By Scott T. Sterling
Macklemore shares a celebration of artistic exploration and personal introspection on his new album, Gemini.
Related: Macklemore Honors His Grandma Helen
Stepping well outside of his comfort zone of longtime collaborator, Ryan Lewis, this new solo effort allows the rapper to branch out and work with a panorama of collaborators, including pop stars (Kesha, Skylar Gray), hip-hop’s current crop of hit-makers (Offset from Migos, Lil Yachty) and even down and dirty garage-rocker, Reignwolf.
This newfound freedom allows Macklemore to really have fun lyrically, riffing through absurd verses throughout the collection that should come with a wink and an elbow to the ribs.
Here are five great tracks from Macklemore’s latest.
“Levitate (feat. Otieno Terry)”
This Mackemore collaboration with Otieno Terry sounds like the pair making their version of a Bruno Mars/Pharrell Williams track. The song rides on a rapid-fire funky breakbeat, call and response verses and a highly melodic singalong chorus.
“Marmalade” Featuring Lil Yachty
This easy, breezy piano-powered pop track comes across as if Macklemore made a wrong turn in the studio and stumbled into the middle of a Lil Yachty/Kodie Shane recording session. He rolls with the whimsy and makes himself comfortable, although it’s the auto-tuned Lil Boat who is the true star of this show.
“Good Old Days” Featuring Kesha
Macklemore and Kesha knock this nostalgic pop tune out of the park. Their voices and styles mesh wonderfully, so much so that the two should consider returning to the studio together again and see if lightning can strike twice.
“Firebreather” Featuring Reignwolf
Rocker Reignwolf takes the reins on this one, setting the pace with a bluesy guitar riff and shouted chorus. Macklemore chimes in on the verses, making sports metaphors and talking about his Guns N’ Roses t-shirt, even though he “never listened to the band.”
“Church” Featuring Xperience
This warm, introspective track comparing music to religion. Celebrating the blessings of his life, it sounds like Macklemore has been checking out Chance the Rapper. The rapper sounds at home amidst the organs and horns, testifying over the gospel-infused tune.