At the 2014 Grammy Awards, Macklemore and his production partner Ryan Lewis took home the Best Rap Album award for ‘The Heist’ ahead of Lamar’s ‘good kid m.A.A.d. city’, which many thought was going to win.
Speaking in a new interview, the rapper talked about how he still thinks about the controversy seven years later.
“It wasn’t just the Grammys that we won. I’m looking at the shelf I have in the corner. We won every fucking thing,” he said on the People’s Party with Talib Kweli. “There was a big conversation around whether or not we should be in the Best Rap Album category, and I’m like, ‘What the fuck? Do I not rap? Is this not a rap album?’
“I get that there are pop sensibilities. I get that there are unapologetic pop moments. But is ‘Jimmy Iovine’ not a rap song?’ Is ‘Make The Money’ not a rap song?”
Macklemore went on to add that the “system” he was “calling out” his entire life is what ultimately led to him taking home the Grammy over Kendrick.
“I’m struggling with like, ‘Damn, I’m benefiting from the system I’ve been calling out since I was fucking 20 years old’,” he said, explaining that he felt the colour of his skin facilitated his win. “Here I am at the highest level of artistic merit, the Grammys, and here I am benefiting from the same shit I’ve been talking about. So I was conflicted.
“People want to say it was guilt. It was, ‘He feels guilty about being white.’ That’s so surface level. Was there an air of that? Absolutely. Was that the reason? Absolutely not at the forefront.”
He also addressed the infamous text that he sent Kendrick after his win, in which he apologised for “robbing” the TDE rapper. Regretting that he made it public, he told Kweli that he “shouldn’t” have done that.