Picture it: 2012. You just saw The Dark Knight Rises in theatres. Rumors are swirling about Kate Middleton’s pregnancy, and you’re feeling slightly concerned that the ancient Mayan doomsday prophecy might come true. You turn on the radio, and “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis comes on. And then it comes on again, and again, and again. It carried the world into 2013, and it ended up being one of the highest-selling songs of the year. Although it seemed like the hip-hop duo was on track for total domination, we haven’t heard much from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis in a few years.
If you’re wondering what happened to Macklemore, we have all the details about what the rapper has been up to and the rift between the hip-hop duo.
What Is Macklemore Doing Now?
The 2010s were a rollercoaster ride for Macklemore. He went from being a little-known rapper to having one of the biggest albums in the world and winning multiple Grammy awards. But what is he up to now? and when can fans expect to hear new music?
Macklemore married his longtime girlfriend, and he’s been keeping busy as a family man. The couple has two young kids who he frequently posts on Instagram.
His most recent venture is surprising, and it has nothing to do with hip-hop. He created a line of golf clothes called Bogey Boys, meant to modernize your traditional golfing gear. Think bold colors and prints like a tartan windbreaker or a soft pink cardigan.
Macklemore started off 2022 with a bang by performing at the famous New Year’s Rockin’ Eve event and released some new music, which prompted him to go on tour. In August of 2022, he performed at Fenway Park—an iconic venue that many artists aspire to.
Fans have new music to look forward to; Macklemore has announced that his next album, BEN, will be released in May 2023. He released two singles in 2022, “Chant” and “Maniac,” offering a taste of what’s to come.
Macklemore Has Been An Independent Artist His Entire Career
While it might seem like Macklemore’s career ballooned overnight, he’s been working as an independent artist for years. Macklemore, whose real name is Benjamin Haggerty, grew up in the Seattle area to working-class parents. He started dabbling in music while attending college, and by 2000, he released an EP called Open Your Eyes under the name Professor Macklemore. Five years later, he dropped “Professor” from his moniker and released his debut album The Language of My World.
A few years after the release of his first record, Macklemore met Ryan Lewis, a DJ, and producer. The pair teamed up for their first joint project in 2010, an extended play called The vs EP. They quickly began work on their follow-up project, a full-length album. But rather than try to get a traditional record label like most mainstream musicians, the two opted for a DIY approach.
After several years of production, Macklemore and Lewis had an album ready: The Heist. They had built a fanbase online, but they wanted their work to go further. They signed a deal that allowed them to trade a small percentage of their royalties for some major label benefits, like radio promotion. This partnership allowed Macklemore and Lewis to retain their status as independent artists while dramatically scaling their reach.
Thanks to their partnership with the Alternative Distribution Alliance, singles from The Heist were promoted to alternative and pop radio stations. The rest is history. The duo skyrocketed to success between 2012 and 2014, with singles like “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us” playing on nearly every radio station. The duo went on to win 3 Grammy awards in 2014.
Why Macklemore Split With Ryan Lewis
The duo went dark following the release of their 2016 follow-up album, and when they failed to submit the sophomore album for Grammy consideration, rumors started to swirl about the future of Macklemore and Lewis. It seemed like the duo behind “Can’t Stop Us” had indeed been stopped.
In 2017, Macklemore broke his silence. He confirmed that the musical group was no longer working together. But is there bad blood between Macklemore and Lewis today? It doesn’t seem like it. The two agreed that some creative space would be beneficial for both of them.
“It was a decision that we both came to,” the rapper said in an interview on Sway in the Morning. “I think with the last album and how intense it was at times — particularly making ‘White Privilege II’ [on This Unruly Mess I’ve Made], that was an intense, as it should have been, song to write … I think it was really heavy to make a nine-minute song about race. And again, it should be heavy. You can’t even scrape the surface on it.”
Despite their professional break-up, the two stars maintain a brotherly friendship according to an Instagram post shared by the rapper in 2017.