The hip-hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis formed out of Seattle, Washington in 2009, three years after they became friends on MySpace. Lewis started working as Macklemore's photographer, but it wasn't long before they started making music together, with Lewis taking on the producing, mixing, and engineering responsibilities.
Ben Haggerty made his debut as Professor Macklemore in 2000 with the EP Open Your Eyes but would later drop the "Professor" in time for his full-length debut with The Language of My World in 2005.
The duo's claim to fame was the surprise chart-topping hit "Thrift Shop," the fifth single from their debut album, The Heist (2012). It was quite a feat for an independent act without the benefit of a major record label. They do, however, work with Alternative Distribution Alliance, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Records, to distribute their music. "But we have no deal with Warner, and there's no contract whatsoever," Lewis explained to HipHopDX in 2013. "We're 100% independent, but we're using resources from a bigger label for particular small things and hiring them out. And that shit has never really happened! That shit is just brand-f---in'-new." In contrast to many rap songs that flaunt wealth and excess, the track praised frugality and eschewed designer duds for bargain-basement threads.
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