The Gospel According to Macklemore: Victory Lap

Yet again, prophetic hip hop’s unofficial spokesman brings his best lyrics and unique music in a debut track, “Victory Lap.” Seattle’s Macklemore was slated to release a brand new album in 2012, although no title or release date were given until later (“The Heist”). This new track was no doubt a taste of things to come, glowing as a standout song on the XXL 2012 Freshman Mixtape and accompanied by a music video showing Mack’s progression as a performer over the last decade.

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Check out the video for Macklemore’s newest track, “Victory Lap.” It’s gotta be good, because his trumpet player even does the obligatory rap music hand wave.

Cleaned up in ’08, got a job making barely minimum wage
To get into that page
Hit the road with RL, performing in front of eight people
And that $#*@ will check your ego
About around that time I’m watching that EP go
From nothing to getting us booked around the country
I know no limits, life can change in an instant
Eight People turn into sold out shows in a minute

Probably won’t get it, but I’m gonna give it everything
Play my position
The next 11 months I gave it all, everything I had left in me
Left blood, sweat, tears in every g-d damn city
No label, no deal, no publicist,  indie
There’s music that connected and fans that rode with me
Throw me a gold mine, and a co-sign
While you’re riding a couple dope rides
Two women, both dimes
Not gonna lie, that $#*@ sounds so nice
But I got creative control and my soul’s mine
I wouldn’t trade it, maybe I’m crazy
I put on for my city
Seattle that raised me
Rule 4080, it’s really not changing
Now a days make good music, the people are your label

And they say, “Don’t forget where you come from
Don’t die holding on to your words
Cause you know you got a whole world to change
But understand who you got to change first”

There are a number of things that stand out in a composition like this, but here are a few of the most prominent implications of the strong meaning Macklemore writes into his work, some of the truths of life that speak to personal development:

Shadows of Truth

  • As is consistent across his work, Macklemore spares no honesty in his telling of life’s obstacle-ridden course. He’s a man who persevered through inner and exterior conflict, to his credit. But that doesn’t mean the hard work paid off immediately. It took him time and patience to grow that eight-person crowd to a sold out stadium. “That $#*@ will check your ego.”
  • Although some succumb to pressures from their own demons or other people, Macklemore keeps his vision on a higher plane. He doesn’t put himself in a box or let external expectations hold him. His confidence should encourage listeners to join him in accepting the adventure of life as it happens, and adapting to use it to its fullest. “I know no limits, life can change in an instant.”
  • Despite the possibility of failure, Macklemore strives for excellence. He wanted to make it in the music industry, and he knew it required sacrifice and dedication. Almost everything good comes with a price. How much are we willing to give? “Play my position, the next 11 months I gave it all, everything I had left in me.”
  • Macklemore affirms the temptations of wealth and women, but also recognizes he’s got bigger things to work for. His passion for hometown Seattle and music itself is refreshing in a genre rife with self-promotion and pointless debauchery. He’d prefer to write and release his music through independent means rather than sell out for large sums but compromise his authentically creative songwriting. The guy’s got convictions. “Not gonna lie, that $#*@ sounds so nice, but I got creative control and my soul’s mine.”
  • Community is a big theme in Mack’s tracks. He realizes that music holds tremendous power to bring people together, and that’s the  kind of support and distribution connections he wants. [He also touches on the importance of a community in his song, “Church.”] “Now a days make good music, the people are your label.”
  • Identity and knowing one’s roots also surfaces frequently in these songs. Macklemore’s words here are reminiscent of Jesus, who didn’t just impress with talk, but modeled a life of action flowing out of his identity as God’s son. In everything Jesus did, he did it as the role he was sent to play: rescuer, redeemer, representative of the Father. “Don’t forget where you come from, don’t die holding on to your words.”
  • Change starts with the individual. Any movement proves this. Macklemore’s contagious optimism gives the world of artists another glimmer of hope in an often cynical industry. He continues to provide a prophetic call to better, in music and personal ethos. This mirrors the Christian teaching that before helping to correct another person, one must address his own flaws. “Cause you know you got a whole world to change but understand who you got to change first.”


What themes do you see in Macklemore’s “Victory Lap”? 


Read more on The Gospel According to Macklemore:

White Privilege.
The Town.
Life Is Cinema.
Make The Money.


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