Macklemore is sorry again about something he did.
In a Billboard cover story where the rapper appears with his music partner Ryan Lewis, Macklemore expresses remorse over calling out Iggy Azalea in his single “White Privilege II” without telling her first. The lyric: “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.”
At the least, Macklemore feels like he could’ve given Iggy a heads up that he’d be referencing her in a song about cultural appropriation and the plight of white people.
“Iggy and I came up together. We were on the XXL ‘Freshman’ cover together,” he says. “There’s enough of a relationship that I should have let her know beforehand. And I didn’t do that.”
Mack has explained his thought process for the lyric in previous interviews, arguing that the line wasn’t a knock at Iggy, merely an observation. He does so again here, telling Billboard, “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.”
Macklemore says he and Iggy haven’t talked since :(.
Relatedly, Iggy addressed that same appropriation topic in a cover story for the March issue of Elle Canada where she talks about her relationship with rap and sounds slightly more informed than her early ignorant days when she was quick to dismiss criticism of her rap style. When asked if the backlash against her is valid, Iggy says:
“Yes and no. Do you not like me because I rap with an American accent and I’m not American? Well, that’s valid on some level because that’s your opinion and I can’t change that. But I’m not trying to sound black—I just grew up in a country where on TV and in music and film, everyone was American or any Australian person in them put on an American accent. So I never saw it as strange at all.”
Asked if she gets why some people find her persona “problematic,” Iggy admits she’s grown to accept her place in music:
“Of course. It’s black culture and black music, so it becomes a racial conversation—versus Keith Urban, who is making country music, which is considered white. It becomes a very muddy area. And it became especially difficult in 2015. The United States has such a fraught history with race, and I don’t think I realized how prevalent racism still is and how hurt people still are until I moved here and saw it for myself.”
That she’s marrying Nick Young and might one day have black kids with him, she says, means she’ll be confronted with these issues even more. “Of course I care about these things. And I understand if you’re not comfortable that I rap with an American accent, and you are totally entitled to your own opinions, but you don’t have to listen to my music. I’m still going to keep making music.”
It’s hard to predict where Iggy’s career will go from here, though it’s clear the excitement around her has died down. From the critiques to the Azealia Banks beef, she just wishes 2015 never happened. “If I could, I would Men in Black memory-erase 2015, I totally would—that would be amazing!” she says. “Even though I still hate Azealia Banks, I wish I had said it in a way that didn’t make people think I was oblivious to the [Black Lives Matter] movement. And I wish I hadn’t gotten into a fight with Papa John’s!”
On the bright side, maybe she and Macklemore can be friends again.
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