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Macklemore is Back with “Gemini”

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Gemini Album Art

Gemini Album Art

Gemini Album Art

Khalil Rodgers, Contributing Writer

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Hip-Hop artist Macklemore has returned with his new album Gemini, but there is one thing missing. Macklemore is best known for being in a duo with Ryan Lewis, in which they created hits like “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us,” as well as the Grammy-winning album The Heist. It has been almost two years since we have heard anything from Macklemore and Ryan Lewis; after their sophomore album didn’t do so well on the charts, they decided to take a hiatus.  Now, Macklemore is back with his first solo album in 12 years, and it doesn’t seem like he needs Ryan Lewis to garner success.

Although Ryan Lewis is M.I.A., Macklemore stays true to his roots with this 16 track, heavily featured LP. He shows that he can maneuver through genres while being fun, but also addressing serious issues in society, which is emotional but also uplifting and confident.

The first track “Ain’t Gonna Die Tonight,” featuring Eric Nally, is an alternative-rock infused hip-hop song.  It immediately sets the mood for the album. Macklemore hits hard over this beat filled with bass, guitar and piano. He is addressing everyone making sure they know he’s back, you can’t kill his spirit, and he’s here to stay.

“Glorious,” featuring Skylar Grey, was the first single released from the album, and “Good Old Days,” featuring Kesha, both give off a feeling of inspiration. “Good Old Days” includes lyrics like “I’ve felt some pain, I’ve seen some things, but I’m here now.” It’s carried by bright piano sounds and by Kesha, who’s voice adds vulnerability to the song.

“Marmalade,” featuring Lil Yachty and “Willy Wonka,” featuring Offset, are two bangers that fit right in with modern hip-hop. They both give off a carefree vibe and touch on random topics, like being rich, and having fun. These songs could definitely receive some huge radio success.

“Firebreather,” featuring Reignwolf, and “How To Play the Flute,” featuring King Draino, are both songs to Macklemore’s critics.  Macklemore is addressing the people that doubt his talent and lyrically showing why he’s in the game to stay.  “Firebreather” is a funk-rock song on which Macklemore hits hard with his rhymes guided by its electric guitar, including lyrics like “hungry like it’s my rookie year and I’m new to this sport.” “How To Play the Flute” is trap-influenced track that is more directed towards the haters, with Macklemore rapping, “Shout out to my city know I really does this.”

Although there is a plethora of great songs on this album, a few songs do fall a little flat. “Levitate,” featuring Otieno, is a funk based track that makes you want to get up and dance, but lyrically, there’s nothing really special about it.  Also “Ten Million,” the only song without a featured artist, is not what I expected it to be.  I expected more because it was only Macklemore, but it just sounds like any rap song that you would currently hear on the radio.

There is an unreal amount of features on this album. 15 out of the album’s 16 songs have a featured artist. On many songs, the featured artist steals the spotlight from Macklemore, like what happens on “Zara” featuring Abir. “Zara” is a trippy, trap-based song that talks about a perfect relationship, and how Macklemore wants to do anything for this woman.  Abir sings the chorus, and her voice steals the show, perfectly flowing over the heavy-hitting backbeat.

The string heavy track “Over It,” featuring Donna Missal, talks about a bad relationship. Macklemore has created a song that addresses a real issue that many people face in relationships.

The two concluding songs on the album are what brings this LP together. “Church,” featuring Xperience, and “Excavate,” featuring Saint Claire, represent happiness.  These tracks are both driven by the bright, uplifting feel they have to them. They both have a gospel vibe to them and represent a feeling of empowerment.  They talk about being happy with your life, and the mistakes you make, representing a personal reflection of pieces of Macklemore’s life.

Overall, this was a good album. There were times during the album where some songs seemed out of place in the sequence, but eventually it all came together during the conclusion. On a couple tracks, the featured artists did steal the show from Macklemore, but it didn’t take away from any song. The album title Gemini perfectly represents this album. Macklemore has more than one side, which is what he is trying to portray to listeners with this album.

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Macklemore is Back with “Gemini”