The Seattle rapper is promoting his new album by sitting in many interviews. One of them recently rekindle an old discussion about inclusivity in hip hop.
Nate Burleson asked Macklemore, who was dressed as if inspired by Tyler The Creator, what he thinks about his allegedly guest status in predominantly black culture. Macklemore responded with burning conviction:
I think it is true. It is true and I agree. If you look at the origin of where hip hop came from and what was happening in New York City, what was happening in the Bronx, and the way black people and people of colour have been treated historically in America from the jump — this was the music that was birthed out of oppression. Hip hop is inclusive so there’s always been an open door to a certain extent. In certain moments it was a little bit harder to push it open, back in the 90s. But I’m a guest, Em’s a guest. Doesn’t matter how good we get. Doesn’t matter how great Eminem is. We’re guests in the culture. Hundred per cent. And that’s not to say that I don’t belong here. I ABSOLUTELY belong here. But you still have to realise that this is not your house. And that you’re a guest. And take your shoes off and help with some dishes.
Here we go again. After months of discussions sparked by Lord Jamar going at Eminem and aggressively granting him the guest status, and after them squashing the beef (rather one-sided, admittedly), the topic is out there. To be fair, it is a legitimate question for any white rapper. And true, what Macklemore said goes along with the stance that Eminem holds. Marshall has never claimed a bigger status. In the interview with KXNG Crooked Eminem said:
I never said I wasn’t a guest. I’m absolutely a guest. I never said I wasn’t!
However, there is a difference between assessing your own place in culture and talking on behalf of somebody who didn’t delegate you this right. When an artist with 2 million followers ranked No.127 on Spotify puts Eminem in the same sentence with himself it does look like this artist is trying to elevate his own position. And this is not a good look.
Nobody asked Macklemore about his opinion on Eminem’s place in culture. But he has brought Em’s name up and chose this specific segment to post on his social media. Guess how many stories will be dedicated to this short fragment only? The correct answer is many many more than whatever Macklemore said about his new album.
By the way, even Lord Jamar himself sees a striking difference between Macklemore and Eminem, which he expressed back in 2014, as always, not trying to pull the punch:
We’re in a climate now where we have the Macklemores and the fucking Pussywolf and all these other motherfuckers, who black people have never heard of. Never heard one song. At least we heard Enimem songs before. They making money. And it’s no longer saying, ‘We have to come through the channels of real Hip Hop to be accepted.’ They’re like, ‘Fuck y’all motherfuckers. I got all these white ass fans. I don’t need y’all black motherfuckers’. Eminem is a different kind of story. He came up worshipping black emcees. He was the first one that white people were able to look up to and worship. But you gotta look at the altar he originally worshipped at. It was the altar of the black emcee. He did the study.
There might be a sore point and the reason why Macklemore wanted to insert Em’s name into this discussion now. Did it work out well for him?
Watch the video below: