The song, “Thrift Shop,” which currently has nearly 250 million views on Youtube and has gone double platinum, is not by Macklemore; it’s by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. The fact that both the rapper, whose real name is Ben Haggerty, shares attribution on everything with his producer is a testament to their mutual belief in collaboration. That belief is on full display in the duo’s latest video, and especially its credits.
“Can’t Hold Us” is the result of over three months of shooting, and that effort comes across on-screen. The epic video goes through so many concepts and locations over the course of seven minutes that it feels like it should come equipped with a table of contents or a DVD chapter menu. In between carrying a flag (with album title The Heist written on it) through an arctic forest and planting it atop the Space Needle in his home base, Seattle, the rapper also lounges on a living room set being towed down the street by a truck and performs in a number of venues, including a pirate ship.
According to Lewis, though, creating this vision was a feat shared by many. In addition to himself and Haggerty, the director also mentions five other people who he claims deserve equal credit.
“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, shot, and directed, cut on the editing board and finally color graded,” Lewis writes in the credits on Youtube. “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.”
In other words, it takes a village to raise a Macklemore flag on top of the Space Needle.