This is the second Miami Macklemore show within a month.
This is the second Miami Macklemore show within a month.
Photo by Angel Melendez

Macklemore Is the Broccoli of Hip-Hop

Some people really love raw vegetables — no salt, nothing added, brush off the dirt it was grown in and chomp away. Some people won't touch a salad unless it's drenched in cheese, dressing, and copious amounts of bacon. One of those meals is genuinely good for us and the other is mostly a lie and a short vacation in the land of healthy.

A Macklemore concert is like the former: you can dress it up as much as you like, but if you're not a devout fan, sooner than later, it'll be time to move on.

For their part, the people that really like Macklemore and attended his show Tuesday night at the Fillmore Miami Beach enjoyed a concert the rest of us might have cringed at. See, for all his success with his radio hits “Thrift Shop” and “Can't Hold Us Down,” even when Macklemore is occasionally dropping a few F-bombs here and there, he's still the most wholesome, PG-rated version of hip-hop outside of Christian rap.

Returning to Miami only a few weeks after their show at the Capital One Beach Bash, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis took the stage jacked up to be back so soon. Perhaps it's because last night's show comes on the heels of the announcement of their sophomore LP, This Unruly Mess I Made, out February 26. It's the first collection of new music since their Grammy award-winning debut, The Heist.

It was an involved production with many moving parts, both literally and figuratively. Throughout the evening, Macklemore was accompanied by a full live band that included a brass section and backup singers, neither of which seemed to stay still for the entirety of the show. Providing even more energy were the break dancers that came out to periodically flip and pose behind a swaggering Macklemore. From the outset, the Seattle rapper promised the audience a dance party and most of the time he delivered. 

Macklemore might have a future on Broadway.
Macklemore might have a future on Broadway.
Photo by Angel Melendez

Then there were times the concert nearly came to a screeching halt. Macklemore, ever resolute to imbue almost every one of his songs with a positive message, stopped to speak and share his thoughts on equality, Dr. Martin Luther King, parenthood, and rehab. They were sentiments the numerous moms and dads in the crowd applauded. The concert, for a moment, felt slightly less like a concert and more like an AA meeting in the basement of a church — not exactly the rager a casual fan would expect.

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The family affair continued when he proudly shared the news that his wife and daughter flew down to Miami specifically for this show. That segued into “Growing Up,” his collaboration with Ed Sheeran and ode to his daughter, Sloane Ava Simone Haggerty (Yes, her name does rhyme. Her dad raps, damn it. Her name is going to rhyme.)

Look, anyone with a heart wants to like a loving, reflective song written from a father to a child, but “Growing Up” is just so...boring. It's not much better live and well, at the very least, hopefully Sloane likes it when she's older.

Songs from the parental perspective tend to be one of two ways: filled to the brim with tired cliches or challenging and unique. Unfortunately, Macklemore’s song is the former.

You either love him or you hate him.
You either love him or you hate him.
Photo by Angel Melendez

Thankfully, he managed to resuscitate this corpse with his performance of his latest single, “Downtown,” by essentially recreating the music video. After a costume change, Macklemore, once again flanked by break dancers and his band (which somehow doubled by that point) put on an exuberant display punctuated by the arrival of Foxy Shazam's Eric Nally on stage. It was an old school musical number straight out of the theatre. Hell, if Macklemore and Ryan Lewis ever decide to give up the rap game, they have a future on Broadway. 

Eventually Macklemore got to “Can't Hold Us,” but it was only after enduring a video montage introducing Raven Bowie, Macklemore’s cheesy homage to Ziggy Stardust himself, the late, great David Bowie.

Macklemore is a bit like a dad telling corny jokes at dinner. At first, it elicits a few chuckles and polite smiles, but after the second or third one, we're pleading for it to end. All we want to do is scarf down our veggies and be excused from the table. That way we can sneak out for some teeth rotting candy and ice cream and maybe even kick back with some parental advisory gangster rap.

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