The presence of white privilege is a topic that seems to be on everyone’s minds lately—and Macklemore is no exception.
The events surrounding the Michael Brown and Eric Garnergrand jury rulings have focused the national discussion squarely on the role white privilege played in the decisions to not indict the white officers who killed those unarmed African-American men. But this isn’t just a police issue—it’s also a growing concern in the world of hip-hop.
For years, the idea of white privilege in hip-hop and rap music was almost unheard of. On the contrary, a rapper being white was seen as a disadvantage. Artists like the Beastie Boys and Eminem had to earn the acceptance of hip-hop fans and even then, the narrative was often, “Yeah, he’s pretty good—for a white guy.” Until recently, no matter how “down” they were, white rappers seemed to represent the opposite of what fans wanted from their listening experience. But following Macklemore’s sweep of rap-category wins at the 2014 Grammy’s and Iggy Azalea’s subsequent rise to rap mega-stardom, people are beginning to question how much whiteness contributes to their success.
On Monday, Macklemore stopped by Hot 97’s morning show, where hosts Ebro and Rosenberg asked him about just that.
The hosts asked him, “Do you believe that your music got embraced by— let’s call it, for lack of a better term—white radio because you’re white and you rap?”
“Yes,” Macklemore replied.