Macklemore & Ryan Lewis caused a commotion on timelines when they delivered “White Privilege II,” the nine-minute, politically charged follow-up to the 2005 track of the same name.
The Seattle rapper dished out bars about the perception of white acts in hip-hop who have been accused of appropriating the culture. Macklemore references Iggy Azalea, Elvis Presley and Miley Cyrus during a verse where he rhymes: “You’ve exploited and stolen the music, the moment/ 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.”
Azalea even kicked up dust on her Twitter following the song’s release by tweeting, “he shouldnt have spent the last 3 yrs having friendly convos and taking pictures together at events etc if those were his feelings.”)
In Billboard‘s latest cover story, Macklemore says he was actually “implicating” himself on that verse. “I don’t think people understood that I’m in my own head [saying], ‘You’re Miley, you’re Elvis, you’re Iggy Azalea’ — I’m talking about myself,” he explains. “Iggy and I came up together. We were on the XXL ‘Freshman’ cover together. There’s enough of a relationship that I should have let her know beforehand. And I didn’t do that.” And he admits quietly, when asked if he’s followed up with the Australian rapper, “I haven’t talked to her.”
Should Eminem have been included in the Miley, Elvis, Iggy grouping? “He’s a white person who raps,” says Macklemore. “I think regardless of where you come from or how amazing you are, you’re still a white person appropriating a black art form.”
“White Privilege II” appears on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ recently released sophomore effort The Unruly Mess I’ve Made.
To read the full Macklemore & Ryan Lewis cover story, where the duo talks about sobriety, getting schooled about white privilege, and more, click here.