Ben Haggerty is a rapper from Seattle, Washington, who records under the name of Macklemore. After releasing his debut solo album, The Language of My World, in 2005, Macklemore was forced to take a break in order to battle his addiction to drugs and alcohol. After cleaning himself up in 2008, Macklemore teamed up with producer Ryan Lewis to become a collaborative and creative unit, having originally met through MySpace. Without a publishing or record deal, the pair spent several years recording their first album together, The Heist. Independently produced and recorded by the duo, the record debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 after being released on October 9, 2012.
This song was used to soundtrack an international Miller Genuine Draft advertising campaign during the summer of 2012. Its use helped increase Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' recognition in Europe.
Although originally released before "Thrift Shop
," the song served as the follow up single to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' #1 hit. Its sales were boosted by a performance of the song on Saturday Night Live
The song's music video finds the duo and guest singer Ray Dalton traveling the globe with their live band. The clip was created entirely by Macklemore and Lewis with their friends. The filming took place for three months, in over six continents and sixteen different shoots, ranging from New Zealand landscapes to the Space Needle in the duo's native Seattle. Lewis noted that his collaborators, "simply don't work within the conventional hierarchy of the film industry (director, producer, etc.) Sure, people have concrete pre-defined roles based on their expertise, but our team has the remarkable ability to wear multiple hats. 'Can't Hold Us' was a video that showcased this well."
Ray Dalton's chorus was actually the last part of the song to be crafted. "What happened was we were looking for a hook and it had no hook. There was just space; there weren't even words," Dalton explained to MTV News. "So when Ryan was testing my levels, I started humming them a melody, and that melody is what is now today the 'Can't Hold Us' song. [Then] Ben was like, 'Say this.' And I was reading the words to the melody that I made, and that's just how it happened."
At the time of Dalton's interview with MTV News, most internet sites listed the beginning of the chorus as "Here we go back. This is the moment," Dalton pointed out that he is actually singing "Can we go back..."
When this climbed to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 to become Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' second #1 following "Thrift Shop
," the pair became the first ever duo to take its first two singles to the chart's peak position.
This was the most-streamed song globally in 2013 on the music subscription site Spotify. "Thrift Shop
" was also placed at #3 for the year, whilst The Heist
was the most-streamed album on the service.