Macklemore Calls Out Miley, Iggy, & Himself for Stealing Black Culture in New Song
Macklemore is not a cool rapper. He’s the kind of rapper that your Mom sings along to in the car. He’s the kind of rapper that beats Kendrick Lamar for a Grammy and then posts a screenshot of his own apology text a few hours later. He’s the kind of rapper you would never admit to liking in public, even though you’d be lying if you said you’d never jammed out to “Thrift Shop” from the privacy of your own bedroom.
But his latest single legitimizes him just a teeny bit. Because whether or not “White Privilege II” does anything to change your opinion of him, in calling out Miley Cyrus, Iggy Azalea and himself for appropriating black culture, Macklemore has never sounded like less of a gimmick.
“White Privilege II” starts with the rapper zipping up his parka as he pulls up into the parking lot at a Black Lives Matter rally.
“In my head like, is this awkward / should I even be here marching / Thinking if they can’t, how can I breathe / Thinking if they cant, what do I sing / I wanna take a stance ‘cause we are not free / And then I thought about it, we are not we.”
In this over eight-and-a-half-minute track, Macklemore takes us on an exploration of white privilege that takes on black appropriation in popular culture:
“Think about it / you’ve exploited and stolen the music the moment the magic the passion the fashion / the culture was never yours to make better / you’re Miley, you’re Elvis, you’re Iggy Azalea”
“You could join the march protest scream and shout / get a twitter hashtag and seem like you’re down / but they see through it all / people believe you now? / you say publicly rest in peace Mike Brown / you speak about equality but do you really mean it / are you marching for freedom or when it’s convenient?”
And his own failings as a hip hop artist.
“If I’m only in this for my own self-interest not the culture that gave me a voice to begin with / then this isn’t authentic, it is just a gimmick / the DIY underdog so independent / but the one thing the American Dream fails to mention is I was many steps ahead to begin with”
In the end, Macklemore arrives at a cutting truth:
“White supremacy isn’t jude a white dude in Idaho / white supremacy protects the privilege I hold”
Like him or loath him, Macklemore might inspire people who don’t normally think about white privilege to stop for a minute and think about it.