Macklemore Talks Racism, Azealia Banks, Kendrick Lamar & The White Appropriation Of Hip Hop


(AllHipHop News) The conversation about Caucasian musician’s “whitewashing” of Black culture has been ongoing since jazz began to spread beyond African-American communities nearly 100 years ago. The discussion took center stage once again after Harlem performer Azealia Banks spoke about the issue as it relates to Australian rapper Iggy Azalea’s emergence.

[ALSO READ: Iggy Azalea & Azealia Banks Clash Over Recent Interview & Race]

Macklemore is another White rapper that has often been mentioned when it comes to the appropriation of Hip Hop. His Grammy win for “Best Rap Album” over Kendrick Lamar sparked a debate about the bias acceptance of white entertainers that make “Black music.”

The Seattle native sat down with Hot 97 to talk about beating Kendrick for the Grammy, racism, Azealia, Iggy, and the perceived co-opting of Hip Hop by White artists.

[ALSO READ: ESPN’s Bomani Jones Writes Editorial About The “Whitewashing” Of Hip Hop]

On racism:

Race is uncomfortable to talk about. White people – we can just turn off the TV when we’re sick of talking about race. We can be like, “Oh, I’m done.” It does not work that way for everybody, but that’s what we can do.

The thing for me is “white liberal people” want to be nice. We don’t want to mess up. We don’t want to be racist. We want to be like, “We’re post racial. We have a Black president. We don’t need to talk about white privilege. It’s all good. Right?” That’s not the case…

It is my privilege that I can be silent about this issue, and I’m tired of being silent about it… It is so imperative right now that we have this race conversation in America, if we’re going to progress, if we’re going to move past this.

On Azealia Banks’ Hot 97 interview:

I thought it was a really good interview. I thought that outside any person-to-person beef conversation –  I stay out of that – I will say there’s a lot of truth in that interview… With White appropriation absolutely.

On White artist’s appropriation of Hip Hop:

You need to know your place in the culture. Are you contributing? Or are you taking? Are you using it for your own advantage? Or are you contributing to the culture. And that’s subjective. But I think it’s clear who has contributed, and clear who is taking.

I’m not going to comment on Iggy in that regard. I’m not going to do that, but what I will say is that I saw a tweet on the lines of “Hip Hop was birthed out of the Civil Rights Movement.” This is a culture that came from pain, that came from oppression, that came from White oppression. It was the bi-product of that.

We can say we’ve evolved, that we’ve come along way since the late 70’s/early 80’s, but we haven’t. So you can’t disregard that. Just because there has been more successful White rappers, you cannot disregard where this culture came from and our place in it as White people.

On posting his text message to Kendrick Lamar on Instagram:

I wouldn’t necessarily say he said he didn’t like it. I think he said it was maybe unnecessary. Whatever it was, I made a mistake. A lot was going into that moment. A lot of fear was going into that moment…

First of all, I wanted to win some Grammys. Don’t get it twisted, I wanted to win some Grammys. I wanted to be in the competition. I’m a competitive dude. I’m an emcee.

I think we made a great album. I think it had great impact. I’m proud of the music that we made. I wanted to win “Song Of The Year. ” I wanted to win “Best New Artist.” I wanted to win some rap categories. But I thought Kendrick had a better album…

The mistake came from Instagraming the text message and betraying my homie’s trust. If I’m texting you, I don’t want you to Instagram whatever I’m saying to you and it to be put on the internet. I betrayed Kendrick’s trust. That’s wack.

Mack also added that he learned from Q-Tip’s Twitter message about the history of Hip Hop culture that was directed at Iggy. Mackelmore emphasized his personal focus on listening, being humble, and knowing his place in what he calls “not my culture to begin with.”

The “Can’t Hold Us” rapper also stated his purpose in having this conversation was not to “appease” Black people. Macklemore wanted to open the dialogue for White people to have an honest exchange about the topic of race.

[ALSO READ: Macklemore & Q-Tip March In Mike Brown’s Honor; August Alsina Cries Over No Indictment Decision]

Watch Macklemore’s full interview below.