Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have some words about a topic that’s spawned plenty of words, movements, and well, the list goes on.
Adding on a new page to their 2005 song “White Privilege,” the pair released a nearly nine-minute sequel that tackles issues like racism, white privilege, Black Lives Matter, as well as the rapper’s position as a polarized figure in rap.
"My success is the product of the same system that let off Darren Wilson guilty," raps Macklemore, who grapples with the double-edged sword that comes with any commercially successful figure in genres like rap and R&B. Later, he continues, “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,” raps Macklemore. “You’re Miley, you’re Elvis, you’re Iggy Azalea, fake and so plastic, you’ve heisted the magic.”
The song was released for free last night (January 21) on iTunes and is the latest introspective preview from the duo’s upcoming album, This Unruly Mess I’ve Made.
In a statement for the record, which features Chicago-bred singer and poet Jamila Woods, the rapper wrote, “This song is the outcome of an ongoing dialogue with musicians, activists, and teachers within our community in Seattle and beyond. Their work and engagement was essential to the creative process.” Along with the song, the pair’s company (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis LLC) will work with organizations like Black Lives Matter, People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, Youth Undoing Institutional Racism & Freedom School, and Black Youth Project 100.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ new album, This Unruly Mess I’ve Made, arrives on February 26.