White Rapper on White Privilege.

In the spirit of the ongoing conversations happening on this blog around race and music (hip-hop and the blues in particular), I bring you Seattle-based emcee Macklemore. Northwest, whattup.




Jalen is a writer and DJ based in Los Angeles, California.

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  • wow…that is pretty dope! I think his ‘privilege’ lends the analysis something different, something dynamic…idk i can’t put my finger on it. but i like!

  • jaddadalos

    Very honest and reflective. I could imagine this starting a larger conversation on what privilege and cultural appropriation is, but also what is art and culture, and who has a “right” to different forms of expression.

    I feel a project for my students coming on… :)

  • meh, boilerplate anti-racism 101 in 4:22

    I’ll maybe put some of these thoughts in something I am writing about a bboy jam that happened this past Saturday.

  • I appreciated the honesty in his articulation of white privilege. It didn’t feel put on at all. Fresh.

  • Naima

    Homie sounds like Atmosphere…enjoy flow and introspection. Nothing super enlightening about what he says about white privilege but I suppose because he is white, it helps validate what we already know to be true.

    • this.

      it’s also not all that new for white rappers to single out white other white rappers for criticism. MC Serch did it. Milkbone and Everlast went after Em, etc.

    • boris

      Agreed, from my p.o.v. the piece has great value, but not necessarily in the same way I listen to music generally. [Austin’s performative and constative speech acts are the distinction academically]. It’s like reading a good newspaper op-ed on race (surprise!) while listening to a good white rapper (respect!). But not really “yes, this is my shit”. And so perhaps, in a certain way, the piece falls back toward the white side of a stereotypical distinction. That said, I couldn’t complain if this genre was grown x 50.

  • Tomlinson Street Dream

    Macklemore does a really nice job bringing forth the truth. However, I would have more respect for his initiative if his exercising of the truth was not coupled with the fact that he is still trying to profit from the truth with respect to his rap game; both the truth and the art form belong to us. He should raise awareness without achieving popularity and notoriety. I realize that this is impossible; but his mere existence, packaged with our truth, is a product sold by the “privilege” of his face. I also see him escaping into the warmth of “black identity”. Even when black males like myself have attempted to emasculate ourselves into “white society” in order to earn a living until “they” become tired of us, we were not and are not celebrated and listened to in videos and song. He is admirable in a way that I cannot phrase, but SO! I appreciate you being honest Macklemore; however, dress up as a black man, put on a dress, try to get a job, and maintain a good standard of living. Only then will you understand where I’m coming from. Overall, keep doing what you are doing; I believe that you have more respect for us than Elvis did.

    – Tomlinson Street Dream

  • Qalil

    Yeah…. No.

    The only way to do this kind of thing is with country music or rock with guitar… Sumthin’

    The only thing I could picture in my mind was a white dude beating up another dude for torturing his slaves while his own are chained to dank walls having large rats chew at their ankles.

    Is it just me?

    (I closed my eyes and could only picture Em’ an’ em.)

  • luvely_luv

    Corny… I wonder what he went through to feel that he has to justify being white and a rapper. Anyone with voice box can rap… or at least try. And on top of all that, he uses words like stole and took. No! you can’t steal or take a vocal art. You exract from it, listen to it and say, I want to sound. Some call it “swagger jacking” but, whatever.

  • Very bold and honest. Its astonishing to hear a white person acknowledge so lucidly, the previige that his race and skin colour affords him.

    Well done

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