Seattle rapper Macklemore says if he wasn't black he would've never been heard

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.


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