Whenever a white rapper reaches a certain level of success inevitably the question of whether he would have had the same career path if he were black comes up. The hot white rapper of the moment, Macklemore, decided to tackle that question head on in a new cover story for Rolling Stone magazine.
[ALSO READ: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ ‘Thrift Shop’ Breaks Chart Record]
The “Thrift Store” performer told the publication:
If you’re going to be a white dude and do this sh*t, I think you have to take some level of accountability… 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, 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.
Macklemore has been releasing music independently since 2000, but it wasn’t until his joint album The Heist with Ryan Lewis was released in 2012 that the Seattle-based rapper started climbing the charts with his #1 hit singles “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us”.
Macklemore is up for 6 awards at this weekend’s MTV VMA’s including best Hip Hop Video (“Can’t Hold Us”) and Video Of The Year (“Thrift Shop”).