Best Hip Hop Album (Unsigned/Independent) of 2012
On October 9, when Macklemore and Ryan Lewis released The Heist, it was a matter of hours before it hit #1 on iTunes. With that kind of grassroots support behind the Seattle emcee-producer duo, it should surprise absolutely no one that their collaborative debut won the reader vote for best indie rap album of the year. Featuring post-relapse confession Starting Over and anti-homophobia anthem Same Love as well as shabby-chic hit Thrift Store, the album highlighted the pair's talent for addressing topics few artists would touch while remaining unpretentious and (as evidenced by their passionate fanbase) profoundly relatable.
¡MAYDAY! - Take Me to Your Leader
It'd be a mistake to say that Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' breakthrough album The Heist came out of nowhere, the duo has been perfecting their unique style for years, but the world (including the duo) still seemed caught off guard by just how thoroughly The Heist conquered the world when it debuted at #1. Looks like there's room in the game for thrift store shopping and fearlessly honest and eclectic hip-hop - or at least there is now.