By Nnamdi Egwuonwu, E23 Reporter

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “The Unruly Mess I’ve Made” seems to be the rapper’s introspective analysis of himself. Macklemore uses the album to discuss various personal topics, ranging from his controversial 2014 Grammy win to his drug-ridden past, the result being a 13-track, borderline self-loathing, melodic album.

Before I provide an in-depth review, let me begin by saying that, in my opinion, Macklemore’s a good rapper. He’s creative, willing to address controversial issues and overall a great lyricist. He understands that he has to prove himself to the rap community, and he and Ryan Lewis exceeded expectations with their debut studio album “The Heist.”

Unfortunately, too often his skin color and mainstream success cause people to immediately dismiss him and place him in the Iggy category. But be aware! Macklemore is no Iggy nor is he a Riff Raff. On the same hand, he is not a Kendrick Lamar nor is he a J. Cole. Most importantly, he doesn’t claim to be on the same level of the latter two rappers. He is perfectly content with just being Macklemore, the white pop-rap artist who is willing to use his privilege for the betterment of marginalized communities. The minute people grasp this concept, a majority of songs on “The Unruly Mess” become easier to digest, and to a certain extent enjoy.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis produced a solid album, but the two performed at two different levels. Producer Ryan Lewis excelled, creating magnificent beats that surpassed that of the duo’s previous work. Songs such as “Need to Know,” and “Buckshot” feature fantastic melodies supported by authentic rhythms and catchy hooks. Lewis provides the base of the album, fulfilling his job and leaving the rest to the Seattle rapper, who occasionally shines but unfortunately also falls flat.

Macklemore performs well on tracks “Light Tunnels,” “Kevin” and “White Privilege 2.” On the album’s first track “Tunnels,” he recounts his Grammy award experience, detailing everything from his entrance into the venue, the superficiality of the event and the conflict-prone mentality of producers, finally landing on his controversial Grammy win. In the first of many self-loathing moments on the LP, Macklemore introduces the theme of the album- his need to explain his side of the “unruly mess [he has] made.”

“Kevin” is the rapper’s ode to his friend of the same name who overdosed on prescription painkillers. Maintaining his habit of addressing controversial topics, the rapper discusses America’s problematic over-prescription of pills, as opioids are now America’s most lethal drug. On the topic of controversy, the rapper address America’s racial issues as well as the commonality of cultural appropriation on the sequel to his 2005 track “White Privilege,” entitled “White Privilege 2.” Rather than explaining the song, I think that the lyrics do more than speaking for themselves, the hook being, “Blood in the streets, no justice, no peace. No racist beliefs, no rest ’til we’re free.”

Although the album has its fair share of great tracks, it seemingly falters on tracks “Downtown,” “Let’s Eat” and “Dance Off.” To be fair though, as discussed before, if you go in under the mentality that this is a pop-rap album, these tracks are not that bad. However, if you go in expecting great, meaningful lyrics and fantastic rap beats, you will be let down. The album’s lead single “Downtown” seems like the duo’s attempt to produce a song similar to “Uptown Funk.” However, they fail, and they fail hard. The song sounds like an eclectic compilation of trash supported by Eric Nally’s loud yelling in the background. “Let’s Eat,” a song literally about eating and the rapper’s inability to maintain a diet, has no true depth or meaning to it, and it either should have been subjected to bonus track status or removed in general. “Dance Off,” which features Idris Elba, actually is not that bad. It is catchy and has a great melody. However, on the rap-pop scale it falls heavily to the pop side, making it an unfitting addition.

Overall, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis produced a catchy, occasionally personal, solid album that has as many good tracks as bad. It may not live to the high bar set by “The Heist,” but it is a worthwhile attempt that deserves a listen.