Say what you want, but Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ latest song, “White Privilege II,” has already accomplished a purpose that no songs has done (so far) this year and that’s striking a dialogue.
The brand new record arrived last week, spawning a widespread conversation on race and reality. From the vast amount of microwaved, online thinkpieces to the many debates from listeners within social media, the nine-minute message struck a chord that continues to vibrate on- and offline.
With all of the attention they've generated said, the Seattle duo recently sat with Rolling Stone for an upcoming in-book feature that finds them speaking on the song and its origin.
“This song was a processing-out-loud,” Macklemore said. “And it wasn’t like, ‘How can we beat the critics to the punch?’… I had to do all this out loud and come to the conclusion that this is not about me. So if I'm put on blast, critiqued, broken down, questioned — all those things will happen, and they are completely valid. That's part of the design of the conversation.”
A preview of the upcoming feature was made available today (January 25) on RS. Besides the thought process behind the song, the “Downtown” rapper also detailed the intent behind name-dropping Iggy Azalea and Miley Cyrus.
“For me, that second verse is unpacking. It’s an unpacking moment of internalized criticism and self-doubt, and ‘What have I done,’ and letting criticism infiltrate who I am,” he shared. “'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."
Following the song’s release, Iggy responded to a fan’s question about her mention on the track, writing, “He shouldn’t have spent the past three years having friendly convos and taking pictures at events if those were his feelings."
Also mentioned in the story, is how the making of the song included several rewrites and suggestions from the duo's Seattle community. “I think that, as a white person stepping into doing any sort of anti-systematic-racism type of work, asking yourself, 'What is your intention?' needs to happen on a consistent basis,” he explained.
“I had to continue to come back to, 'Is this record, with all of the inherent flaws in it, is it better in the world, or not?' And I couldn't answer that just by myself. Ryan couldn't answer that just by himself. We had to work with other people in the community, we had to play it for other people in the community. We had to play it for people that have been at the forefront of this work, have been at the front lines, have committed their lives to changing the systems."
Fans can expect to hear “White Privilege II” on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s new album, This Unruly Mess I’ve Made, which is do out February 26.
To read more from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' Rolling Stone except, head here.