It’s safe to say that regardless of whether or not you think Kendrick Lamar got robbed at the Grammys, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis accounted for a significant shift in the scope of issues dealt with in mainstream rap music. Into a culture dominated by the elegant hedonism of Kanye West and Jay-Z was infused a dose of reality–“fifty dollars for a t-shirt” (or, as famously offered by Yeezy, $120) is beyond the fiscal considerations of most Americans and shouldn’t be a standard to which ordinary folks are held. The challenges that The Heist issued to the industry’s status quo opened up lines of dialogue that had been confined to the independent outskirts for much of the past decade, particularly regarding the materialistic, misogynistic, and heteronormative culture that has dominated mainstream rap.
In this rapidly changing paradigm, any social issue can be captured and crystallized into a song with the potential to move millions of affected listeners and inspire the unaffected to take corrective action. With his new single “Bully Me,” Nashville hip-hop artist Shadower attempts to take the serious issue of childhood and adolescent bullying and preach empathy as the cure.