Macklemore Says He Betrayed Kendrick Lamar’s Trust
Much like he and producer Ryan Lewis' 2012 album, The Heist, Macklemore's race and the discussion thereof has become inescapable. From regional underground artist to NPR curiosity to the Grammys, the Seattle populist has been picked up and dissected by most Americans concerned with popular culture. So in a period with such unrest—from the unpunished killings of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, and others, to the ongoing panic over Iggy Azalea's place in hip-hop—who better to turn to?
Macklemore sat down with Hot 97's Ebro and Peter Rosenberg to discuss all that and more, including his skin color's role in radio reaction and parental acceptance. In one of the year's most thoughtful, nuanced interviews, the "Thrift Shop" rapper explained that, while he curses on records and is simply following in a long line of rappers making socially-aware songs, he hears often from white parents who tell him he's "the only rapper [they] let [their] kids listen to." Euphemisms like "relatable" rattle around in comment sections, and Macklemore sees it—and is well aware.
He also discusses his worry about his role in the wake of Darren Wilson's non-indictment. Though he felt a strong impulse to join the movement, he worried about—in appearance or in reality—co-opting the movement for his own business. "It's important to listen," he said. "It's important to be humble." (Macklemore did ultimately lend his face and voice to protests, yet did not release music on the subject.)
Also on the table was the radio station's recent interview with Azealia Banks, the black rapper from New York who has been unspoken in her distaste for Macklemore and other white rap artists, chiefly Iggy Azalea, and the general attempt to "smudge out" black contributions to American culture. Macklemore declined to respond directly to her comments, but commended the power of the interview and agreed with her thesis.
Finally, Macklemore goes further in depth in the thought process behind his infamous Instagrammed text message to Kendrick Lamar after The Heist beat the Compton rapper's good kid, m.A.A.d. city for Best Rap Album at the 2014 Grammy Awards. In an interview with Hot 97′s Ebro In The Morning show, Kendrick Lamar said that he felt like it was “uncalled for” when Macklemore posted the text message conversation between the two, which Mack agreed with.
"I betrayed Kendrick's trust," Macklemore said "That's my homie...I betrayed his trust, that's wack." Watch the interview above.