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It all adds up to stardom

Fri., Oct. 18, 2013

Ryan Lewis, left, and Macklemore will hit the Spokane Arena on Wednesday for the second stop on their tour. (Associated Press)
Ryan Lewis, left, and Macklemore will hit the Spokane Arena on Wednesday for the second stop on their tour. (Associated Press)

Macklemore, Ryan Lewis have hit it big in a big way

“Ten Thousand Hours.”

That’s the name of the first track on “The Heist,” the debut full-length album from Seattle hip-hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, released Oct. 11, 2012.

The idea behind the song, cribbed from Malcolm Gladwell’s 2008 book “Outliers,” is that it takes a lot of work – 10,000 hours worth – to become really good at something.

Rapper Macklemore, aka Ben Haggerty, and producer/DJ Lewis, who spent most of his childhood in Spokane before moving to Seattle midway through his sophomore year at Ferris High School, have been doing the work. Incessant touring, from college campuses in places like Cheney to huge festivals in Europe. Appearances on the late-night TV shows and MTV specials. All for an album they self-released with only marketing assistance from Warner Bros.

The work, those 10,000 hours, has paid off.

The duo is kicking off a U.S. arena tour Tuesday with a show at the Rose Garden in Portland. The tour stops Wednesday at the Spokane Arena before heading east; Missoula, Boise, New Orleans, New York City and 19 other cities before Macklemore & Ryan Lewis turn west for three dates in California, ending with three nights at Key Arena in Seattle in December.

“Ten Thousand Hours.”

Let’s get numerical here, and take a look at Macklemore & Ryan Lewis by the numbers.

78,000: That’s the number of copies of “The Heist” sold the first week of release, 83 percent of them downloads. As Macklemore put it in a blog post at, as he watched the numbers, “I honestly thought iTunes was broken.” They’d hoped to sell between 20,000 and 30,000 copies that first week.

2.5: That’s the number of stars Rolling Stone awarded “The Heist” (out of five). While praising the charms of “Thrift Shop” and the virtues of “Same Love,” critic Jody Rosen ultimately said Macklemore’s self-righteousness “tests, and eventually exhausts, your patience. A pity, because his partner’s beats are playful and inventive.”

1.1 million: That’s copies sold to date. Maybe no one reads Rolling Stone anymore. “The Heist” was certified platinum on Aug. 28.

39: Current position of “The Heist” on the Billboard 200 chart of the best-selling albums, up from 49 last week.

52: That’s the number of weeks (and counting) “The Heist” has spent on the Billboard 200.

5,527,624: The number of times “White Walls,” the fourth video from “The Heist,” has been viewed on YouTube between the day it dropped, Sept. 9, and Wednesday morning.

670,803,468: The number of times, combined, that the four “Heist” videos – “Thrift Shop,” “Can’t Hold Us,” “Same Love” and “White Walls” have been viewed since “Thrift Shop” was released Aug. 29, 2012, as of Wednesday morning. That monster video, by the way, has been viewed 437,632,797 times.

0: Go to, the influential music website, and do a search for Macklemore. The number of entries that come up? Zero. Taking aim at the site in the first three lines of “Ten Thousand Hours” probably didn’t win Macklemore any friends there.

2: Where “The Heist” debuted – and peaked – on the Billboard 200 on Oct. 17, 2012, right behind Mumford & Sons’ “Babel.”

1: Where the singles “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us” peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making Macklemore & Ryan Lewis the first duo ever to hit No. 1 with their first two singles. Also, No. 1 is where “The Heist” peaked on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

5: “Thrift Shop” was the fifth single released from “The Heist,” but it was the first to break nationally. “Same Love” was released in the summer of 2012, in support of Washington’s marriage equality campaign. The first single, the Dave Niehaus tribute “My Oh My,” came out Dec. 21, 2010, followed a month later by “Wings.” “Can’t Hold Us” was released in August 2011.

1 1: Where “Same Love” peaked on the Hot 100 chart, and where “The Heist” is this week on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

30, 25: Ages of Haggerty and Lewis, respectively.

35, and counting: Number of music industry award nominations this year, so far, ranging from the Teen Choice Awards (five nominations, two wins) to the Billboard Music Awards (three nominations, one win). They tied Justin Timberlake for the most nominations in the MTV Video Music Awards, with six. The boys from Seattle came home with three Moonmen, for Best Hip-Hop Video (“Can’t Hold Us”), Best Cinematography (“Can’t Hold Us”) and Best Video with a Message (“Same Love”). They recently got six nominations for the American Music Awards – the most of any artist this year – including Artist of the Year, Single of the Year and Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album. The winners will be announced Nov. 24. Nominations for the Grammy Awards, meanwhile, will be announced on Dec. 6, with a concert featuring a performance from (you guessed it) Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. That show will be broadcast on CBS television.

13 million: Total number of copies, roughly, sold of “Thrift Shop” (7 million), “Can’t Hold Us” (4 million) and “Same Love” (2 million).

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