This album definitely doesn’t succumb to the sophomore jinx which was my greatest fear following up The Heist. There are strengths and weaknesses to it though. There are some goofy moments which make Macklemore seem like a joke such as “Downtown” and “Let’s Eat.” I understand that artists have to shoot for the single, but we can definitely deal without the gimmicks sometimes. There was a bit of a Weird Al feel to those tracks which makes him seem less credible as an artist. But then you get smacked in the head by the fact that there is a DJ Premier produced track on the album featuring KRS-One. Preemo wouldn’t just give a beat to anyone, would he? There’s gotta be a reason. The best quality of this album is the fact there are songs that actually mean something on it. Not the Southern-based trap music garbage that floods the musical landscape, but tracks that actually mean something and get you to think and have emotions. “Growing Up” is a beautiful track about the fears and thoughts about becoming a father. “Kevin” addresses the pharmaceutical world of doctors prescribing the country into a haze. “St. Ides” addresses the ills associated with alcoholism. “White Privilege II” raises the questions about what white people are supposed to do for the Black Lives Matter movement and for equality in general. Regardless of how you feel about the issue, it raises the questions and inspires conversation. Overall this is a very good album and it has those tracks that stick with you for awhile. I think Ryan Lewis is a very talented producer and is really showing some great potential while Macklemore continues to show his growth and depth with becoming a thought-provoking lyricist. I definitely look forward to seeing more from this duo in the future as I believe they are fully capable of creating a masterpiece.
OVERALL RATING: 4 out of 5 Cheesesteaks