Macklemore is a free spirit in “BEN.”




Honorable Mention. 1984

I feel like Lizzo made this song before.

Macklemore was actually born in 1983. However, as someone with a newborn right now, I can confirm that Mack probably stopped spitting up his milk by 1984. Anywho, “1984” sounds exactly how you would think a song called 1984 would sound. It has an upbeat instrumental that will give you Saved By The Bell vibes, tons of handclaps, a lively vocal performance by the dude that sings the Ducktales theme song Macklemore, and lyrics that highlight what folks from back then thought 1999 parties would look like. Is this song a little cheesy? Yes. Is this song good? Yes.



Honorable Mention. I NEED

Macklemore wants his damn respect.

In “I NEED,” Macklemore sounds like a bomb that is about to explode. Throughout the song, he raps about the importance of understanding the difference between essential and nonessential. He also raps about not giving in to social norms. What I like is how the song effortlessly shifts between sounding intense and subdued; a perfect representation of what it looks like right before someone has a major breakdown.



5. NO BAD DAYS (Ft. Collett)

Collett ate in “NO BAD DAYS.”

I just love the energy attached to “NO BAD DAYS.” The song features an upbeat pop instrumental that you will want to hopscotch to, a rebellious and infectious hook by Collett, and reflective and motivational raps by Macklemore that are delivered with great exuberance. All in all, there is no way you can leave this track not feeling good inside.



4. TAIL LIGHTS (Ft. Morray)

Who’s cutting white onions right now?

Macklemore closes out Ben perfectly. “TAIL LIGHTS,” the last track on the album, features an extremely passionate chorus by Morray and powerful raps by Macklemore that has him speaking on the rough road he had to take to become a great father, a successful musician, and a content human-being. What I love is how refreshing, honest, and touching the song feels as a whole.


“GRIME” appropriately follows “HEROES” on this album’s tracklist.

In “GRIME,” Macklemore raps about his strong b*tch-slap hand, his old battle rap ways, and his disgust for high drug prices. Personally, what I love is the horn-heavy, hard-hitting beat that powers the song and how Mack throws nothing but haymakers over it.

Though I like “HEROES” a little better, “GRIME” definitely sounds more organic.



2. HEROES (Ft. DJ Premier)

Apparently, Macklemore wanted to be Gunna growing up.

In “HEROES,” Macklemore raps about all of the bandos, the toxic individuals, and the old-school music that inspired him in the past. Though I rock with the slick flows and aggressive deliveries that he hits us with, I’m not going to lie, it sounds like he’s trying just a little too hard to prove that he’s down with the get-down. Nonetheless, if you call yourself a true hip-hop fan, you have to love the booming DJ Premier beat (And all of its old-school samples) and Mack’s appreciation for it.



1. CHANT (Ft. Tones And I)

I feel like I can skip church for a few more years after listening to “CHANT.”

“CHANT” merges a galvanizing hook by Tones And I with a stirring beat and passionate raps that are all about overcoming odds and basking in well-earned success. The more the song plays on, the stronger it gets. Ultimately, it turns into a full-blown mega boss that wants to start a melee with your ears. 


1. CHANT (Ft. Tones And I) (5/5)

2. NO BAD DAYS (Ft. Collett) (4/5)

3. 1984 (4/5)

4. MANIAC (3.5/5)

5. DAY YOU DIE (Ft. Sarah Barthel of Phantogram) (4/5)

6. HEROES (Ft. DJ Premier) (4/5)

7. GRIME (4/5)

8. I NEED (4/5)

9. LOST/SUN COMES UP (Ft. Jackson Lee Morgan) (4/5)

10. FAITHFUL (4/5)

11. TEARS (4/5)

12. SORRY (Ft. Livingston) (4/5)

13. GOD’S WILL (Ft. Vic Daggs II) (4/5)

14. I KNOW (Ft. charlieonafriday) (4/5)

15. TAIL LIGHTS (Ft. Morray) (4/5)




I f**k with Macklemore a lot. I appreciate the way he wears his heart on his sleeve and talks about the things that your everyday person goes through on a daily basis. With that being said, the biggest reason BEN is a great listen is because of its relatable content and enthusiastic vibes. Whether it’s a commercial pop song like “NO BAD DAYS” or a hard-hitting rap banger like “HEROES,” Mack finds spirited ways to deliver powerful messages that shine a light on mental health, addiction,  parenting, and hip-hop’s roots. The album also has a feel-good vibe a majority of the time; something I appreciate given all the terrors of the world that we have to deal with these days. Now, I do think that a bunch of tracks on this album sound like some cookie-cutter pop-rap s**t; however, I don’t think I can call any of them bad. Like, seriously, Macklemore doesn’t make bad music.

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