Holding the record for the 25th most viewed YouTube video ever, it’s safe to say that Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ fourth single is one of 2013’s most successful singles. Thrift Shop was written as a parody of the materialistic character of today’s hip-hop lyrics, as Macklemore explained to MTV: “Rappers talk about, ‘Oh, I buy this and I buy that,’ and ‘I spend this much money and I make it rain,’ … [but] this is the kind of record that’s the exact opposite. It’s kind of standing for, like, ‘let’s save some money, let’s keep some money away, let’s spend as little as possible and look as fresh as possible at the same time.”
Digital Spy further explained that Thrift Shop’s purpose is “poking fun at the expanding number of people with a discount-fancy-dress-chic approach to fashion”, while Common Sense called it funny and noted that it “captures the hipster zeitgeist perfectly”. The former also praised the musical side of the song, signaling out the “sax hook that quickly lodges itself in the brain.” All of the song’s production was done by Ryan Lewis. American hip-hop artist Wanz provides the chorus vocals, which was mentioned by NJ for its good-natured sing-along character.
An article by The BG News documented the effects of the song on real-life thrift shops and second-hand stores. It turns out that Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ hit helped increase the sales and popularity of these shops, especially among college students.