I am not a music aficionado.

I really wish I was, but honestly my music choice would be classified more along the lines of random than respectable at times.

My childhood consisted of listening to everything my parents would pop into the CD player and the horizons were broad. From Eminem to Kenny Chesney to Linkin Park and back to Usher, my music diversity as a child was off the charts.

However, there's a new face (sorta) on the American music scene and he is using his spotlight for a bigger cause than himself. That's why I'm writing about him.

Most folks have heard of Macklemore, the fun-loving, pale guy with the Jersey style haircut who began rocking the underground-Seattle music scene a few years back and has now burst into stardom.

"Thrift Shop" and now "Can't Hold Us" reverberate through airwaves across the nation and the once exclusively-local boy has grown into a national name.

But Macklemore, as I've discovered, is more than just another pop sensation with a goofy smile. He's an artist with a heavy heart that he puts into each track.

Let's take his song "Wings" from of his most recent album, "The Heist." While it seems like just a song about a poor kid growing up, there's breadth and depth to his music. The song tells the tale of a kid who couldn't afford popular shoes or clothes that other children had in school. He raps of the hurt, the pain, the mocking he received.

Macklemore captures gritty, tough and real emotion in the same way that Eminem, through "The Marshall Mathers LP," managed to give us insight into the life of Marshall and his daughter Hailie and the struggles and hardships they faced.

Macklemore doesn't shy away from his past, he embraces it.

We can chose how we respond to our past. It can be a stumbling block that manages to continually drag us down, or it can be used as a tactic for motivation. Macklemore has taken it a step further.

One of his tracks, "My Oh My," details his childhood while growing up in Seattle and listening to the Mariners games on the radio with his dad.

If you are a sports fan this will provide an instant nostalgia trip. It's not even corny in the "put me in, coach" baseball-type feel but instead it's heavy, a recollection of the times spent with his father and the memories that seem to linger.

Macklemore is everything that mainstream media is not. The media pushes the idea of hiding behind a bottle of Jack Daniels and a house party to mask over issues, thus perpetuating the culture of "drinking away" and "substituting" something to provide a temporary euphoric high before you are forced to deal with reality.

Instead of focusing on avoiding your problems, Macklemore faces them and becomes stronger through the battle. In "Same Love," probably the most controversial of Macklemore's tracks on "The Heist," the song confronts gay marriage.

But instead of a bigot-esque rant from the rapper, it was an eloquent and real microcosm of the pain he has felt with the issue and his own struggle with the idea of homosexuality.

I share differing views on the issue than Macklemore does, but I can respect the man for doing something others seemingly can't.

I can't claim myself as an avid Top 40 listener, but through Macklemore's music, I am reminded that the music industry is not in the tank. Eminem did it, Tupac did it and now Macklemore is doing it.

Rapping from the heart will always be a staple within the music realm.

It helps us to feel something, to identify with someone and to know that we're not alone. That's the power of music.
Somewhere, through listening to Macklemore's stylistic beats, a child is realizing he too can rap and find music as a solace in the midst of chaos at home.

That's all the assurance needed to know Macklemore's legacy is here to stay.

Gage Arnold is a senior in journalism and electronic media. He can be reached at garnold@utk.edu