After proving to be a formidable duo with the success of their 2012 Grammy-winning album The Heist and last year’s This Unruly Mess I’ve Made, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis amicably parted ways for the Seattle MC’s forthcoming solo project, Gemini, due out next week. In a new interview with Sway in the Morning, Mack explained why the two opted to go in separate directions this time around.
“It was a decision that we both came to,” he said. “I think with the last album and how intense it was at times — particularly making ‘White Privilege II’ [on This Unruly Mess I’ve Made], that was an intense, as it should have been, song to write … I think it was really heavy to make a nine-minute song about race. And again, it should be heavy. You can’t even scrape the surface on it.”
With Lewis missing in action, Mack recruited a slew of popular artists to help craft Gemini. First, he partnered up with Skylar Grey for their triumphant single “Glorious,” then, he and Lil Yachty linked up for the melodious track “Marmalade.” Despite their mutual decision to split up for this project, Mack noted that it was Lewis who initially proposed the idea.
“I think with that and just other songs that we did, it was time to step back a little bit,” he continued. “And Ryan was the one that actually brought it up to me and I was like, ‘Yo, let’s do an EP.’ And he was like, ‘I feel like I would be the worst producer for you right now.’ I’ma give you guys the hundo version. I think that that was the best thing that he could have said because we needed that space. You need space to appreciate somebody.”
He added: “We’ve been working together nine years. We’re best friends. We worked together every single day; music videos, in the studio, all that stuff. I heard that and at first I was like, ‘Damn, music without Ryan,’ and then I was like, ‘You know what? He’s right, we need a break.’ It was very much mutual. He was the person that put it out there first. And there’s no love lost. Ryan and I will make music together in the future.”
Macklemore’s Gemini album drops Sept. 22. Watch his interview with Sway in the Morning below.