Student Life | The independent newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis since 1878

Macklemore for WUStock meets glowing reviews

courtesy of thecomeupshow | flickr creative commons

Macklemore performs during The Heist Tour in Toronto in November. He will be headlining WUStock in April.

Best known for threatening to steal your grandpa’s style, Seattle native Ben Haggerty aka rapper-singer-songwriter Macklemore garnered fame this summer for donning an oversized fur coat with only $20 in his pocket in music-video-gone-viral “Thrift Shop.”

He’ll have far more than $20 after headlining the Congress of the South 40’s annual WUStock concert, to be held on the South 40 Swamp on April 6.

The group chose Macklemore after having the student body vote on a narrowed selection of performers also including Tegan and Sara, Santigold and Dirty Projectors.

Of the 2,600 students who voted, 65 percent picked Macklemore as their first choice, said CS40 swamp committee chair, sophomore Yuwen Memon.

“A lot of students just ranked Macklemore as their first choice and then left all the other choices with the numbers that were automatically filled in,” Memon said. “We announced it at the CS40 assembly and then made a post on the official WUStock Facebook page, and it’s gotten an astounding number of likes very quickly. It seems like people are really excited.”

Originally known as Professor Macklemore, Haggerty recorded his first EP in 2000. Five years later, he dropped the Professor moniker and released his first full-length album under the name Macklemore, “The Language of My World.” Despite his early introduction to the music scene, Macklemore didn’t gain esteem until 2010 after returning from a brief musical hiatus due to substance abuse problems.

Collaborating with producer Ryan Lewis, Haggerty’s album “The Heist” reached number two on the US Billboard 200 in October. Categorized as hip-hop, Macklemore’s music is known for its criticism of homophobic lyrics permeating hip-hop music, which is specifically emphasized in his single “Same Love,” featuring fellow-Seattle local Mary Lambert.

Student response to the headliner who previously performed at Outside Lands, Lollapalooza and Sasquatch last year has been largely positive, following a trend of well-received WUStock headliners including Matt and Kim, and Gym Class Heroes.

“My floor was blasting Macklemore the night we found out. Everyone was jumping up and down, we were so excited,” freshman Cassie Wang said. “He’s one of my favorite artists and I’m really excited to see him. Everyone just really likes him, and I know all the words to his songs, so I’m really excited.”

But getting the chance to vote on performers did leave some students disappointed that their choices weren’t selected.

“I was really hoping Grouplove would be chosen. Rap just isn’t really my style, and we had a somewhat similar group for last year’s WUStock. Especially after W.I.L.D., it seems like the campus concerts are geared towards one type of music fans,” sophomore Sydney Kapp said.

Organizers said that they are taking additional steps this year to accommodate the high-profile performer.

“This year’s WUStock might be a bit of a challenge because we’re dealing with a bigger show because of the big-name headliner and also the increased freshman class size. It might be tricky to manage the food and space, but I think we’ll be able to prepare for that,” Memon said.

Sophomore Victoria Hulsing, director of services for CS40, noted that security might have to be increased from previous years as well.

“WUStock has never been open to the public, and we’re going to be keeping it that way, but we’re aware of the fact that the name might bring in outside public,” Hulsing said.

CS40 will spend the next several months building the event around the headliner, part of which involves recruiting students to open for Macklemore on the WUStock stage.

“Since it’s such a big name, I’m assuming a lot of people will want to help out to be able to put their name on something [associated with] the show,” Hulsing said.

Students interested in performing can email [email protected] for more information.

With reporting by Alana Hauser, Zach Kram, Divya Kumar and Sadie Smeck.

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Student Life | The independent newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis since 1878