Macklemore’s New Song Confronts His White Privilege, Calls Out ‘Fascist’ Iggy Azalea

2015 American Music Awards - Show
What a mess. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The unruly mess Macklemore has made is about to get a whole lot messier: Last night, the most polarizing white guy in rap dropped “White Privilege II,” a nine-minute sequel to his 2005 original, for free on iTunes and streaming services. As you can probably discern from the title, it shoulders a very specific burden this desperately-wants-to-be-woke white man carries: How can you call yourself a black ally while occupying a white body and getting rich off black music? In the Hamilton-esque song, Macklemore references marching with Black Lives Matter (which he did after the Michael Brown decision) but feeling unworthy of the cause: “Okay, I’m saying that they’re chanting out, ‘Black lives matter,’ but I don’t say it back / Is it okay for me to say? I don’t know, so I watch and stand in front of a line of police that look the same as me.”

But Macklemore is also quick to acknowledge that he isn’t the first or last white person to appropriate black culture: He name-checks Elvis Presley, Miley Cyrus, and Iggy Azalea, taking specific aim at Azalea’s music for being “fascist and backwards.” “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 / That Grandmaster Flash’d go slap it, you bastard / All the money that you made / All the watered-down pop bullshit version of the culture, pal,” he raps. It all comes to a head when Jamila Woods — who stole the show on Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment’s “Sunday Candy” — floats in at the last minute to drop the kicker on Macklemore’s latest think piece: “Your silence is a luxury, hip-hop is not a luxury.”

Macklemore Drops New Song, ‘White Privilege II’