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.


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.