Today In Hip-Hop: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Release ‘The Heist’ One Year Ago

On this day, October 9, in hip-hop history…

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2012: Few would have guessed when The Heist sold a relatively modest 78,000 copies in the album’s first week of release that Macklemore and Ryan Lewis would have the surprise independent smash album of the year. That is exactly what happened when the duo independently released their debut album on their own label on October 9, 2012. One year, over half a billion views on YouTube and a couple platinum plaques later,  Seattle rapper Macklemore is one of the biggest stars in hip-hop.

Debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart, The Heist unexpectedly produced some of the highest charting singles in hip-hop history. The duo’s breakthrough single, “Thrift Shop” spent six non-consecutive weeks at the top of the pop charts on its way to selling seven million records. Meanwhile, follow-up singles “Can’t Hold Us” and “Same Love” were chart-toppers themselves, landing at No. 1 and No. 11 respectively on the Billboard 100 chart. The album would eventually sell over 1,000,000 copies and be certified platinum by the RIAA.

The album is also notable for its commentary on difficult social issues in the country. The album’s fourth single, “Same Love,” would tackle the issue of marriage equality for gay citizens in the United States, making Macklemore and Lewis, one of hip-hop’s most prominent supporters of gay rights. The duo would perform the song at various media outlets including The Ellen Show and at MTV’s Video Music Awards in 2013.