It’s good to occasionally check in on top 40 radio. You can get a good sense of cultural directions and trends. So, last week I heard a song that had an infectious hook and had to listen in. What blew me away though wasn’t the sound but the lyrics, which were about celebrating thrift store shopping for fashion. One part mentions how silly it was to spend $50 for a t-shirt that everyone else was wearing. The fact that this was a rap had me extra excited, as rap is well known for pushing the value of high fashion and expensive taste. Suddenly, I began envisioning this song as a trailblazer; a turning point away from the urban values which have caused poor spending habits as parents don’t have a dime in their kid’s college fund but routinely drop $100 or more for the latest shoes or jeans. A rap glorifying used clothes and hand me downs wasn’t something I ever expected to hear in my lifetime. Hip Hop moving away from superficial consumerism and towards the hipster lifestyle could be nothing but good news. Nothing saddens me more then hearing the non-stop stories of kids getting shot for his brand name coat or due to stepping on some thug’s $300 sneakers. And I love the thought of Kanye at the Salvation Army or Jay-Z dumpster diving.
When I got home I immediately looked up more about the song. ‘Thriftshop’ is by a rapper named Macklemore along with Ryan Lewis singing vocals.
I was truly surprised to see that he was a white rapper. I was also disappointed as I think the song would have a greater impact on the Black youth of the rap community if he was also Black. On the otherhand, his Youtube video has over 70 MILLION views and the it is already a top 10 song, so it has obviously struck a cord with many people. And it is definitely a refreshing rap and I hope a new direction for the genre.