Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Downtown” Lyrics Are About More Than Just Buying A Moped — LISTEN
Almost three years after the premiere of their Grammy Award–winning debut album, The Heist, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis returned on Thursday with "Downtown": an oddly charming tune that, on the surface, seems to be about purchasing a moped secondhand. Yes, a moped. However, if you dig a little deeper, I think there's more to it than that. To me, it looks as though Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' "Downtown" lyrics are actually about the duo's meteoric rise to the top.
For example, on the song's verses, Macklemore repeatedly reminds us that he doesn't need to be rich or a part of the "in crowd" in order to have success. In fact, he's easily cruising past famous hip-hop producers on his $800 scooter! "Killing the game, 'bout to catch a body/Passed the Harley, Dukie on the Ducati/Timbaland, Khaled, Scott Storch, Birdman/G-- damn man, everybody got Bugattis," he raps as he leaves them all in the dust. They never saw him coming
Similarly, nobody saw Macklemore and Lewis coming in 2013. Very few people even knew who they were! Then, seemingly out of nowhere, they landed two No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart: "Thrift Shop" and "Can't Hold Us." Suddenly, they were outselling some of the biggest acts in the industry. Oh, and they did it all as independent artists, too. That's pretty impressive.
Macklemore gets a little confrontational in the middle of "Downtown," possibly addressing those who don't believe he and Lewis deserve the accolades they've received thus far: "Dope/Cut the bulls---t/Get off my mullet/Stone washed, so raw/Moped like a bullet/You can't catch me," he taunts. "I got your girl on the back going tandem/'Cause I'm too damn quick, I'm too damn slick/Whole downtown yelling out, 'Who that is?'"
But, everything's cool again on the big, triumphant chorus — just as long as you recognize who supposedly "runs the streets," anyway. (Hint: It's Macklemore and Lewis!) Needless to say, the pair appear to be quite confident they'll be able to recreate the astonishing success of The Heist and its singles. It'll be very interesting to see how the general public reacts to "Downtown." Stay tuned.