Brow Beat

Macklemore Speaks Candidly About White Privilege, Iggy Azalea, and Hip-Hop

Iggy Azalea might’ve had the biggest year of her career to date in 2014 with both the Song of the Summer in “Fancy” and her Grammy-nominated debut album, The New Classic. But not all are happy with her rapid ascent to the top tier of mainstream hip-hop: In a recent interview with HOT 97’s Ebro in the Morning, Azealia Banks, who has had a longtime feud with Azalea, accused her of contributing to the “cultural smudging” of blacks in hip-hop. That interview sparked an ongoing dialogue about race and hip-hop online and, on Monday, HOT 97 invited Macklemore onto the same show to further the conversation.

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Macklemore, speaking for over an hour, touched on the issue of cultural appropriation in rap and the role his success plays: “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,” he said. “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.”

While declining to comment on Azalea’s controversy directly, he also raised thought-provoking points about white privilege, the recent spike in police brutality against blacks, and a wealth of other topics. It’s the most candid and insightful interview Macklemore has given about race since his own Grammy backlash, and the full video is worth a watch.

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