Macklemore on Iggy fallout: ‘As a white rapper, I need to know my place’


Macklemore went on drama-free hiatus after winning big at the Grammys last year. He and Ryan Lewis dropped a few performances, but Mack took the first real vacation of his life. He needed time off to regroup after achieving mainstream success, which followed a decade of struggling as an underground rap act. He’s not really promoting anything right now. Macklemore felt compelled to do an interview with Hot 97, which has been a go-to place for the current hip-hop culture discussion (after Azealia Banks’ recent talk).

The impetus for Mack’s visit is the Iggy Azalea problem. We’ve already talked about how Iggy’s been repeatedly accused of cultural appropriation. She’s also up for a Grammy, which places her into a similar position as Macklemore was last year. (Macklemore feels like he “caught heat” too.) Mack won Best Rap Album and later apologized to Kendrick Lamar. Mack tells Hot 97 he still believes Lamar had a better album, but he regrets his delivery and choice of words. He spoke for over an hour, and here are some excerpts:

On racial injustice: “For me, as a white dude, as a white rapper, how do I participate in this conversation? How do I get involved on a level where I’m not co-opting the movement, or I’m not making it about ME, and also realizing the platform and the reach that I have? Doing it in a genuine, authentic way. Because racism is uncomfortable to talk about. And white paople, we can just turn off the tv when we’re sick of talking about racism. It does not work that way for everybody.”

We don’t live in a post-racial society: “I was talking to somebody the other day, and they said to me, ‘Silence is an action.’ And it is my privilege that I can be silent about this issue. And I’m tired of being silent. I’ve been silent for a long time about it. Because I didn’t want to mess up. Didn’t want to say the wrong thing. Didn’t want to offend anybody. But it is so imperative right now that we have this raised conversationin America. If we’re going to progress, if we’re going to move past it, if we’re going to truly work together, we’re going to have to get past that awkward stage of race conversation. Step up and just have it. And I don’t know where that starts, other than just speaking about it. As a white person, we have to listen. We need to direct the attention to people of color who are on the round mobilizing, and listen to those people, and take some direction.”

On race as a factor in his success: “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.’ … If I was black, what would my drug addiction look like? It would be twisted into something else versus maybe, ‘Get back on your feet!’ The privilege that exists in the music industry is just a greater symptom of the privilege that exists in America. There’s no difference … I got put in that ‘hero’ box and I think that when that happens, it’s because of white privilege.”

On white appropriation of hip hop: “You need to know your place in the culture. Are you contributing or are you taking? Are you using it for your own advantage or are you contributing? I saw a tweet that said, ‘Hip hop was birthed out of the civil rights movement.’ This is a culture that came from pain and oppression. It was the byproduct [of white oppression]. We can say we’ve come a long way since the late Seventies and early Eighties, but we haven’t. 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. This is not my culture to begin with. As much as I have honed my craft … I do believe that I need to know my place.”

On Kendrick Lamar & the Grammys: “We’ve texted [since the event]. I made a mistake and a lot of fear was going into that moment. I wanted to win some Grammys … I think we made a great album. I think it had great impact … I wanted to win Song of the Year. I wanted to win Best New Artist. I wanted to win some rap categories. But I thought Kendrick had a better album … The mistake came from Instagramming the text message and betraying my homie’s trust. That’s wack … The language that I used was a bad call. ‘Robbed’ was a bad choice of word. White people have been robbing black people for a long time. Of culture. Of music. Of freedom. Of their lives. That was a mistake. Looking back at it, I learned about the voting process of the Grammys. Random people that aren’t necessarily part of the culture whatsoever joining in on the ballot that comes back down to this whole issue of privilege because they’re familiar with whoever is the biggest artist. That’s who they check the box [for]. And in 2013, we had the biggest record.”

[From Hot 97 on YouTube]

Macklemore talks a lot here, but he also hangs back and lets the hosts voice their opinions (and they do). As Mack says, he doesn’t want to offend anyone. I don’t think he’s being too PC here — this IS a sensitive subject. Mack agrees that it’s troublesome how young kids are growing up with himself and Iggy as primary examples of hip-hop music. Mack was influenced by true trailblazers, and he’s very aware of “culural smudging” that Azealia Banks keeps pointing out. Mack doesn’t know a solution to the issue, but he at least acknowledges, “I need to know my place.” That’s a far cry from Iggy’s dismissive take on the subject.

Here’s the video clip of Macklemore’s Hot 97 interview. It’s a long one!



Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet & WENN

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89 Responses to “Macklemore on Iggy fallout: ‘As a white rapper, I need to know my place’”

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  1. Joy says:

    I think if Iggy just rapped in her natural dialect, a lot of this would not even be an issue. But the fact that she raps like a black girl with a strong Southern dialect is unsettling. When her songs come on in the car, I change the station. She just makes me cringe.

    • Kitten says:

      She’s not even rapping though, is she?

      I don’t know…the few Iggy songs I’ve heard–that is some basic BASIC “rapping”.

      • Bridget says:

        She’s terrible. If it weren’t for the super catchy hooks sung by other people no one would listen to her songs a second time.

      • Q says:

        Sway: Iggy drop us some freestyle!

        Iggy: …

        Iggy: moose, goose, juicy juice, one plus four is five, going live, greens, greens, eating beans… b*tch

      • Mark says:

        You heard of Cheif Keef or YG?

      • littlestar says:

        She sounds sooooooo SLOW. You are right, she does not sound like she is rapping at all! I can’t handle her music, I change the station when she comes on too!

      • Amy says:

        You know she’d find a way to spell the letters of her name in that rap somewhere.

        Sway: Iggy, drop us a freestyle.

        Iggy: So fly-ey-ey-ey, to the sky-ey-ey-ey, yes I-G-G-Y from the bottom to the top of my head – and shoulders – knees and toes! Knees and toes!”

    • SK says:

      Not defending her here because I think you should rap in your own accent about your own experiences. However, I would just like to point out that no Australian rapper rapping in their own accent has had major success in the US. She would never have gotten to where she is today rapping in her own accent. That said, as an Australian, I love Aussie rap.

  2. Kitten says:

    Not a fan of his music, but I respect what he says here.
    Iggy could learn a thing or two.

    • Mark says:

      He spoke out against homophobia in hip hop why does he need to hold know his place? So if there is a black person who performs country music they need to know their place? What about an indian guy rapping? It’s alright if you not black and you rap as long as you don’t call out the ignorance in the music.

      At least somebody in rap is talking some sense. Some of the conscious rapper like Common and A tribe called quest they act righteous and call how enlightened hip hop is but they bring about ignorant songs about interracial dating and homosexuals. So if kids grow up listening to that how is that not troublesome. 95 percent of rap music is just sexism, homophobia and bigotry but god forbid a white rapper gets popular. Obviously aswell we want our kids looking up to great role models like Dr Dre. 50 Cent or Jay-z they’re not violent at all and they respectful of everyone no matter what your gender or sexuality is.

      • Kitten says:

        Black people don’t need to know their “place” in country because they were there at country music’s inception and had a hand in the creation of country music, like most forms of music.
        Just because nobody wants to talk about that sh*t doesn’t mean it ain’t true.

        And Common said a long time ago that he would stop writing homophobic lyrics. He listened and he LEARNED, much like Macklemore did here.

        Dre is just vile as hell and I have no idea why he always gets a free pass.

        As far as “95% of rap” being homophobic/misogynistic. Um, maybe mainstream rap?
        Maybe you’re not listening to the right stuff if that’s your perception, because there is PLENTY of positive hip hop being made–you just won’t hear that sh*t on the radio.

      • Trillion says:

        You def have some points there. Interesting.

      • tifzlan says:

        Just as many pop, rock and roll, country music are misogynistic as well. Why do people always harp on about sexist hip hop and rap lyrics but give others a pass.

      • Amy says:

        Lol, how long you been holding that in Mark?

      • Tristan says:

        The other day they had the hip hop top 20 on tv at the gym & I was appalled at what I had the misfortune to see. Every single video featured nothing but females in various stages of nakedness jiggling about & males sprouting the most offensive misogenistic, materialistic & homophobic drivel. not a single track had anything to do with racism or the civil rights movement. any self respecting civil rights activist must hang his or her head in shame to ge co-opted into most of this drivel. I am sure the great Martin Luther King must be rolling in his grave when he hears these silly arguements.

        Female rappers are just as exploitative as the male ones. A good case in point is Nicki Minaj, whose product alternates between infantile (eg Starships, Pound The Alarm) & blatantly sexual (eg Anaconda). Iggy Azalea is equally puerile, silly & boring, but she has every right to be, seeing there are people out there who are willing to spend good money on her product.

        Of all the utterly absurd forms of PC, cultural appropriation has to be the absolute worst. ALL creatives & all cultures borrow & influence one another. All the great designers, such as YSL, JP Gautier, Valentino, Lagerfeld, Galliano, have entire collections inspired by different cultures. Same with musicians. The world would be static & boring if creative people dont fuse different ideas together, to creat new trends. Saying a white person shouldn’t rap, is as stupid as saying great singers such as Jessye Norman & Leontyne Price have no right to sing opera.

      • Q says:

        Actually black Americans created most forms of popular music known today so bye!

      • Duckie says:

        @Tristan So many other genres have misogynistics elements but we constantly have to talk about hip hop as the only one…
        And cultural appropriation is not PC, yes we can be influenced by other cultures but appropriating is a totally different issue. Look at rock’n’ roll, invented by Black legends like Chuck Berry and Little Richard and then exploited by Elvis. Who do you think gets recognition for the invention of the genre?

      • Kitten says:

        @ Duckie-you’re wasting your time with this person. There’s always at least one on every thread.
        On another note, Chuck Berry was my very first concert.
        I was 7 years old and he was AMAZING.

      • Tristan says:

        Elvis Presley was very upfront about the debt he owed to his black predessesors & he was the first to admit that he was a white man singing black music. He was also able to bring to national & international attention what had been a niche market, up to that point. I think one would have to be living on an alien planet not to realise that much popular contemporary music has its roots in music of black origin, much as most musical theatre is dominated by Jewish writers & composers. As a performer, especially if have a modicum of intelligence, you should always be aware, appreciative & respectful of your influences. However, it is a travesty if you are racially limited to what musical genre you can & can’t perform, as an entertainer. In a free & capitalistic market, such as the USA & EU, it is the consumer who decides who & what product to buy. Iggy Azalea, tedious, puerile & pointless though she may be, has every right to sell her silly product seeing there are punters out there prepared to part with their money for her work.

      • K says:

        +10000 @kitten.

      • Mark says:

        I can’t find a reply to kitten, so here:

        So you’re saying country had a large black origin? Nope you’re just wrong. So anytime somebody black joins starts involving themselves in some sort of ‘white artform’ they have to pay homage and not succeed just because.

        Yes most rap his homophobic and sexist not the music on the radio, if you deny that you’re just being ignorant. There are musicians like public enemy, atcq, common, mos def and brand nubian and they call righteous but you will see if you actually listen to music how bigoted and ignorant they are but people never call them and the people that do get called ignorant.

        What so Common and Q-tip get a pass for being insanely ignorant because they said sorry? Oh alright then it’s not like they went out and made amends to all of the interracial couples, gay people and women who they went after. I honestly doubt if somebody like Dave Grohl or Alex Turner came out with some homophobic ,sexist or racist music then apologized you’d be so forgiving.

        So you can get off your high horse with sexism and homophobic if you’re going to deny the ignorance of black music.

        White people rhyme words and have to apologize. alright

        ‘Actually black Americans created most forms of popular music known today so bye! ‘ Oh you zinged me there….yes i’m definitely wrong with that valid point.

      • Jenna says:

        I respectfully disagree that 50 and Dre are roll models lol. Dre is … disgusting. Incredible artist, but disgusting.

        As business men, yes, respect, but not role models for ANY child.

    • denisemich says:

      I think we are talking apples and oranges. We are talking about an American White Rapper and an Australian Rapper. One person grew up interacting with Black Americans. The other grew up seeing the personification of Black Americans only on TV.

      I think Iggy thinks she can just become a part of that culture. I don’t think she understand the history of America and that interaction with music.

      Please remember this is a girl who left home at 15. I doubt she even attended high school.

      • tifzlan says:

        She also came to the US and lived her for a few years by herself before she broke through. She understands American culture enough.

      • Kitten says:

        @denise-Yes I agree but this is why people take issue with her.

        She co-opts without learning.

        She’s only interested in the musical stylings and cares nothing about the history of the music, which is the very least she should know if she’s going to make money off of it.

        To me, it’s incredibly lazy, superficial and fake as f*ck.

      • Nk868 says:

        I don’t understand why people assume she doesn’t know the history- she hasn’t said anything ignorant specifically about rap/hip-hop roots that I’ve seen? She’s said a LOT of other ignorant stuff I know but this part I take issue with- she called that guy patronizing bc he gave her a long lecture on the roots and she said she knows that she’s researched and knows where this music genre came from. Am I missing something? She’s ignorant in many other ways but knowing fundamentally where rap came from doesn’t seem to be one of them? And please tell me if I’m missing something don’t want to defend her (only on this part) in error

      • denisemich says:

        Kitten, I just think she is lazy and superficial.

        Also, I have seen homogeneous cultures create “urban” looks . If you go to Japan, you will see young people with dreads and wearing the hip hop look. If you go to Australia, you will see young people imitating in appearance what they see in music.

        Cultures without diversity create it by imitating other cultures. They feel some type of unity with that culture even though they are not the same.

        Isn’t music supposed to breakdown barriers.

        I think the best music comes when people are willing to remove ethnic and geographic barriers.

        Just my opinion.

      • Kitten says:

        Ok, denise, but in order to have that viewpoint then you have to completely deny the existence of cultural appropriation.

        If you want to talk about music as art, all art has an original intention by it’s creator, all art has a time stamp on it and most great art reflects a time in history. If you remove something from it’s history, you are essentially co-opting it. You’re turning it into something it is not and erasing the original intention.

        For all the criticism so many people level at rap, it MEANT something at the time that it was created. It meant something to black people and it was created as a part of culture that was unique to black people.

        Once a white girl starts mimicking that while completely ignoring where it came from, she is essentially stealing it. She has no real respect for what hip hop culture is (and yes it’s more than just a style of music, it’s a wide-reaching culture) and ignores the history. She’s essentially just a caricature, a cartoon.

        It’s arrogant and dismissive and even kind of mocking on some level.

        I mean, if you’re going to co-opt a style of music, at least make it yours-don’t go the minstrel route, and please do it RIGHT. Nursery rhymes have nothing to do with hip hop.

        That’s my opinion.

      • Nopity Nope says:

        Yes, okay. But her mentor is T.I., a black American rapper who has been in the game for LONG F*****G TIME. If she really wanted to learn and understand the history of the genre, she could have several seats and take some classes based on his info and connections. But she isn’t and worse – T.I. falls all over himself apologizing for her willful ignorance. It’s gross.

  3. QQ says:

    THIS TESTIFICATION IN THIS INTERVIEW!!! WHOOOO!! I caught fire of his self awareness!!.. See folks, Admitting your privilege and being self aware doesn’t turn you to ashes or some such!!

    • Kitten says:

      Seriously though.

      It takes self-awareness and humility (which is not common in the entertainment industry) to say that sh*t, to just STFU and learn a little.

      ..I almost feel bad for all the mockery I’ve directed his was in the past…

      • Bridget says:

        He’s a decent dude who legitimately loves the genre. His music is okay, but I was surprised at the level of hate he’s had pushed his way.

    • ToodySezHey says:


      With all the injustice going on, it’s almost a shame that you have mainstream rappers like Jay Z, Lil Wayne completely silent…it took Macklemore to speak out and address the issue.

      And everything he said was COMPLETELY 100.
      For those that don’t know what the term 100 is, it means completely unabashedly, gremlins real honest truth.

      The part that got me the most is when he said white people can just turn off the tv if they are tired of hearing about race. So much damn truth in that sentence alone.

      And he is right, some white people literally can not handle discussing race issues. I was having a discussion with a so called friend when the Trayvon Martin verdict came out. Every time I pointed out how ace played a part in the entire incident he would just yell and blow up. He could not deal at all.

      I don’t much care for Mack’s but he damn sure has my respect

      • littlestar says:

        I think Jay-Z is an idiot and he’s a misogynist.

      • Amy says:

        I’m glad you said mainstream because I was about to list the number of rappers who have marched, protested, contributed money and stood with the people in Ferguson and other areas.

        Let’s be real. Jay Z is half of the acceptable black people power couple so of course he gets a lot of attention for barely any effort. The man doesn’t want to make the white folks unhappy with him since he’s won their favor, which is why I wrote him off when the mall incidents were happening with his collection and he did basically nothing till he was called out.

        Wayne…come on now, lol. Do I have to say it or do you catch my drift?

      • gilmore says:

        Except for Jay- Z has actually done a lot financially to help out for Ferguson, talked to those higher up in the political field about black people dying by the hand of police, and provided I can’t breathe shirts for his basketball team. He does these things privately though, so just because you don’t hear about it doesn’t mean he’s doing nothing.

    • Wilma says:

      Yes, doing a 180 on him now. He has seriously listened and learned.

    • Erinn says:

      QQ – I have to say, I love what he’s said.

      And really, I’ve been especially privileged – something I never realized the full extent of growing up. Living in rural NS, there was next to no diversity that I saw on a daily basis. We had under a handful of black kids in our school. We live in a vastly vastly white area – the province as a whole is largely ‘white’ though there are a lot of Native individuals, and there are definitely more people of color in the cities, and places like that. Overall though, NS was largely European imports. I didn’t realize that my experience growing up was so much different, because I never ‘had’ to, and never came into scenarios where I recognized it.

      I started taking sociology classes, and started reading more and more, and realizing how ridiculously privileged I was to be a white, heterosexual woman in an area where I was in the majority race wise, and of middle income.

      Even in the last year, I’ve become more an more aware of just how privileged my life is. And I’ve gotten into a few good arguments with coworkers lately regarding race issues, and gender issues, and class issues. I’m not trying to make it MY issues (outside of the prejudice that I do come across as a woman in the IT industry – some of our male clients suuuuck) but I am doing my best to knock it into their heads that their experience isn’t the experience of even close to most other people’s experience. And I want any of my future kids to know that they have an unfair advantage in the world, and not to ever ever ever promote the kind of dangerous thinking regarding race and gender.

  4. Maria says:

    This was a really great interview and he has my respect for it.

    I loved what he said about being teachable, how betraying Kendrick’s privacy was out of line, and more importantly knowing his place in hip hop.

    I had no idea he’d between underground for a decade doing his thing, there is a genuine reverence for hip hop with this man–he tried, very diplomatically, to not get into the Iggy/Banks beef but I caught the low key shade–his comments admit contributing vs taking were for her…

    When they talked about who would win, his face said it all.

    I loved Ebro calling out Iggy’s sh*tty dismissal of the criticism levied her way, he was on point WITHOUT disrespecting her.

    Macklemore knows how being white benefits him but he doesn’t deny it, I can respect him for that.

  5. mom2two says:

    I find Macklemore’s thoughts to be very intelligent, considerate and well thought out. More people could take a cue from him.

  6. Duckie says:

    It was an interesting interview, I like that he’s aware of the role of race in the industry and his privilege. He seems to understand Hip Hop and his role in the culture, especially when he mentioned how important Q-Tip’s tweets were.
    It baffles me that although he made pretty much the same valid poinst of Azealia (albeit in a less passionate way), the general reactions have been very different. Nobody accused him of being bitter, jealous or a race baiter, there were no divisive opinions in his praise for this interview. Interesting. Seems like misogynoir is still effective.

    • Sam says:

      Part of the problem with Azealia Banks was that, although her points on Iggy were decent, she’s a terrible person in general – particularly her crazy raving anti-Semitism and homophobia. The message on Iggy might have been decent, but in no way shape or form do I think Azealia Banks is a person worthy of respect – she’s not. I know you’re supposed to consider the message and not the messenger, but that’s a case where the messenger was so screwed up that she was rendered useless.

      • Duckie says:

        Yes, I agree that Azealia is very problematic and in no way saying valid things absolves the horrible things she has said in the past. But I seriously doubt that people generally know about all the bullshit Azealia tweets regularly. I think this is more the case of Azealia being viewed as the angry Black woman trope while Macklemore is the more safe “voice of the reason”

      • Sam says:

        People know. Banks has been in feuds with some big names – Perez Hilton has really publicized her nastiness, and black gossip sites cover her regularly. I’m white and I’m well aware of her, even before this mess. She doesn’t deserve acknowledgment, from where I stand.

      • cr says:

        ” I think this is more the case of Azealia being viewed as the angry Black woman trope while Macklemore is the more safe β€œvoice of the reason” ”
        No, especially not on this site.

    • Talie says:

      It’s all in the delivery. Remember Azealia used some pretty crazy language to make her point… you can’t call a successful black artist a c*on and expect people to take you seriously.

    • cr says:

      Misogyny may be an issue, but Azealia’s tweeted some very controversial stuff recently. Her comments on this maybe more ‘correct’ than her other comments recently, but taken as a whole she seems to have ‘issues’.

    • FingerBinger says:

      Some of Azealia Banks’ comments on race and hip hop were valid,but then she goes on to make other comments that were anti-white,anti-Jewish and anti-gay. Those were the comments that people found offensive.

    • Amy says:

      I’d actually disagree with you about not many people knowing how much negative stuff Z tweets – and I say this as a big hip hop fan.

      The thing you have to keep in mind is with certain things there will be those on the inside who know and the mainstream who’s generally unaware till long after the information has hit the inner circle. People in the inner circle knew Z tweeted some stupid horrific ignorant things but at the same time at least she, among us, had her music to balance her out.

      Unfortunately because of this same temper Azealia’s career has been stalled for years and the mainstream knows her more by who she’s fighting than what she’s saying – and she says a lot of deep and meaningful sht. Same way I haven’t been fcking with Iggy since…hmmm maybe last year or 2 years ago? But the mainstream was drooling and fawning over her like the rap white savior.

      Now her dirty secrets from the inner circle have made it to the mainstream which is why you see the media going, “But why don’t you guys like her?? We love Iggy!” And having to cover up the awful things she’s done.

      • Duckie says:

        I see. Probably you’re right. I just feel like people should concentrate on the message, of course not forgetting that Azealia is a very problematic person.
        I didn’t mean on this site but all over the web the comments on her interview are mostly about her being angry/bitter/jealous/hating Iggy Azalea, not actual thoughts on her making transphobic and overall horrible comments.

  7. Miran says:

    This is why I would gladly listen to his work over hers. He knows his place and knows how to be present without being offensive (ie: Iggy rapping in the fake stereotypical accent) and being self aware of how his privilege affects how he is perceived versus a black artist.

    • Blythe says:

      It is so much simpler than “Macklemore knowing his place”. Iggy’s music SUCKS – period. Who would want to listen to her whining, faux Southern accent? Macklemore had a good album, but we all know that he has Kendrick’s Grammy. It still baffles me because I’ve listened to Kendrick’s album so many times. It’s a Hip-Hop classic.

      • Miran says:

        Yes, her music does suck, on its own merits or lack thereof. But she still doesn’t seem to understand why performing and acting the way she does is offensive. She truly doesn’t see it, and frankly I’m amazed T.I just lets her do it and encourages her. I see no difference between her and Harajuku Girls era Gwen Stefani, or when Madonna started wearing a Bindi and a Kimono, dyed her hair black and decided she was some weird South Asian & Japanese mashup.

    • Amy says:

      Same. Tbh I’ll give it to him though because it’s refreshing as fck to hear someone say, “I know I get a pass on things because I’m white”

      It’s true much of his drug history in the past is NEVER brought up, meanwhile everyone else gets dragged through the mud.

  8. Talie says:

    Iggy is a lot different them him though — she’s drag. She even admits this. I mean, watch her interview with RuPaul, for godsakes.

    I don’t think she’s dismissive at all. I just don’t think she takes herself as seriously as Macklemore clearly does.

    • Amy says:

      The problem is she entered into a musical genre that does take itself seriously, which is not to say you can’t have fun, be silly, or have a certain style, but that you have to be able to hold your own.

      She’s not a strong rapper. She struggles in interviews and she’s dismissive to the questions posed to her. The simple reality is she’ll slowly be pushed out of the rap game because no one wants to work with her who’s firmly hip-hop.

      • Q says:

        She’s not a rapper at all. Watch her radio interview with Sway. Her “freestyle” was an already written and recorded song off her album. Her saying she couldn’t rap over the “hood ass beat” they provided. Which hood is that Iggy? The hood that created rap music that your racist ass has no business trying to be a part of? B*tch is a wannabe.

      • Amy says:

        And the church said Amen.

        Saw the freestyle and have enjoyed every meme to come out of it since then.

        Also lets be clear if Iggy was a Kesha or a Fergie no one would say a peep to her, but she is a physical and emotional struggle. She wants so badly to be down but then also wants to skip away and have nothing to do with the genre. You want to pretend you’re some hood chick from the Dirty when you rap but then seem surprised people call you out on it? Shoot, it’s not about being white. I really like Karmin and hope the new year brings good things for her but her flow compared to Iggy’s is unparalleled.

        You don’t have to pretend to be something you’re not. Be who you are and if you’re skilled enough people will enjoy and respect you anyway.

      • Q says:


  9. Tippy says:

    The J. GEILS Band first introduced what is now known as Rap back in the 70s on their live version of “Musta Got Lost”.

  10. ToodySezHey says:


    Meanwhile the first rapping I ever heard was on Teena Marie ‘ s song Square Biz.

    Ice T said he learned how to rap from the pimps he used to roll with in south central LA.

    But thanks for trying to say the J Geils band invented hip hop.

  11. Trillion says:

    I’m trying to remember if Beastie Boys ever had backlash like this.

    • ToodySezHey says:


      When the Beastie Boys came out they were on the same label as Run DMC, who was the biggest rap act in the world at the time, so they had a huge endorsement. Their first album was popular, but then they sort of fell off the map (even though Paul’s out I questions is a genius overlooked album) by the time they re emerged well..they were still popular but rap at that time was being dominated by Snoop and the West coast scene, along with Tupac and Cypress Hill. And on the east coast you had Nas, the emergence of wu Tang clan and Jay Z was just starting.

      Basically what I’m saying is…in the grand scheme of things they were sort of irrelevsnt. They weren’t the face of hip hop or weren’t trying to be made the face of hip hop.

      • Miran says:

        Pretty much, but on the same token you have much more ‘credit’ being paid to them than they probably actually deserved. Three guesses as to why. Not saying they weren’t talented, but like you said, in the grand scheme of things….

  12. ToodySezHey says:

    Also, it seems like Mack was naive before last year’s Grammys. I’ve known for years that the Grammys aren’t about ultimate artistic expression, it’s an acknowledgement of album sales. Sure every now and again something truly genius gets nominatrd. But the winner is about units moved.

    The night I learned this(and the year I stopped watching or caring about the Grammys) was the 1998 show. That year, in the best rock song category, they had nominated Jeff Buckley for ‘everybody here wants you’ and Lenny Kravitz for ‘fly away’.

    Bear in mind, jeff buckley had died in 1997 whilst working on his second album. The raw unfinished songs were released in 1998 as his posthumous second album and ‘everybody here…’ was one of the gems of the album..a smoky , sultry seductive song..just a damn good song. Now I love me some Lenny. And fly away was a great track…but let’s face it..Lenny ain’t the second coming of stevie wonder. He is a fantastic musician but…an average song writer. Jeff s stuff is consistently on another level compared to Lenny.

    I had hoped the academy would give it to jeff because a) it was and is the superior song and b) jeff was dead and it would have a good way to honor his legacy.

    but no, fly away won. It was a huge hit song, Lenny’s biggest probably since are you gonna go my way. Meanwhile, I’d never heard “everybody here..” even played on the radio. LENNY’S record sold more, period. So he won.

    and that’s when I was done with the grammy’s.

    even the Oscars aren’t so callously sales driven.

    • buckley says:

      Everybody here loves you is a thing of beauty. So was Jeff.

    • Hiddlesgirl85 says:

      Man, thank you for mentioning Jeff’s song “Everybody Here Wants You!” That song is magnificent. I remember when I first heard it 6 years ago — I was floored. Great vocals, great writing … Jeff was a treasure.

    • Boxy Lady says:

      Ahhhh! Sketches for My Sweetheart, the Drunk! That was a great collection but it makes me sad to listen to it because I realize it wasn’t finished. All because Jeff decided to take a swim πŸ™

      Anyway, I feel your pain about the Grammys. I remember really wanting Neneh Cherry to win Best New Artist because I was in love with her album Raw Like Sushi. (Does anyone remember her song “Buffalo Stance”?) But Milli Vanilli won. I was super pissed. And I didn’t even know at that point that they were merely lip-synching. It took at least 10 years for me to watch even 5 minutes of the Grammys after that whole debacle.

  13. Amy says:

    I absolutely 100% agree with him and unlike Iggy and her supporters it’s clear he’s actually thought things through and listened. Opened his mind and heart.

    You CAN do rap. You CAN love hip hop. But how can you choose to enter a field and refuse to know anything about it or be able to contribute in any way? If Iggy had gone down the pop route she’s started on she’d be fine, but she decided to go into hip hop and the reality is hip hop is about challenging and proving one’s self. Showing who you really are.

    Don’t claim you love something if you’re completely unaware of its history or current state. Don’t believe that you can speak with authority if you’re uninformed and barely aware. THAT is Iggy’s problem, and for all the tears others cry for her the truth is she hasn’t felt a 1/10th of the challenges other rappers feel.

    She’s been sheltered and the small efforts to bring her in and let her prove herself have resulted in her fleeing and flopping. I know many gave him heat but I’ve always felt Macklemore was more honest than her since he genuinely worked for his career each step.

  14. kri says:

    Wow, I am impressed with what Mack said. Some serious truthing going on. He’s right. Talking about race/relations/racism is still hard in this country. So much history and pain to deal with…so much work to be done. As a white person, it can be hard to know what to say, how to say it and when. I have caught myself many times going to say something, or post it and then editing myself or just not saying something at all. And yes, I have black/asian/latina friends. We laugh, we talk, we cry together. Sometimes we talk about race, but sometimes we all avoid it. When I moved to New Orleans, I was exposed to so many races/ethnicities. To this day, I miss the city, troubles and all. But it was there that I learned alot about people. So, yeah, Mack. He learned. I learned. We can all get it. We just have to keep going. Happy New Year to all of you.

    • Miran says:

      All you can do is learn. I moved to the US from South Korea in my teens, and I have to admit that the media there isn’t terribly helpful in changing perceptions of race. When I first moved here, I will admit I was afraid of black people, because the media in my home country portrayed them very badly. I thought all white people were lazy, ‘white trash’, etc. It is very xenophobic there and I had little to no real contact with anyone other than my own race until I moved. I would cross the street if I saw a black man coming towards me on the sidewalk. The more I was around other people the more I realized how skewed and wrong my views were. Am I proud of any of that? No. Did I learn from it? Yes, I did. It’s not easy to admit your own prejudices, but if you can learn from them that’s a good first step.

      • Sarah123 says:

        Thanks for taking the time to post this, Miran. Your honesty is refreshing and brave — and gives me hope for how tranformative relationships and connecting to other people can be.

        Happy New Year.

  15. Anna B says:

    I’m very impressed by these comments from Macklemore. He comes across as a thoughtful, well informed guy.

  16. Ksenja says:

    β€œI was talking to somebody the other day, and they said to me, β€˜Silence is an action.’ And it is my privilege that I can be silent about this issue.”

    I find myself with a lot of respect for Macklemore after reading this interview! That quote really resonated with me because that’s how I’ve been feeling lately. Something that drives me CRAZY is white people that either won’t admit to white privilege or that honestly don’t think it’s a real thing. They get so DEFENSIVE about it, like it somehow takes away from what kind of people they are or how hard they’ve worked.

    I think a lot of white people hate racism but like Macklemore said in this interview – the difference is we can easily turn off the TV when it gets depressing to watch. We can feel sympathetic and then move onto other things because we don’t have to live it. If we keep our mouths shut, if we turn our heads, we’re part of the problem – maybe the biggest part.

  17. LaurieH says:

    I’m sorry – I like Macklemore – but this whole “I need to know my place” routine is just so…ugh…I don’t know. Contrived and immature. Clearly, the rap music style – like many others – originated from African Americans. It is one of their many musical gifts to the art world. Of course, new vocations of music, painting and prose – even the sciences – have been generated since time began. Saying that Macklemore, as a white rapper, should “know his place” with respect to the culture from which his form of artistic expression sprang is to say that Yo-Yo Ma should “know his place” with respect to the Bolognese Italians, who invented the cello. It’s silly.

    Since forever, there have been innovators in arts and sciences. We honor them, and their inventions, by incorporating them into our own ideas and expressions, making them our own and taken them to the next level. This is how art and science progresses. For example, without Archimedes, we’d be screwed (no pun intended). In some respects, though, Macklemore has a legitimate point. You do honor to something by elevating it, personalizing it, expanding it and making it universal. To simply mimic it is to mock it – which may be the (legitimate) point he was trying to make.

    If the rap-style of music/poetry speaks to Macklemore’s inner heart and allows him to express himself better than any other medium or artistic form, then he his paying homage to the art form (and it’s inventors) much the way Paul Simon did in his incorporation of African instruments and rhythms. So, in my opinion, Macklemore should be concerned less about “knowing his place” and more concerned about staking his own place. In that, there is authenticity; there is no parody, mimicry, patronization, insult or disrespect. In that, he is expanding the “culture” to make it universal; to make it less an expression of one segment of humans and more an outward expression of humanity. That it what being an artist is about.

    As to Iggy (and several others I can list, Justin Bieber among them), their so-called “art” is just mimicry – and in that there is disservice. The rap-style of music is poetry to rhythm. Just as a poet should write what he knows or dreams; a rapper should rap what he knows and dreams. If you do that, you are elevating the art form. If you don’t, you’re just making fun of it.

    • Amy says:

      The simplest way I can think of to compartmentalize Macklemore’s comments is to say simply: Race doesn’t stop existing.

      Many people bring up many points or variations on the idea of honoring, elevating, or exploring – all of which are good, but it simply fails to focus on the reality of this country, the music industry and race relations. The facts of this country is that rap was once considered inferior, something no white artist would touch and was relegated to blacks. Macklemore enjoying rap and wanting to express himself in that style is not wrong, but pretending the system has not changed drastically to not simply encouraging whites to pursue this genre but to reward them and seek their success as an ‘alternative’ to black artists is absolutely wrong.

      Macklemore knows his place because he knows his past will be glossed over, no one will bring up his drug use or paint him as a recovered junkie, no one will stereotype and condense his entire person into talking points or gossip bites. Why? Because he is white. Conversely he will also receive far more praise and success than his fellow rappers. He will be invited to perform at shows merely because the message coming from his skin is more palatable to some. He will be looked at as a cash cow that can be marketed solely on the basis that some suburban mothers will probably breath easier if they see his face on a CD rather than someone with dreadlocks and a scowl.

      Much as some try to compare rap to other industries or styles these comparisons just simply don’t seem to work in all honesty. Just like Q-tip said so much of rap is political, angry, speaking out from the way a group of people changed from the time of slavery to today. The things they came to value, their attitudes towards police and politicians, even their feelings towards themselves and others. What sounds shallow has basis in the things they came to value and how they found a way to ‘win’. Yo-yo-ma is an amazing artist but I don’t think there’s so much at stake by him playing cello as by what someone chooses to speak on about their world when handed a microphone. How they parlay ideas and feelings into rhythmic verse that is both poetic and metaphorical. Especially when those words may pose a risk to the system at large.

      Iggy wants to jump into these discussions, pull the southern drawl over herself like a sheepskin and pretend to be involved in a dialogue she has no clue about. A dialogue in which she was the ‘runaway slave master’ and judge. It is not simply that she is doing this, it is that she is lauded with awards for doing this. No one wants to ask why she speaks the way she does, no one will rake her over the coals for her past/and current racist comments. A blind eye has and will continue to be turned. Macklemore sees that and he knows exactly why it’s happening because it’s the same privelages that propels his career when even he doesn’t think he should have won that Grammy. Similarly even Eminem has made multiple raps about how hard he had to work to be respected within the rap community and prove himself, but once he had broken through his career got a strong boost by him simply being a blond-haired blue-eyed rapper.

      Eminem: “White America! I could be one of your kids! White America! Little Eric looks JUST like this! White America! Erica loves my shit, I go to TRL, look how many hugs I get!”

      “Look at these eyes, baby blue, baby just like yourself, if they were brown, Shady lose, Shady
      Sits on the shelf, but Shady’s cute, Shady knew, Shady’s dimple’s would help, make ladies swoon
      Baby, {ooh baby}, look at my sales, let’s do the math, if I was black, I would’ve sold half, I
      Ain’t have to graduate from Lincoln high school to know that, but I could rap, so fuck school,
      I’m too cool to go back, gimme the mic, show me where the fuckin’ studio’s at, when I was
      Underground, no one gave a fuck I was white, no labels wanted to sign me, almost gave up, I was
      Like, fuck it, until I met Dre, the only one to look past, gave me a chance, and I lit a fire up
      Under his ass, helped him get back to the top, every fan black that I got, was probably his in
      Exchange for every white fan that he’s got, like damn, we just swapped, sittin’ back lookin’ at
      Shit, wow, I’m like my skin is it starting to work to my benefit now?”

      Again, ANYONE can and should express themselves in any style that feels right. White, Asian, Latino etc. everyone can join in. But to not admit what is at work for each individual person’s style and success also seems like a betrayal of the genre.

    • tb says:

      Absolutely…Laurie and Tristan…the entire idea of pretending that any form of art belongs to any race or group of people sets back the entire discussion. Mack is trying to do good but is naively missing the point.

      Your point makes perfect sense. Rap is just another form of “king lizard poetry” made famous in coffee houses around the country in the 1950’s and 60’s by white people. Those white people performed spoken word over jazz played by black people on instruments designed by other white people manufactured by yellow people.

      No one invented rap. No one invented music. Everything evolved from what came before and combined to create something new. To try and “own” an art form is simply greed and the desire to uphold your own kind as superior. Rap and hip-hop was not born in civil rights.

      Maybe the people YOU listened to said some things about civil rights…but rap and hip-hop has just as much hate speech as any other medium…possibly a lot more, since no one ever calls them out on their continuous stream of hate towards women and the LGBT community.

      Everyone stands on everyone else’s shoulders. Are we supposed to pay homage to all the inventors of all the musical instruments throughout history? To say that one should “know their place” is utter stupidity and naive. WE DO NOT WANT TO GO THERE

      If we are to start telling people to know their place, everything the civil rights movement is supposed to stand for goes out the window.

      • June says:

        So what your saying is we should ignore culture and race as it is irrelevant in today’s world you sound stupid and ignorant please take off your rose-tinted glasses the world is divided by race, sex and religion – go educate yourself.

  18. Nayru says:

    How come no one compares Iggy to Snow? He was the guy who did informer faking a Caribbean accent. If you are going to fake an accent and put on a culture like a costume, people are going to call you out as the pretender that you are.

  19. brianna says:

    Here is a interesting expert of lyrics of the band Hilltop Hoods called “1979” that I would just like to throw in here:

    “Money’s walking my culture through its darkest hour,
    Now I wanna take it back, walk my way through time,
    I was two years old in nineteen seventy nine,
    But it’s a time that I miss; you ask what’s the difference,
    Hip-hop was then a culture, now hip-hop’s a business ”

    BTW, Hilltop Hoods are an all-white Australian hip hop group.