Few songs have ignited as much conversation as of late as Macklemore and Ryan Lewis's new "White Privilege II" featuring Jamila Woods. It seems that was exactly his point. In a new conversation with NPR, Macklemore clarifies his intention for making the song was to inspire dialogue. "The intention of the song, at the end of the day, is to start a conversation. And to utilize the platform that we have as artists, the reach that we have, to engage our audience in a conversation about race. One that can be uncomfortable, that comes with a lot of fear of not wanting to mess up, of not wanting to say the wrong thing, but just stepping into the space and learning."
Macklemore elaborates that the instruments and sounds were utilized to make the song sound uncomfortable since the topic is uncomfortable. "Purposefully, this song is uncomfortable. The music is uncomfortable. We approached this record like a play." The discomfort, he says, is an example of a much larger systemic problem. "Inherently, my place in talking about this is going to have contradictions. How do I do this from an authentic place, knowing that it should be called out, knowing that it is never going to be perfect, but knowing that, at the end of the day, it's more important for me to say something than to remain silent?"
Of course, he also touches on the internet blowing up in response to his name dropping Iggy Azalea and whether or not he still thinks it was a worthwhile lyric. "I think it has distracted from the message," he says. "I think it's a lot easier and a lot more comfortable for mass media to grab onto something like a potential diss or someone calling somebody out, versus the issues that I was trying to get at in this record."
Ultimately, he believes it's important to acknowledge race. "That's a conversation that I see often, that race shouldn't matter in this, but it completely does. And I think that it's negligent for a white artist participating in this culture to say that their race doesn't give them a certain set of advantages." Read the full interview with Macklemore and Jamila here. For more, read why "White Privilege II" is an amazing case study of white guilt here.