Macklemore: “Capitol Hill is known as the hipster area of Seattle. It has a diversity in terms of there’s a large gay population on Capitol Hill. It’s an area with a young people and a lot of nightlife. It’s probably the biggest area in terms of just kicking it.

“It’s still like that. Growing up, I grew up really fast. 11 or 12 years old, you know, I was going up to Broadway with friends and kicking it and that’s when I kinda started getting into trouble as a kid. Skateboarding, graffiti. It came with kids kicking it that were much older than me, a lot of drugs and just kind of growing up fast. I think that was kind of Capitol Hill-as kind of central Seattle-as you can get. And I was just a young kid trying to get into whatever I could. It really was just skating, drinking, and writing graffiti.

 

I went to Garfield my freshman year. Same high school Jimi Hendrix went to. Bruce Lee. A bunch of people—Ish from Digable Planets, Shabazz Palaces, Quincy Jones. So a long list of people who have had a prominent influence in Seattle’s music scene went to that high school.

 

“My parents were there. I would say it had to do more with the music that I listened to and kind of my older influences. They kind of tried to stop it. I went to a high school, I went to Garfield my freshman year. Same high school Jimi Hendrix went to. Bruce Lee. A bunch of peopleIsh from Digable Planets, Shabazz Palaces, Quincy Jones. So a long list of people who have had a prominent influence in Seattle’s music scene went to that high school. It was kind of an open campus for to kind of wild out at that age. My parents didn’t have control over it.

“Garfield is extremely diverse. You know the central district historically back then it was becoming gentrified. It was definitely in the process of being gentrified but when I was in high school it was predominantly a black neighborhood. Even by the time I graduated in 2001, it had a changed. Now it’s way different. Now it’s predominantly a white neighborhood.

“I went to Garfield for only one year. And then I went to another school called Nathan Hale that is in a predominately white neighborhood. [It’s] kind of middle class neighborhood in the North end of Seattle. Then through Nathan Hale I went to Seattle Central Community College and did Running Start back at Capitol Hill. So I had a very eclectic mix of the high school experience.

 

Hale took me out of my environment. I didn’t really have friends there. I never really liked it. It made me focus on music. That’s when I really didn’t have else to do. I kind of stopped smoking weed at school. It just became more about writing raps.

 

“Garfield was just a wild school. The teacher had giving up before they had even started. Classes were hella disruptive. Nathan Hale was more tamed. I needed a school like Nathan Hale. Because being kind of the kid was getting into drugs and was rebelling against whatever my teachers said or whatever my parents said, getting into fights. All the typical stuff that kids do, you know, I think it was a big part because I wanted to do it. It was a big part because those were my friends and everyone was kind of doing it whoever I was kicking it with.

“Hale took me out of my environment. I didn’t really have friends there. I never really liked it. It made me focus on music. That’s when I really didn’t have else to do. I kind of stopped smoking weed at school. It just became more about writing raps and focusing on music.”