macklemore - cant hold us
Macklemore X Ryan Lewis
Can't Hold Us Feat. Ray Dalton

Macklemore is almost as well known for his cinematic visuals as he is for his witty lyricism. With each and every video that comes out, Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, and the rest of their team prove that they have unmatched artistic ambition, and “Can’t Hold Us” might just be their most ambitious effort to date. Being a successful independent artist means Mack is able to carry his epic vision out unhinged, without any interference from any labels. The Seattle rapper’s been determined from the very beginning to provide us with an unfiltered experience, which he declares with, “Labels out here/Nah they can’t tell me nothing/We give it to the people/Spread it across the country.”

Macklemore spreads his message even further in the video, which features him swooping across various locations, from icy tundras, to scorching deserts, to expansive fields and more, before finally hanging his flag over the Space Needle in his hometown of Seattle. It’s a truly stunning and inspring work of art, and it’s arguably the best video produced by Macklemore and his crew to date.  Once you’re finished watching the seven minute production, make sure to take a peek at a note from Ryan Lewis about all the moving pieces behind its creation.

Note from Ryan Lewis:

It seems like when a music video comes out, the title that receives all of the credit and travels with a film is that of the director. It’s as though the director is the “artist” or “creator” of the music video, when in reality a music video is first a written treatment, produced (putting together ingredients like actors and locations), shot and directed, cut on the editing board and finally color graded. The music might be fine tuned and scored specifically for that film. There are so many variables that are completely equal if not sometimes more complicated than directing, it’s a shame that so much credit comes down to whoever fulfills that position. A director wouldn’t have shit to direct without a producer. A producer would have nothing to produce without a writer, and so forth.

For our team, I think it’s even more complicated because roles tend to cross over. We simply don’t work within the conventional hierarchy of the film industry (director, producer, etc.) Sure, people have concrete pre-defined roles based on their expertise, but our team has the remarkable ability to wear multiple hats. Can’t Hold Us was a video that showcased this well.

After three months of shooting, finally getting to those last few frames where you reveal the credits, it’s a tense moment. There isn’t exactly a sensible way to do it, if we’re trying to fit people into classic film roles. It leads me to the point that although we do our best to give people titles, this was a video fully created by seven individuals at the forefront. Take any of those people out of the equation, you’d be watching a very different video. I write this in hopes that you don’t fall under the illusion that one person creates a music video, particularly at the Macklemore camp. We are constantly challenging and enhancing each another’s ideas and I take pride in believing that’s the reason we make great videos. – Ryan Lewis

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