Macklemore rose to fame in 2012 on the strength of his frugal anthem “Thrift Shop,” a catchy hip-hop tune with an anti-consumerist bent that managed to get serious radio play. After its release in August, it topped the Billboard Hot 100 in January, and still remains there today. Those who associate hip-hop with commercialism hailed the rapperas a radical new voice in the genre—while others pointed out that plenty of rap artists have challenged consumerism before, even if they didn’t have number-one singles.
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Success is rarely simple, and Macklemore’s anti-consumerist fans may want to watch his three-minute promo for the NBA’s All-Star week, featuring “Wing$,” the second single from the rapper’s debut album, The Heist. In its original form, “Wing$” is a critique of Nike and the obsessive sneaker culture that triggered $200 shoe prices. “I look inside the mirror and think Phil Knight tricked us all,” Macklemore declares, “Will I stand for change or stay in my box?” In the song, Macklemore describes his realization that expensive footwear didn’t make him cooler, as he once thought as a kid.