Mackelmore. Newcastle Arena. 22.4.16.


Perhaps Macelmore is the greatest case study for the modern young adult.  If he’s not a schizophrenic; at best he’s a Gemini.  Watch him live and you will see enough insights to observe two clear sides to his personality; an external persona (demonstrated by a cheery, upbeat, confident stage presence) and an internal persona (intense lyrics with meditative, dark, themes about uncertainty and a need for reassurance).

Perhaps, in a market & social driven world, this is a prototype for all young adults; an expectation to be a larger than life-social-character (with an appropriate avitar) whilst secretly struggling with the pressures of adulthood, and the realities of balancing an external creation with a different internal make-up.  What do we do to each other?  Why do we make things so difficult that suicide is still one of the largest reasons for death in the western world?

Macelmore seems pissed off with a world built on injustices.   Like Plan B, his battle plan  appears to be the delivery of his message wrapped inside the humour of Slim Shady or Green Day.  The lyrics aren’t enough, they need to be presented in a way that is accessible to young, active minds craving the next hit of dopamine or the next strap line to add to Twitter.

Can it really be over 25 years ago that Cobain mocked the selfishness and unreliable Generation X? here we are now, entertain us.   Just what would he think of their mobile phone friendly offspring?

Perhaps Bono’s recent comments were correct, maybe the only way to reach today’s youth is through light heartedness and comedy.  Perhaps the comedian really is the next step in the lifecycle of the politician.

Cheaply comparing Macmelmore to Eminem is far too easy and is just poor, lazy, journalism.  I’m sorry for doing that. Yes they’re both white, they both come from deprived backgrounds, they both rap, and they’ve both had substance issues.  However the real, and most important, similarities, are overlooked; their staccato delivery of lyrics, the irony within their writings and the intelligence of their insights.   There’s part of a verse of his opening track ‘Light Tunnels’ which must be the most insightful,  real, thing I’ve heard in years.  It’s at least as equal to anything from the Slim Shady EP.  Words like these should be projected onto all state buildings across the world.  They would help.  They would take away a little of the pressure we put on ourselves.

Watch celebrities take selfies with celebrities
It feels so make believe
They want the gossip, they want the drama
They want Britney Spears to make out with Madonna
They want Kanye to rant and to go on longer, cause that equates to more dollars
They want talking topics, they want trending topics
They want outfits to be outlandish, they want sideways glances
Beef and problems, they want nipple slips
Cause they live for clicks, this is economics
So we Botox our skin and we smile for the camera
Might as well get a new nose while we’re at it
This is America, insecurity’s our fabric
And we wear it and we renamed it fashion

Lyrics like these aren’t created from the dennis-the-menace meets Jackass character the press would have us believer he is.  This is Tupac. This is Chuck D. This is Common. This is KRS One.

The whole show supports this conscious raising; considerable plaudits to both XRP and Raury who’s support performances focus more on Common and Prince than on bling and gold rings.

It’s interesting to watch the audience rap/ sing along during the show; they’re mostly teenagers and they’re mostly dressed up for a night on the town.  There’s something really heart warming to me about them- these are the sorts of youthful minds who will be given the mantle of making sure the world doesn’t lose the ability to recognise the issues, ask  the tough questions, or speak their minds.

Great show.


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