Tuesday, June 7, at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland
Winning the Grammy Award for best rap album in 2014 might have been one of the worst things that could have happened to the careers of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Diverting the coveted prize from Kendrick Lamar’s “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City” invited hateful backlash from the hip-hop community.
Macklemore, the Seattle native born Ben Haggerty in 1983, has candidly acknowledged that the award and at least a portion of the success of his breakout novelty hit “Thrift Shop” was attributable to the color of his skin. He and his musical partner Lewis have been furiously backpedaling ever since.
Macklemore’s series of heartfelt apologies culminated in the January release of the startling “White Privilege II” single, a frank exploration of the subject. The admirably thoughtful composition is unbearably disquieting. Most of the songs on the duo’s 2016 album “This Unruly Mess I’ve Made” possess similarly serious themes, including the opioid epidemic, gentrification and consumerism.
In spite of Macklemore’s eagerness to address exceedingly difficult topics, Tuesday’s concert won’t be entirely grim. In addition to weighty selections like “Same Love,” the empowering anthem that addresses marriage equality, the duo will perform breezier material including the hit “Downtown” and the happy-go-lucky “Thrift Shop.” The upbeat fare should prevent the show from seeming more like a political rally or a self-help forum than an exultant hip-hop concert. Raz Simone and XP will open the show.
Tickets range from $34.50 to $49.50 in advance at midlandkc.com.