Story by Isong Maro / Contributing Writer
Macklemore has gone solo with “Gemini,” his first solo work since his debut album, “The Language of My World,” in 2005 and his first release since “This Unruly Mess I’ve Made” in February of last year with Ryan Lewis.
Notably, Lewis, his producer on “This Unruly Mess I’ve Made” and the hugely successful 2012 release “The Heist,” did not participate on “Gemini.” This, however, doesn’t take too much from the musical soundscape of the project as this album delivers what one would expect from Macklemore: catchy melodies and playful, sometimes balladic piano and chord progressions. He also delves into more contemporary sounds with a few bass-heavy trap beats here and there.
Macklemore continues his practice of collaborating with newer artists on this project, with a feature list of several up-and-comers, including rappers and artists from other genres. Wisconsin pop songwriter Skylar Grey appears on the song “Glorious,” which is already one of the most popular songs on the album. Well-known features on the album include Lil Yatchy on “Marmalade” and Kesha on the track “Good Old Days” where she continues her reinvention into a more soulful singer and delivers an emotional performance.
Lyrically, Macklemore tackles issues he always has with a lot of introspective verses. The project is laced with several narratives relatable to the masses such as fatherhood, social media and contemporary social issues. This is evident on the songs “Intentions,” “Good Old Days” and “Excavate.” However, the lyrics on this album don’t get as political as they did on “The Heist.”
“Gemini” is a decent effort from Macklemore, and it mostly offers what one would expect from the Seattle rapper. In a year that has seen releases from legendary hip-hop acts like Jay-Z and Snoop Dogg, albums from many top current rappers — Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean, Vince Staples, Joey Bada$$ and Tyler, the Creator, as well as rumors of a possible Eminem release — it is difficult to place where Macklemore’s project fits exactly in the 2017 hip-hop landscape. It is certainly an enjoyable listen, and Macklemore’s witty lyrics and delivery certainly make him a standout act.
More information and streaming of “Gemini” can be found here.
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