Macklemore & Ryan Lewis shared new song ‘White Privilege II’ featuring Jamila Woods in January 2016, which addresses the issues of so-called ‘cultural appropriation’ and name checked Miley Cyrus and Azalea in it’s lyrics. The song is a nine-minute long rumination on race, with Macklemore taking time out to namecheck white artists – who he has been referenced alongside – as adopting black culture for success and financial gain.
Macklemore has spoken to Billboard in a recent cover interview, admitting that he ‘regrets’ not giving Azalea a warning before releasing the song, to which Azalea seems to have taken offence to.
“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.” After being asked if he had followed it up with Australian star he replied: “I haven’t talked to her.”
The lyrics he refers to include: “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
Fake and so plastic, you’ve heisted the magic, You’ve taken the drums and the accent you rapped in, You’re branded hip-hop, it’s so fascist and backwards.”
Azalea was asked about the song by fan on Twitter and appeared to believe she had been directly insulted in the lyrics:
Speaking to Rolling Stone on last month (26 February), Macklemore said that he was as indicative of the issue as the other artists mentioned.
“For me, that second verse is unpacking,” he said. “It’s an unpacking moment of internalised criticism and self-doubt, and ‘What have I done,’ and letting the criticism infiltrate who I am. ‘Why am I insecure at a protest?’ And I think that people get put into boxes, and the conversation around cultural appropriation – I was at the forefront of that, rightfully so. And that conversation also included Miley Cyrus and Iggy Azalea, and that’s why their names are on the record.”
The song is a sequel to Macklemore’s 2005 track ‘White Privilege’, which appeared on his solo album The ‘Language of My World’, and clocks in at nearly nine minutes in length. In that time, Macklemore raps about racial tension in America and mentions the Black Lives Matter movement and white artists who he believes have appropriated black culture.
‘White Privilege II’ features on new Macklemore and Ryan Lewis album ‘This Unruly Mess That I’ve Made’.
The album, which is the follow up to 2012’s ‘The Heist’, will be released on February 26. It includes the single ‘Downtown’ as well as Ed Sheeran collaboration ‘Growing Up (Sloane’s Song)’ and ‘Kevin’, featuring Leon Bridges. Scroll down to see a trailer for the album now.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis will play a series of UK arena tour dates in April 2016. The tour begins at Manchester Arena on April 12 and culminates at the end of the month at The O2 in London. The hip-hop pair will play dates in Glasgow, Newcastle, Leeds, Nottingham and Birmingham in between.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis will play:
Manchester, Arena (April 12)
Glasgow, SSE Hydro (April 13)
Newcastle, Metro Radio Arena (April 22)
Leeds, First Direct Arena (April 23)
Nottingham, Capital FM Arena (April 24)
Birmingham, Barclaycard Arena (April 26)
London, The O2 Arena (April 27)
Tickets are available now.