Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have been the dynamic duo of pop hip-hop in the 10's, but at some point, every bird has to spread its wings and fly. Macklemore started out as a local rapper in Seattle, and after a successful bout with Lewis, Macklemore has taken a safe first step back into solo material with Gemini.
Gemini is an album with a lot of pop sensibility, which is pretty much a must-have for Macklemore. Paired with his signature punchy yet understated formula, 'Ain't Gonna Die Tonight' opens the album, Eric Nally (who previously sang on single 'Downtown') singing powerfully with the confidence of Freddie Mercury and an incomparable grandiose, bringing the record to a big start. Skylar Grey joins on 'Glorious,' and though the choruses feel like they lack just a bit, Macklemore really comes in with an anthemic delivery.
Macklemore's last released work was 2016's This Unruly Mess I've Made alongside Ryan Lewis, a very unique album for hip-hop. The thing with Macklemore is that his songs always have a meaning, whether it be addressing racial tension in 'White Privilege II' or promoting acceptance of LGTBQ in 'Same Love.' That's lacking from Gemini. There aren't many tracks that feels like a statement, which is always what gave Macklemore a footing in hip-hop. 'Good Old Days' with Kesha touches upon a more serious and personal message, but beyond that, there's not much else. 'Marmalade' with Lil Yachty is the biggest waste of a track on this record, made to suit Yachty, which is almost the opposite of what his music has embodied in the past. That's not to say he can't have fun, but this is a bit too far. Other than that, this album just get's pretty boring after awhile, every track sort of falling into the same sound.
Macklemore takes a safe first step back into solo material with Gemini, delivering some nice poppy and radio-friendly tracks but losing his sense of importance. It's okay to step away from serious subjects, but there's a difference from taking away your most important factor and this.
Favorite Tracks: Ain't Gonna Die Tonight, Over It
Least Favorite Track: Marmalade
Rating: 70 / 100
Stream or buy Gemini on Apple Music: