Macklemore's 'Complex' Cover Story: 5 Things We Learned

Macklemore, who's been fairly quiet since finishing promotion and tours for his 2012 smash album The Heist, broke his silence in a new cover story for the August/September 2015 issue of Complex. In the story, he discusses his growing family, his next album and the price of fame -- read on for our five most important takeaways.

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1. The rapper relapsed following The Heist's success and got clean when his fiancée got pregnant.

“I held it together for a while,” Macklemore told the magazine, “but, eventually, I stopped going to my 12-step meetings.” Retreating to weed and pills, the rapper was snapped out of his relapse by the news of an addition to his family. “I have to keep myself on point and be the best version of myself for this child to be the best version of itself."

2. Being sober fueled his creativity.

"The minute that I start actively seeking recovery -- not just sobriety, but recovery -- music is there," said the rapper. "It always has been. Songs write themselves. My work ethic turns off-to-on in a second and I get happy again. I get grateful again.”

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3. His next album is 75 percent done.

The article details the rapper's process alongside longtime producer Ryan Lewis in-depth, including that a sabbatical in Idaho yielded "six serious 'imperative' songs" to counterbalance "the handful of 'fun' songs they recorded at home in Seattle."

4. He's ready to talk about white privilege, and his role in cultural appropriation.

"My vantage point isn’t pointing the finger at anyone else anymore," Macklemore told Complex. "It’s pointing the finger at’s different when -- [with] cultural appropriation and white privilege in regard to hip-hop -- you’re the example.”

He's been actively trying to expand his understanding, participating an "Understanding Institutional Racism" workshop and trying to "engage in the conversation," in his words. "How do I participate in this conversation in a way that I’m not preaching, where I’m not appearing like I know it all?" the rapper asked. "How do I authentically initiate discourse without co-opting the movement that’s already happening? You are constantly having to check your intention as a white person doing any sort of antiracist work.”

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5. He loves To Pimp a Butterfly, but his new album is nothing like it.

Macklemore admires Kendrick Lamar's high-concept album, but believes his own is more based in the individual songs. “I would say there’s better cohesiveness than the last album,” adds Ryan Lewis, “but, like anything we’ve done, it has a variety to it. With this album, you have these different songs that are reaching in terms of emotion and tone and message and where they sit. So you have these really different things and you have no idea which one might resonate with people more than another one.”

Read more in the Complex cover story.


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