D.L. Chandler

Macklemore Says Music Success Would Not Have Happened If He Were Black


As Seattle rapper Macklemore approaches platinum status with his independent album, The Heist with producer Ryan Lewis, so grows the list of critics unsure what to make of the rising star. In a revealing interview, however, the “Thrift Shop” artist says that his meteoric success would not have happened if he were black.

Talking with Rolling Stone and gracing the cover for its latest issue, Macklemore shares some of the same brutal honesty and awareness found on his current smash hits “Same Love” and “Can’t Hold Us.”

From Rolling Stone:

“If you’re going to be a white dude and do this sh-t, I think you have to take some level of accountability,” Haggerty says. “You have to acknowledge where the art came from, where it is today, how you’re benefiting from it. At the very least, just bringing up those points and acknowledging that, yes, I understand my privilege, I understand how it works for me in society, and how it works for me in 2013 with the success that The Heist has had.”

“We made a great album,” he continues, “but I do think we have benefited from being white and the media grabbing on to something. A song like ‘Thrift Shop’ was safe enough for the kids. It was like, ‘This is music that my mom likes and that I can like as a teenager,’ and even though I’m cussing my ass off in the song, the fact that I’m a white guy, parents feel safe. They let their six-year-olds listen to it. I mean it’s just…it’s different. And would that success have been the same if I would have been a black dude? I think the answer is no.”

With a reported 967,000 copies sold of his second studio album, released in the fall of 2012, another plaque is certainly in the works for the gold-selling duo. But it appears that fame came at a great risk for the 30-year-old MC born Ben Haggerty, who is also a recovering drug and alcohol addict.

Impacted by the success of “Thrift Shop,” the rapper feared being placed into a Pop-Rap box. However, the reception to the pro-gay song “Same Love” helped ease his fears of becoming a novelty act. “The legacy that I’m leaving on the world is more than just a song about second-hand clothes,” said Macklemore.

Hit the next page to see the Rolling Stone Cover

[Props to Gawker]

Photo: Masters Of Brain

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Comment Comments: 4 Tags Tags: macklemore, rolling stone, ryan lewis, seattle, the heist

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  • Ɗj 13røωn§ugα™

    I think it has nothing to do with his race, a lot of successful rappers are black

    • CoryMiller

      NEgro bed wench please go away

    • Mel

      He’s talking about him having a demographic (that earmarked his success) that is so “forthcoming” to him that wouldn’t be available to him if he were Black. That his generic, catchy song was “accelerated” because he ALSO had a demographic that “desperately” wanted to relate to him and pump his image.

      Similar to that demographic that was bleaching their hair when Eminem was bumping. Didn’t see them putting in cornrows, trying to relate to other artists.

      A lot of Black artists are successful, (and even have White supporters), but there ARE still large demographics that WON’T support them….all he’s saying.

  • ArtF

    How many of those successful black rappers are rapping about homophobia or serious issues, getting sensationalized as rookies? Few.