It's pretty safe to assume that when people predicted Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' much anticipated new single, they weren't thinking about mopeds.
But when the duo dropped their brand-new track, "Downtown," that's exactly what fans got, and it totally works, even if Mack had no intention of creating a song about a "canopy on two wheels."
"Ryan [Lewis] made a beat on the road called 'moping around,' I got the beat, I thought it said moped," Macklemore recently told us. "Coincidentally we had both purchased mopeds for being on the road so we could go around, leave the venues that we were performing at, and I wrote a song about mopeds, which now a year and a half later is out in the world."
But it's so much more than a song about mopeds. It's, as Ryan calls it, "songs within a song," as it mixes old-school hip-hop influences, with the help of Grandmaster Caz, Melle Mel and Kool Moe Dee, with a '70s rock vibe courtesy of Eric Nally who sings the extremely catchy hook. With so much production value in the song, it's no surprise that Ryan faced some challenges along the way.
"I would say for the first portion of this year I was hitting the point as a producer where I was like 'I don't really think this is going to be able to work,' so a huge portion of that time was making all these songs within a song and getting those to feel what you want to feel," Ryan said.
"And what took forever was how do we sew this together in an intentional way and in a fluid way and not have the rock side invade on what the verses are supposed to be, and the hip-hop side invade on what that rock chorus is supposed to be."
Yet, once completed, there was no denying that the two had something special once again with "Downtown," which they performed at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards and is the first official single off their upcoming album.
"I hit the end, and I said 'this feels done,'" Ryan said of the song. "I was more like I don't think I can do better than this. It was a weird record to make, but we really wanted to do it for whatever reason."