International chart topper Macklemore has spoken candidly about the impacts his pigmentation has had on his musical career. In an interview with Rolling Stone, the rapper has pinned his success wholly to the fact that he is white, and his logic is fairly sound.
Macklemore has pointed out the challenges of being taken seriously as a white rapper. In terms of social currency, he understands the vital role his skin colour played in the reception of his current album The Heist:
“If you’re going to be a white dude and do this shit, I think you have to take some level of accountability. You have to acknowledge where the art came from, where it is today, how you’re benefiting from it. At the very least, just bringing up those points and acknowledging that, yes, I understand my privilege, I understand how it works for me in society, and how it works for me in 2013 with the success that ‘The Heist’ has had.”
Making waves all over the planet last year with his smash hit Thrift Shop, Macklemore has become somewhat of an authority on mainstream music. He’s had a lot of time at the top to assess how he got there, drawing this conclusion:
“We made a great album, but I do think we have benefited from being white and the media grabbing on to something. A song like ‘Thrift Shop’ was safe enough for the kids. It was like, ‘This is music that my mom likes and that I can like as a teenager,’ and even though I’m cussing my ass off in the song, the fact that I’m a white guy, parents feel safe. They let their six-year-olds listen to it. I mean it’s just… It’s different. And would that success have been the same if I would have been a black dude? I think the answer is no.”
This is exactly how a white rapper would grapple with his success. Kendrick Lamar, for example, preferred to just name and shame those he is better than and that resulted in dozens of new jams.
(Via Rap Genius)