When the most recent Grammy Award nominations were announced, sections of social media went into an uproar over artists like The Weeknd being completely ignored by The Recording Academy. This was not the first time the Grammys were hit with “WTF?” backlash.
For example, seven years ago, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were the targets of online furor and disappointment when the Seattle-based act’s The Heist won Best Rap Album by beating Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D City. The duo won three other Grammys, including Best New Artist, that night as well. AllHipHop.com even ran an editorial about the controversy.
Macklemore seemed to be on the side of the Grammy critics at the time. After winning the gilded gramophone, the “Thrift Shop” performer posted the screenshot of a text message on Instagram that he sent to Lamar which included him telling the TDE emcee, “You got robbed. I wanted you to win. You should have. It’s weird and sucks that I robbed you.”
Rapper-turned-podcaster Talib Kweli recently had Macklemore as a guest on his People’s Party show, and the two musicians talked about the 2014 Grammy dispute. Mack was asked how he feels now when looking back at that time period in retrospect.
“It wasn’t just the Grammys that we won. We won every f###### thing,” Macklemore responded. “There was a big conversation around whether we should be in the Best Rap Album category, and I’m like, ‘What the f###? 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?'”
He added, “At the time, I’m like, ‘This s### makes no sense.’ But I get it because it crossed over, right? It’s gotten bigger than I could ever contain. That’s the weird thing about ‘blowing up’ – it doesn’t become yours anymore, it’s the world’s. It felt like that, so that was a difficult time for me.”
Macklemore went on to say that he began using drugs again during the Grammy ordeal and now wishes that he had more of a “spiritual foundation” at that moment. The 37-year-old “Trump’s Over Freestyle” performer also discussed how it was a mistake to share his private text message on Instagram and how white privilege likely played a role in Grammy voters choosing The Heist over Good Kid, M.A.A.D City.
“I’m struggling with like, ‘Damn, I’m benefiting from the system I’ve been calling out since I was 20 years old.’ Here I am at the ‘highest level’ of artistic merit – The Grammys – and here I am benefiting from the same s### 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,” offered Macklemore.
He continued, “It’s symmetrically breaking this s### down on who wins and why they win, and the whole system of the Grammys. And honestly, not believing in the voting system of crediting f###### art. How do we put awards to artwork? It’s just weird to begin with once you start stripping it all away.”