Macklemore: “Ryan Lewis was six years old at that time. [Laughs.] He’s a bit younger than me. We met each other around ‘06, ‘07. He had a couple beats on MySpace that I had listen to. He had hit me up about a photoshoot or something. He was a photographer. But we connected on a couple songs, but for the most part, we were just friends and he was my photographer.
“I just watched him get better. He’s somebody that has a lot of the same characteristics as me in terms of his work ethic and his eye and his ear. How the attention to detail that he puts in his art. I haven’t met a lot of people like that just scrutinized everything like I did. And I just watched him get better. When I first met him up until he started working on music. Like, ‘This kid is getting crazy.’ He had great ideas. He was a song maker not just a beatmaker. He made songs. That’s what really inspired me to start working with him on that level.
He wasn’t somebody that had quantity. He was someone that had quality. I was like, ‘Wow, these are really intricate pieces of music.' That was what I was interested in.
“It just happened gradually. I can think of a couple beats. They wouldn’t mean anything unless you knew the beats. I just remember hearing the layers and the textures he was coming up with. That was a big thing that separated him from other people. I was always about drum sounds, textures and certain vibes. Ryan really [did] get that and we had a really similar aesthetic in terms of what was dope and what wasn’t in terms of texture. And he had a made a batch of new beats. Again, he wasn’t somebody that had quantity. He was someone that had quality. I was like, ‘Wow, these are really intricate pieces of music.' That was what I was interested in.
“Also, just the originality behind it. Ryan grew up listening to hella different types of music. He was like in a screamo band when he was a kid. I like only listened to hip-hop, so he had this other kind of world of inspiration to derive from. I could hear that with his production.”