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Macklemore & Ryan Lewis        

Hip Hop Duo; Known For "Thrift Shop"

The rapper known as Macklemore was born Ben Haggerty in Seattle, Washington. His mother was a social worker who encouraged her son to be supportive of difference. He took to performing as a child, and was influenced by the likes of hip-hop groups Kris Kross and Digital Underground as well as pop superstar Michael Jackson.

DJ and producer Ryan Lewis was born in Spokane, Washington. He developed an interest in music during his youth, playing the guitar and working in media production. He eventually took up photography as well.

Together, Macklemore and Lewis makeup the hip-hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.

Lewis worked with the Macklemore first as a creative consultant in 2008. Later, after Macklemore recovered from major substance-abuse issues, the two decided to team up and work together musically.

In 2010, the two released the Vs. Redux EP. Rather than go the traditional record-label route, the duo opted instead to work on their full-length debut independently, relying upon their own savvy, hard work, word of mouth and online buzz. (Lewis is particularly known for having a sharp business acumen and drive that belie his years.) They released The Heist in October of 2012. The album, which is noted for being a hip-hop project that doesn't have any samples and relies on Lewis' original sounds, opened at No. 2 on Billboard's main album charts. The Heist's lead single, "Thrift Shop," eventually reached the top of the Hot 100 chart, with eventual sales of more than 6 million downloads. The video for "Thrift Shop" has become a phenomenon as well, receiving tens of millions of YouTube views. The duo's second single, "Can't Hold Us," reached No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart as well, making Macklemore & Ryan Lewis the first duo in music history to have their first two singles reach the top of the pop charts.

Part of the duo's appeal is their innovation and reliance on ideas and lyrics that go against much of hip-hop's traditional swagger. "Thrift Shop" talks of a penchant for secondhand clothes, with a chorus sung by Wanz (a onetime software engineer in his fifties), while the Heist song "Same Love" features singer-songwriter Mary Lambert in a celebration of same-sex unions.

The duo embarked on their first full-fledged international tour in 2013.

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