“Thrift Shop” Lyrics Meaning [Explained]

In 2012, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis released “Thrift Shop” as the fourth single from their debut album, The Heist. Despite being a sleeper hit, the song has since sold over 6 million copies in the US alone.

“Thrift Shop” praises thrift stores and saving money, while criticizing the materialism often found in the rap industry. The lyrics are packed with humor and clever references, but they also deliver a powerful message about consumerism, individuality, and sustainability.

Let’s dive deeper into the meaning behind these lyrics!

Lyrics Interpretation

Before we delve into the story behind this song, let’s take a closer look at each verse of the lyrics.

Verse 1

I’m gonna pop some tags

Only got twenty dollars in my pocket

I – I – I’m hunting, looking for a come-up

This is fucking awesome

In the opening verse, Macklemore sets the stage for the thrift shopping adventure. He describes his limited budget and the excitement of searching for unique items in a thrift store. This verse highlights the thrill of finding treasures among the second-hand merchandise.


Nah, walk into the club like, “What up? I got a big cock!”

I’m so pumped about some shit from the thrift shop

Ice on the fringe, it’s so damn frosty

The people like, “Damn! That’s a cold ass honkey.”

The pre-chorus emphasizes the confidence and swagger that comes from wearing thrifted items. Macklemore challenges the conventional belief that designer clothes make someone cool, arguing that his thrifted outfit is just as impressive.


I’m gonna pop some tags

Only got twenty dollars in my pocket

I – I – I’m hunting, looking for a come-up

This is fucking awesome

The chorus reiterates the enthusiasm for thrift shopping and the potential for finding unique, affordable items.

Verse 2

What you know about rockin’ a wolf on your noggin?

What you knowin’ about wearin’ a fur fox skin?

I’m digging, I’m digging, I’m searching right through that luggage

One man’s trash, that’s another man’s come-up

This verse discusses the idea of repurposing discarded items and turning them into something fashionable and valuable. Macklemore celebrates the concept of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” which resonates with the sustainable fashion movement.


They be like, “Oh, that Gucci. That’s hella tight.”

I’m like, “Yo, that’s fifty dollars for a T-shirt.”

Limited edition, let’s do some simple addition

Fifty dollars for a T-shirt – that’s just some ignorant bitch. Shit

I call that getting swindled and pimped. Shit

I call that getting tricked by a business

In the bridge, Macklemore critiques consumerism and the fashion industry’s manipulation of consumers. He argues that spending excessive amounts of money on designer clothing is foolish and that individuals should prioritize their values over branding.


I wear your granddad’s clothes

I look incredible

I’m in this big-ass coat

From that thrift shop down the road

The outro serves as a final declaration of pride in wearing second-hand clothing. Macklemore reiterates the idea that looking fashionable and feeling confident doesn’t require expensive designer clothes. Instead, one can find unique and stylish items at thrift shops.

True Meaning Behind “Thrift Shop”

Macklemore told MTV News that “Thrift Shop” is a reflection of a different way of life, setting itself apart from the usual themes in rap music. Instead of boasting about wealth and expensive purchases, the song advocates for saving money and looking stylish on a budget. This message is a polar opposite to the mainstream rap narrative, making the song a standout track in the hip-hop genre.

In “Thrift Shop,” Macklemore shares his excitement for finding unique items at affordable prices. The song’s lyrics mention buying a fur stole for just 99 cents, exemplifying the thrill of discovering bargains. This celebration of affordable fashion resonates with listeners who are tired of the excessive spending often glorified in music and popular culture.

By focusing on saving money and promoting affordable fashion, “Thrift Shop” offers a unique perspective that has not only made the song popular but has also sparked conversations about consumerism and sustainability in the fashion industry.

“Thrift Shop” is written in the key of G♯ minor and has a tempo of 95 beats per minute. The song’s signature sound is created by the looping saxophone melody, contributing to its catchy and memorable nature.

Music Video

Co-directed by Jon Jon Augustavo, Macklemore, and Ryan Lewis themselves, the music video of Thrift Shop was released on Lewis’ YouTube channel back in August 2012.

The video was shot in various thrift shops located in Seattle, including the Goodwill Outlet, Value Village in Capitol Hill, Red Light Vintage, and Fremont Vintage Mall. Additionally, they also filmed at some other popular Seattle locations such as the Unicorn/Narwhal Arcade Bar and the Northwest African American Museum.

Macklemore even tried to convince Seattle rapper Sir Mix-a-Lot to appear in the video, but unfortunately, he did not return the calls. However, some local musicians like Thomas Grey of Champagne Champagne did make an appearance in the video, and a DeLorean was shown as well.


Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “Thrift Shop” is more than just a catchy song—it’s a powerful statement against consumerism and the excessive spending often glorified in hip-hop music.

By celebrating the art of thrift shopping and affordable fashion, the song encourages listeners to save money and find their unique style without breaking the bank.

“Thrift Shop” has not only made an impact on the music industry with its refreshing message but has also sparked important discussions about sustainability and responsible consumption in our modern society.

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