Hats off to a sec­ond-hand sin­gle that’s far from shabby

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - REELNEWS ON THE RECORD -

RIGHT NOW, Mack­le­more and Ryan Lewis, the brace of rap­pers from Seat­tle, are sit­ting pretty at the top of var­i­ous charts world­wide with Thrift Shop.

We’ve heard plenty of hip-hop cuts with pop ap­peal in the past and Thrift Shop has all the nec­es­sary el­e­ments to fit squarely in that realm. Lyri­cally, it makes a change from lis­ten­ing to rap­pers go­ing through the boxfresh brand clothes in their wardrobes.

The temp­ta­tion here is to hype it as an overnight sen­sa­tion, but that’s to ig­nore the work Mack­le­more and Lewis have done over the past few years. They’ve toured like beasts – they played sold-out shows at Dublin’s Twisted Pep­per back in 2011, for ex­am­ple – and have built up a fer­vent fan­base.

Yet the se­cret of Thrift Store’s success has to do with ra­dio air­play and here’s where the story gets in­ter­est­ing. It’s the fifth sin­gle to be lifted from their 2012 al­bum The Heist. Yes, the fifth sin­gle – it took them this long to get around to their ca­reer gamechanger.

What made Thrift Store take off was the fact that ra­dio sta­tions de­cided to get be­hind it. Once a cou­ple of sta­tions started play­ing it, ev­ery ra­dio sta­tion jumped on board.

It’s worth not­ing that de­spite all the talk of how tour­ing and so­cial me­dia can help an act build and en­gage an au­di­ence, the real tip­ping point comes when main­stream ra­dio be­gins to play the hell out of the tune. It’s why acts and la­bels spend so much time and money plámás­ing ra­dio sta­tions to get be­hind their sin­gle. And it’s why bands al­ways cry foul when ra­dio sta­tions blank them.

Ra­dio still has that power and it will be some time be­fore that state of af­fairs changes.

Cut-price chic: Ryan Lewis , left, and Mack­le­more

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