Rolling Out

Macklemore tells white rappers to ‘know their place’

A photo posted by @macklemore on

After taking an extended hiatus from the hip hop scene, most likely due to his fiances pregnancy, Grammy Award winning rapper Macklemore resurfaced last week, for an extensive interview with Hot 97. During his dialogue, “The Heist” recording artist spoke candidly about being a white rapper at the top of his game, in a historically black genre.

Prompted by recent debates in the hip-hop community regarding Iggy Azalea, her popularity and her controversial statements on Twitter, Macklemore cautions white rappers “to know [their] place” in hip-hop culture.

“This, to me, is what it comes down to: You need to know your place in the culture. Are you taking or are you contributing? … You need to listen, you need to be humble. This is a whole debate, but this is not my culture to begin with. This is not a culture that white people started. I do believe that as much as I have honed my craft and put in years of dedication into the music that I love, I need to know my place.”

He touched on white privilege and how it afforded him certain opportunities that aren’t extended to the majority of black rappers.

“Why am I safe? Why can I cuss on a record, have a parental advisory sticker on the cover of my album, and yet parents are still like, ‘You’re the only rap album 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 gangbanger? Why am I on Ellen’s couch and Good Morning America? If I was black, what would my [past] drug addiction look like? It would be twisted into something else rather than people being like, ‘Get back on your feet!’ To me, the privilege that exists in the music industry is the same privilege that exists in America as a whole… It’s white privilege.”

“White people can turn off the TV when we’re sick of talking about race,” Macklemore said. “For other people that’s not the case.”

“White, liberal people want to be nice. We don’t want to be racist. We don’t wanna mess up. We want to be ‘Oh we’re post-racial. We have a black president. We don’t want to talk about white privilege and it’s all good, right?’ It’s not the case… We have to get past that awkward stage of the race conversation. As a white person, we have to listen.”

Though he declined to directly address Iggy Azalea, his comments are in stark contrast to her recent statements on similar issues. She called Azealia Banks a “bigot” earlier this month after Banks lamented the “cultural smudging” of black artists.

Late last month, Azalea called Azealia Banks a “bigot” to which Banks followed-up by lamenting over the “cultural smudging” of black artists.

What do you think of Macklemore’s response to these intense debates?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join our Newsletter

Sign up for Rolling Out news straight to your inbox.

Read more about:
Also read
Rolling Out