Elvis, Justin Timberlake (pretty much anyone J. Cole mentions in his track ‘Fire Squad’), Macklemore raps “You’ve taken the drums and the accent you rapped in. You’re branded hip-hop, it’s so fascist and backwards.” Throughout the verse, Macklemore shows that he is his biggest critic, that he isn’t immune to the blogs and tweets and ‘Fire Squads’ of the world. Although Macklemore’s inner thoughts are far too hard on himself, the humility he shows is remarkable and the overwhelming amount of “white guilt” (for lack of better words) he shows is almost depressing.
In his third verse, Macklemore switches from the voice of his inner demons to the voice of his fans that just don’t get it. The first half of the verse starts out positive, where a mother of two approaches Macklemore and commends him on the positivity and social awareness of his music. Soon after, the mom’s inner racist comes out, labeling rap music as nothing but “guns, drugs and hos”, and then speaking on the protests she says “if a cop pulls you over, it’s your fault if you run.” After the verse ends, the track transitions into a power montage of racist sound bites of people denying their white privilege.
Perhaps the most powerful verse of the record, Macklemore builds off the verses prior to come to an eventual realization of his role in our modern day civil rights movement:
“I can book a whole tour, sell out the tickets,
Rap entrepreneur, built his own business.
If I’m only in this for my own self-interest, not the culture that gave me a voice to begin with,
Then this isn’t authentic, it is just a gimmick.
The DIY underdog, so independent,
But the one thing the American dream fails to mention,
Is I was many steps ahead to begin with.”
Fully acknowledging his white privilege, being many steps ahead of the game because of the color of his skin, Macklemore continues to rap “my success is the product of the same system that let off Darren Wilson”, and then ending the fourth and final verse by repeating the lines, “we take all we want from black culture, but will we show up for black lives.”
‘White Privilege II’ perhaps isn’t just the best Macklemore record to date, but it is also his realist. Beautifully articulating what it’s like to be white person in 2016 who is conscious of their white privilege, and someone who wants to support causes which they otherwise could easily ignore, Macklemore again proves that he is a rapper with substance far beyond the popular fun tracks like ‘Downtown’ and ‘Thrift Shop’. It will be interesting to see what J. Cole says about this one…
Macklemore took to social media today to announce his new album. Titled This Unruly Mess I’ve Made, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis will release their highly anticipated follow up to 2012 album The Heist, on February 26th. With a huge new tour, a new album, and even some festival appearances along the way, 2016 marks another year that will be dominated by duo that is Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
In a message to fans about the new LP, Macklemore wrote:
“I couldn’t escape. I’d been escaping the whole time. I had to finally look. Look at the mess we had made. In all its lacquered glory and its tarnished failures. Sare at it. Understand it. And then leave. I was too comfortable. Being comfortable is what kills artists.”
Watch the introduction to This Unruly Mess I’ve Made below.
‘Thrift Shop’ and ‘Same Love’ rapper Macklemore announced his new 2016 tour with producer Ryan Lewis today. Hitting the road in January for “An Evening With Macklemore And Ryan Lewis”, the duo will hit stops in Pheonix, Austin, Miami, Washington D.C. and many more before the tour ends on February 5th in Milwaukee. You can get your tickets to see Macklemore head ‘Downtown’ to a city near you, this Wednesday (October 14th) when the presale begins. Check out Macklemore’s official website for more information.
Peep the tour dates for Macklemore’s forthcoming tour below!