Macklemore released his debut studio album The Heist on October 9, 2012, which charted at number 2 on the US Billboard 200 chart.
Early life and influences
Haggerty was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. He attended Garfield High School and Nathan Hale High School, going on to earn a bachelor's degree at The Evergreen State College. Interested in reaching a younger generation through his music, he was a part of a program focusing on education and cultural identity called "Gateways for Incarcerated Youth" where he facilitated music workshops.
Though he was not born to a musical family, both of his parents were supportive of his musical ventures. Haggerty was six years old when hip hop first came in to his life by way of Digital Underground. As he grew older, he and his friends spent their summers setting up tents to listen to the radio, making dubs and mixtapes of songs that would play because he and his friends were unable to buy any due to being underage and having no parental consent.
Macklemore was fourteen when he started writing lyrics. At this age, his friends referred to him as Möcklimore. When he started to rap, Macklemore listened to "a lot of East Coast underground hip hop", with Freestyle Fellowship, Aceyalone, Living Legends, Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, and Talib Kweli being big influences on him.
2000–2005: Career beginnings
Macklemore recorded an EP titled Open Your Eyes in 2000 under the name Professor Macklemore, which he distributed himself. Macklemore dropped "Professor" from his name, and released his first official full-length album, The Language of My World in January 2005. In September 2009, he released The Unplanned Mixtape. In October 2010, he teamed up with producer Ryan Lewis to create the VS. Redux EP. Macklemore used his experience with substance abuse to create the mixtape's critically acclaimed song "Otherside", which samples the Red Hot Chili Peppers song of the same title.
Since then, Macklemore has been picked up by The Agency Group, an international booking company that has represented such well-known groups as A Tribe Called Quest and Finger Eleven.
2005–2011: Comeback and The VS. series
Macklemore struggled with substance abuse problems in the past, including OxyContin. He considers this the reason for his lack of production between 2005 and 2009. But, after cleaning himself up in 2008, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis became a collaborative and creative unit. He appeared as a featured artist on The Physics' song "Good" in 2009. He celebrated two years of sobriety in early August 2010, as stated during his performance at Capitol Hill Block Party 2010. Macklemore first met Ryan Lewis in 2006. Lewis spent a few years working on Macklemore's promotion as a photographer. They would soon become good friends. Lewis would go on to produce for Macklemore, the two eventually working full-time as a title-credited duo.
In March 2010, the duo released "Stay At Home Dad," a track that didn't quite make Vs. In late April 2010, he performed an impromptu set at a house party at Colorado College. The set consisted of his track "And We Danced", two consecutive times in front of over two hundred fans. In December 2010, he released a tribute song named "My Oh My" for recently-deceased Seattle Mariners broadcaster Dave Niehaus, which has received extensive coverage in Seattle media sources.
On April 8, 2011, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis performed the song at the 2011 Mariner's Opening Day in front of 48,000 attendees. Macklemore relapsed in December 2011 after returning home from a tour. "Starting Over", a song featured on The Heist, talks about his relapse. He attributes his relapse to not attending AA meetings because of the tour. He came down with a cold and was prescribed codeine cough syrup eventually leading to the abuse of the drug.
The VS. EP with Ryan Lewis and The Unplanned Mixtape were released in 2009, followed by The VS. Redux the next year. The latter would reach No. 7 on the iTunes Hip Hop chart. Macklemore's debut single "The Town" was released from The Unplanned Mixtape and later remixed by Sabzi of the Blue Scholars. He also released "Irish Celebration" in December 2009 in anticipation of the release of The Vs. EP. Macklemore's second single "My Oh My" was released on December 21, 2010. "Wings" was released on January 21, 2011 along with "Can't Hold Us" featuring Ray Dalton on August 16, 2011.
2012–present: The Heist
In July 2012, Haggerty and Lewis announced that their debut full-length album, The Heist, would be released on October 9, 2012 as well as a subsequent world tour to promote the release. Previously released singles "My Oh My", "Wings" and "Can't Hold Us" were announced to be included on the album – as was the song "Make the Money". "Can't Hold Us" was used as soundtrack for Miller beer ad in UK and Ireland in June 2012, increasing Macklemore recognition in Europe. "Same Love" was released on July 18, 2012, and songs "White Walls" featuring ScHoolboy Q and "Jimmy Iovine" featuring Ab-Soul were confirmed to be included on the album.
The Heist reached the number 1 position on the US iTunes Albums chart within hours of release. The Heist debuted on the US Billboard 200 at number 2 of the week dated October 27, 2012, selling over 78,000 copies. On October 30, 2012, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" performing their single "Same Love" and then again on January 18, 2013, performing their single "Thrift Shop", which was sung by them again on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on December 11, 2012. The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks, giving them their first number 1 hit in the US. In January, 2013, Music Choice featured Macklemore in the brand new series "Primed", which focuses on emerging artists. In May 2013, Haggerty was featured on Clinton Sparks' single "Gold Rush", along with 2 Chainz and D.A.