Rapper Macklemore’s tackling white privilege, and he’s got a lot of targets in his crosshairs.
Known in real life as Ben Haggerty (formerly Professor Macklemore) an American rapper from Seattle. His stage name originated from his childhood, it was the name of his made-up super hero.
There is one argument against himself that Macklemore doesn’t explicitly make in his just-released song, “White Privilege II,” and it’s important to get this argument out-of-the-way because it’s most likely he’s the one to be used against this song in the long run.
Throughout this song’s four rap verses—and let’s just call this a “song” for shorthand at this point; it’s hard to tell if this thing succeeds as a piece of music.
He outs himself as a self-doubting ally in the war against racism, sits confounded as he’s congratulated by unconscious racists, places himself in culture-vulture crosshairs, and finally, reveals himself as a knowing recipient of white privilege.
But, at no point does he broach the possibility of this all being part of an elaborate white savior strategy.
The rapper released his newest song with Ryan Lewis, “White Privilege II,” and it contains a series of diss lines aimed at musicians with a history of appropriating black culture. Iggy Azalea wasn’t left out in this diss verse!
“You’ve exploited and stolen the music, the moment,” he raps at one point. “The magic, the passion, the fashion, you toy with / The culture was never yours to make better.”
“You’re Miley, you’re Elvis, you’re Iggy Azalea,” the verse continues. “Fake and so plastic, you’ve heisted the magic/ You’ve taken the drums and the accent you rapped in/ You’re branded ‘hip-hop,’ it’s so fascist and backwards.”
Now that’s too much mess here! How can you call yourself a black ally while occupying a white body and getting rich off black music? In the Hamilton-esque song, Macklemore references marching with Black Lives Matter (which he did after the Michael Brown decision) but feeling unworthy of the cause: “Okay, I’m saying that they’re chanting out, ‘Black lives matter,’ but I don’t say it back / Is it okay for me to say? I don’t know, so I watch and stand in front of a line of police that look the same as me.”
“White Privilege II” features Chicago poet-vocalist Jamila Woods and clocks in at almost nine minutes long while touching on the Black Lives Matter movement and racial inequality in America. It will appear on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ new album, This Unruly Mess I’ve Made, currently slated for a Feb. 26 release. Stream the audio below, watch out for the free download link. Watch this space.
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