Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have released their new album, This Unruly Mess I’ve Made, the hugely anticipated follow-up to his breakthrough album The Heist.
The 13-track collection of songs includes four tracks we’ve already heard: “Downtown,” “Growing Up,” “Kevin,” and the lightning rod of controversy, “White Privilege II”. Collaborations run deep this time around, with Chance the Rapper, YG, Leon Bridges and DJ Premier among the guests buoying the butterscotch delight of a record. Ed Sheeran guests on “Growing Up,” an obvious radio-baiting hit in the making.
Everyone under the sun has weighed in on ”White Privilege II,” from Iggy Azalea to Talib Kweli and beyond. But the track’s nearly nine-minute running time is only the closing siren on an album that’s otherwise remarkably potent for the dude who fell on his sword in front of the world when The Heist beat out Kendrick’s Good Kid m.A.A.d City for Best Rap Album at the 2014 Grammys.
“Light Tunnel” is fascinatingly self-aware, recounting award-night anxiety from a surprisingly relatable perspective. “Just look normal, don’t get turned into a meme. Relax. Breathe,” he flows.
Upbeat and full of self-deprecating humor as well as the obligatory pack-in of socially conscious raps, This Unruly Mess I’ve Made won’t be potent enough to fend off Mack’s biggest detractors, but it’s a solid record with strong replay value.