That Time Macklemore Stole “Thrift Shop” From A Queer New York Rapper

macklemore-leifIt wasn’t long after Macklemore & Ryan Lewis accepted the VMA for Best Video With A Social Message on Sunday night that New York rapper Le1f began airing his beef with the hip-hop duo on Twitter.

Much like the one-hit-wonder band that accused Cher of jacking their original ideas, Le1F claimed to be the real inspiration behind the hit “Thrift Shop” and took the singer to task over being a “straight white dude” riding the coattails of marriage equality.

But unlike that one-hit-wonder band, Le1F’s claims are actually legit.

The fiercely androgynous NY performer believes the beat carrying his 2012 hit “Wut” is strangely similar to the bassline that’s made Macklemore millions in “Thrift Shop.” Normally, this is the part where we’d roll our eyes, but homegirl do have a point:

Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop”:

…and Le1F’s “Wut”:

Sounds about right. And Le1f isn’t happy about it:


(Tweets have since been deleted, but screenshots live forever! Thanks, NewNowNext!)

What do you think?

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  • Rev_Jeff

    Le1F is kinda awesome.

  • wiccabasket

    He is, but the only thing that’s similar is the sample and the fact that they are both really rather good. And that’s all. I can see why he might be pissed, but Wut and Thrift Shop are not the same song.

  • wiccabasket

    It also seems as though he’s forgotten about the gay white woman involved in Same Love.

  • Scribe38

    Yeah the beats sound similar to me. Never hear of LE1F before but dudes rap flow is sick as hell. As far as Same Love we need str8 men and women to support marriage equality.

  • Rev_Jeff

    @Scribe38: Agreed! Can’t back his hating on Macklemore for Same Love, but I am not so sure about Thrift Shop. The beats and some hooks sound similar to me. I just don’t know… :-/

  • Brian

    Macklemore is straight? Lololol…

  • Red Meat

    I cared, back in 2012.

  • Merv

    Complaining about rap songs having similar rhythm and beat is like complaining about folk songs having similar chord progression. It’s what you put on top that counts, and that part isn’t remotely similar. Hell, even the rhythm and beat aren’t very similar considering they’re all using the same samples from Roland electronic drum kits.

  • yaoming

    Like that twerk. Did Le1f invent that, too?

  • SassyGrass

    @wiccabasket: Hahaha just like M&L forgot about her at the MTV awards, right? The song’s about gay people, so one would think he’d at least give HER (the one with the actual day to day struggle) some mic time…

  • José

    Yeah, sorry Le1F…the songs sound nothing alike.

  • José

    Play them at the same time! haha

  • boring

    @Merv: Madlib would like a word with you.

  • boring

    @Merv: Scratch that, Madlib’s too high to give a fuck about your ridiculous comment. Quasimodo however is going to beat you too all sorts of hell as soon as he gets off his mushroom high.

  • Alan down in Florida

    If he really believed that Macklemore and Ryan Lewis ripped him off for Thrift Shop there would have been a loud showy lawsuit a long time ago. There are thousands of lawyers who would give their left nut for a case like that.

  • Cagnazzo82

    @Alan down in Florida: Maybe he’s not the type interested in lawsuits.

    Also, I have my doubts Macklemore is straight.

  • ZacharyG

    Girlfriend don’t have much of a point. The songs are similar, but not the same. However, the level of similarity is no where close to the point of having it ripped off.

  • Andy

    HELL NO! This dumb ass has TWO notes in his ‘bass line’. Just because they are both synthesized saxophone sounds he thinks he’s being ripped off?!?! What a fucking moron! And why is he just now saying something about it when Thrift Shop was big over a year ago! Why didn’t he say something then? Because he has no case and he knows it! As for the attacks of Macklemore ‘riding the coattails of the gay movement’… I’ll take a straight ally who fights for us over a gay person who does nothing but attack our allies ANY DAY OF THE WEEK!!!

  • Nyruinz

    No Shade “Wut” sounds way better than “Thrift Shop”!

  • deacon

    the beats may sound similar however the Macklemore arrangement is different, Leif’s is a basic staccato a third grade music student can tell the difference besides what the hell is Leif saying anyway, can’t understand a word coming out of his mouth…..

  • BrandoPolo

    Thrift Shop is the best song of the year. Never heard that Wut mess before and don’t want to again.

  • Dev.C

    Le1F is entitled to his opinion and I don’t completely disagree. I don’t really get Macklemore because everything he does seems like a gimmick, from the way he speaks to how he dresses. With all that in mind him doing a song like Sam Love kinda rubs me the wrong way, gay rights seem like another gimmick to make him stand out from other rappers.
    Older gay men complain about lady gaga exploiting the gay community, but you can argue he did the same thing.
    He will probably win all kinds of grammy’s this year and people will think it’s an evolution in gay artist becoming visible in the music industry. What I find funny is that the only gay person performing was with the straight rapper at the VMA’s.

    I think it’s ridiculous that our community doesn’t better support artist Like Adam Lambert, Sam Sparro and even Mika who has made multiple gay themed songs even before coming out. It’s nice that Macklemore is a friend to the community but I’m not proclaiming him a gay icon.

  • balehead

    This story is a “smokecreen”…..The real story isMacklemore and Lewis have fiances???? I thought they were….

  • tricky ricky

    played his video. first thing I thought was single ladies. methinks he might want to sit down and shut up

  • Caliban

    @Dev.C: “Same Love” was released during the lead-up to the WA state vote on marriage equality with proceeds from the sale going to gay rights groups involved in that fight. Has Le1f done anything like that? Not to my knowledge. Say what you want about M&L but they did something other than just expecting the gay community to follow them without giving anything back.

  • jmmymack

    I don’t think anyone’s ripping anyone off. That sparse sax and bassline thing is totally a thing already. In fact, they both sound like this:


  • fredo777

    Yeah, when the beat kicks in at about 0:42, it does sound very similar.

  • fredo777

    Not to mention the first line of Macklemore’s verse “walk up to the club…” is very much like Le1f’s “came through in the clutch…”.

  • fredo777

    Nothing to do with the comparisons of the two songs, but Le1f’s line “I see a hater hating + I be like…goodbye, fam”. Haha that is so dope.

  • texxx73

    @Matthew Tharrett: What exactly do you have against The Ones?? (the “one-hit wonder” you mention twice.) Your snarky tone in the Cher article AND this one makes me wonder if perhaps Nashom, Jojo, &/or Paul once rejected your sexual advances or some other psychological trauma occurred whilst their music was playing. If this is indeed a “queer” site, as its name would imply, then how about showing a little support for queer artists/NYC nightlife legends?!?

  • Kangol

    Sooooo not feeling Macklemore. Le1f needs to get a lawyer (and lose those blond extensions), and let it rip.

  • Jayson

    In a rolling stone article Macklemore mentioned that the horns were “pirated”. @jmmymack…I thought the same exact thing the first time I heard Thrift Shop. Beastie Boys Brass Monkey.

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