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No One Thinks Macklemore Deserved Grammys. Not Even Macklemore.

Illustration for article titled No One Thinks Macklemore Deserved Grammys. Not Even Macklemore.

Last night, a wealthy young duke with a face gentle and soft like rolled-up sleeping bag shocked everyone by winning several Grammys for the art of rapping. His name was Macklemore, he hailed from a far-away, mystical land called Seattle (pronounced: "See-YAW-tehl") and he often wore fancy, intricate coats that made him look like a royal simpleton.


Macklemore was not the only artist nominated in the Grammys' rap categories, but he was the whitest and few other rappers this year had produced music with such similarly easy-to-digest messages as "I used to dislike gay people, but I've changed my mind. P.S. No homo." And so he won. He won and he won and he won again, even taking home the award for Best Rap Album.

But not all was well in Grammy land. An unsettling groan began creeping into the auditorium, starting on Twitter and quickly gathering speed. People were starting to realize that maybe — just maybe — Macklemore didn't deserve the awards. Maybe one of the other (more talented) rappers did.


Even Macklemore — sweet, simple Macklemore — was forced to agree. While he accepted the award with a cheery grin, something felt wrong. "Kendrick Lamar should have won," whispered a cruel voice, generated inside his own brain (or by the SeeYAWtehl sea witch, who can tell). "It should have been Keeeeeeeendrick."

Hours went by and Macklemore still couldn't shake the feeling that he had stolen something that didn't belong to him. He needed to make things right so he — no, he didn't turn down the Grammy or give it to who he thought deserved it more, but he did send Kendrick Lamar a nice text message saying that he felt bad about winning. And then he publicly posted the text message to Instagram — the very portrait of New World contrition. (If an apology isn't public and self-promoting, did it even happen?)

While poor Macklemore, his arms weighed down by Grammys, is doing everything he can to make things right, it does lead to an interesting question about what to do when you win something you know you're not deserving of or if you unintentionally become emblematic of a trend that you don't necessarily endorse (in this case, white artists winning awards for creating watered down versions of music that black people have been making better and for longer). Macklemore didn't cause the problem (it goes back long before Macklemore was born), but he is benefitting from it. So what can be done?


Ah, me! Heavy hangs the head that last night wore the crown. And so weeps the poor, dejected, white duke of rap.

Images via Getty.

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Fuck this. Fuck all of these posts. Fuck them all. Really, Jezebel? How many fucking posts do we need today about how Macklemore shouldn't have won, how KL is the shit and should have won, and how Macklemore only won because he is white?

Macklemore seems like a decent dude. He raps about things that are important to him without corporate shilling (he and Ryan Lewis wrote and produced The Heist on their own, without a label) and, here's the crazy part, people like his songs and buy his albums and Mary Lambert's beautiful voice floats through the radio of thousands of young impressionable kids as a result, and marriage equality is suddenly just a little more normal.

He is not the best rapper ever. He's pretty good, but not the best. But he's not the "white duke of rap". I'm not sure what act at the Grammys would have satisfied smug assholes like yourself other than actual self-immolation. He doesn't deserve this crap piling-on. You and every other writer doing it are just fucking lazy.

Also, everyone knows the Grammys are the worst. The worst. A highlights reel of the most anodyne bits of musical culture from the past year. Everyone knows Grammy voters are more comfortable with white people, or in any case black people who are non-threatening enough to be Honorary White People, e.g. Beyonce. Grammys voters are the worst. Don't fucking watch them if you want to see anything out of the ordinary or interesting. So what the fuck did you expect?

For fuck's sake.