It’s been sometime since we’ve heard from Macklemore. With tensions rising in the hot topic of race and cultural appropriation, Ebro and Peter Rosenberg thought it would be beneficial to hear what caucasian artist thinks about everything. The Heist rapper went down to “Ebro In The Morning” on Hot 97 to talk about his opinions on the recent social issues in the music business as well as the U.S.
During the hour-long interview, Macklemore addressed his hiatus after his Grammy win and said that he’s been in the studio recording and spending time relaxing. Once Ebro brought up the cases of Eric Garner, Mike Brown and Tamir Rice, Mack explained how he felt about everything from the social injustice plaguing our country to white privilege. He feels that because he’s white pop culture embraced his music. He “didn’t make pop music, pop music came to him.”
“This is something I’ve talked about, I’ve thought about, I’ve talked about it, these are some things that have come up,” Mack told Ebro. “Why am I safe? Why can I cuss on a record, have a parental advisory sticker on the cover of my album, yet parents are still like, ‘You’re the only Rap I let my kids listen to?’ Why can I wear a hoodie and not be labeled a thug? Why can I sag my pants and not be labeled a gang-banger? Why am I on Ellen’s couch? Why am I on Good Morning America? If I was Black, what would my drug addiction look like? It would be twisted into something else, versus maybe like, ‘Get back on your feet!’ To me the music industry, the privilege that exists in the music industry is just a greater symptom of the privilege that exists in America. There’s no difference, this is just a byproduct. This is just an offbrand of what’s happening in America. People see me, they resonate with me, America’s predominantly white. There’s relatability. It took a long time for me to get to a point where I was noticed at all. I was an underground rapper for over a decade. But once we got that viral video, once we build up enough momentum organically through word-of-mouth, through the underground, it hit…I got put in that hero box. It’s because of privilege. It all boils down to privilege. White privilege is what I’m talking about.”
Macklemore also spoke about participating in the protests in his hometown of Seattle and how he feels about the people of color who have lost their lives at the hands of select police officers. He said each case has saddened and angered him mostly because it keeps happening over and over again. But he feels that these issues have been brought to the world’s attention and he feels inspired by the people’s response.
“If there’s anything positive that has come out of their deaths,” said Mack, “I believe it has brought attention to the injustices that have been plaguing America since the jump: racial profiling, corrupt judicial system, police brutality. These are things that now have attention. Now people are talking about these things which is great. People are mobilizing, I’ve been inspired by the mobilization.”
The conversation shifted gears once again when Ebro, Rosenberg and Mack began discussing the infamous Azaelia Banks interview and Iggy Azalea’s Grammy nomination. The topic of Macklemore’s win of “Best Hip Hop Album” over Kendrick Lamar in 2013 obviously came up, but they focused more on Iggy’s response to all the slack she’s been getting on Twitter. While he didn’t aim any comments at Iggy directly, he did have this to say.
“You need to know your place in the culture. Are you contributing or are you taking? That’s subjective, but I think it’s clear who has contributed and clear who is taking. I’m not going to comment on Iggy in that regard. But I saw a tweet that was along the lines of “hip hop was birthed out of the civil rights movement. This is a culture that came from pain, that came from oppression, that came from white oppression. It was the byproduct of that. Now again we can say that we’ve evolved and that we’ve come a long way since the late ’70s early ’80s. But we haven’t. You can’t disregard that. Just because there’s been more white rappers, just because there’s been more successful white rappers, you cannot disregard where this culture came from and our place in it as white people.”
Watch the entire interview here courtesy of Hip Hop DX.