If you go

Who: Macklemore x Ryan Lewis with Shad

When: 9 p.m. Saturday

Where: The Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St.

Cost: $15-$18


Colorado loves Macklemore's socially conscious rhymes.

The hip-hop artist recently sold out a show at the Colorado School of Mines, but fans demanded more. That's why Macklemore's headlining the Fox on Saturday.

Chalk it up to Macklemore's positive attitude and lots of hard work.

Macklemore's real name is Ben Haggerty and he started his hip-hop career in Seattle. The rhymester was introduced to rap at the tender age of seven, and founded his Elevated Elements group when he was 14 years old.

Rap's in Macklemore's blood.

"Hip-hop spoke to me as an art form and I was introduced to it when I was young," Haggerty said. "There was something about expressing myself in the written form and presenting to people what I really liked."

Haggerty loved to rap, but he had a life-changing experience when he was in college. The rhymester worked with the Gateways program and created rap-related activities for kids living in detention facilities.


"I would make beats and I facilitated writing workshops," Haggerty said. "I helped develop their writing and rapping voices. That definitely was one of the more rewarding things I've done in my life.

"It exposed me to a lot of different people's stories and the injustices in the system in America. It fueled my interest in the issues."

Haggerty's experiences fueled his raps, and they took on a heavier social and political edge.

"That experience definitely took things to another level," Haggerty said. "I was always interested in using music as means to search for the truth -- in myself and socially.

"Being in college and learning all these things at the same time collectively transformed into my first record."

Along the way, Haggerty decided to put a relatable spin on his raps while throwing in some humor.

"I believe an artist is responsible to get down to the root of what makes us genuine and relatable -- to be as open and honest as possible," Haggerty said. "It's all about being as vulnerable as possible and using that to connect with the audience."

Haggerty's definitely accomplishing that mission.

The rapper organically built up his career with a self-propelled, do-it-yourself passion.

"I started out performing at open mics and coffee shops," Haggerty said. "Over the last five years, I've been able to do this professionally. The first national tour went very well and we're keeping on moving it forward."

Haggerty tapped into the world of social media to develop his fanbase. Facebook and Twitter contributed to the rapper's popularity, but the artist credits word-of-mouth advertising as the best way to build a buzz.

"I think social networking definitely helped boost it," Haggerty said. "Facebook and Twitter have been huge, but not as big as word-of-mouth. We've also had some great press and bloggers.

"Fans have been an instrumental part of pushing my music. I'm making music that's resonating with people and it's still spreading."

Haggerty's in favor of the do-it-yourself school of music. The rapper and his crew are very proactive, as they handle all aspects of the business.

"We're very hands-on about everything we do," Haggerty said. "I have a great team. We do all graphics, do videos, we have own our studio and print the T-shirts ourselves.

"It's growing very fast. We'll do this until it gets too big."

Haggerty's a savvy business guy, but one of his best moves came when he added producer Ryan Lewis to the act.

"Ryan's been my photographer for years and we talked about doing a project together," Haggerty said. "Now we're business partners and great friends.

"He's an extremely talented music producer, and it's great to have another set of ears and eyes for creative input. We're both perfectionists and scrutinize things to a high level. We want art and we'll work hard to get there."

Haggerty says the duo will deliver an amazing show for Boulder fans.

"Boulder was one of the first places I toured outside Seattle," Haggerty said. "We usually sell the Fox out and we promise a show with incredible energy.

"I'm going to do some new stuff and stuff people haven't heard. We're going to have a great time - Boulder is definitely a town that likes to have fun."