It's been seven years since Macklemore shocked the world when he won Best Rap Album at the 2014 Grammys over Kendrick Lamar. Despite all the time that's passed, the Seattle artist is still reckoning with what happened.
"It wasn’t just the Grammys that we won. I'm looking at the shelf I have in the corner. We won every f*cking thing," he said during a recent appearance on the People's Party with Talib Kweli. "There was a big conversation around whether or not we should be in the Best Rap Album category, and I’m like, ‘What the f*ck? 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?"
Macklemore also explained that the "system" he was "calling out" his whole life is what ultimately led to The Heist winning 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 f*cking 20 years old,'" he said of the way the color of his skin facilitated his win. "Here I am at the highest level of artistic merit, the Grammys, and here I am benefiting from the same sh*t 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."
He also addressed the infamous text he sent Kendrick Lamar after his win, and regretted making it public, saying he "shouldn't" have done that.
In the same conversation, Macklemore opened up about his struggle with oxycodone addiction. The rapper said that if his father didn't have more than $10,000 to spend on a 30-day treatment center when he was 25, then he would've been dead.
"If it wasn't for my pops having the 10 or 12 racks that it was when I first went to treatment [when I was 25] and [his ability] to spend that on me, I'd be fucking dead," Macklemore said. "I wouldn't be here right now. That's not to be fucking dramatic, that's just what it is. I was about to die."
He went on to explain that a lot of rappers build their personas on drug abuse but know that they have an addiction problem. Then when they go get help, it's hard for them to admit they're clean because they don't want to lose their fanbase. Yet, Macklemore thinks this journey is important to tell because it saved their lives and could help their fans.
"It's a mess — but what's more of a mess is dying," he said. "For a lot of these youth, [I thinking they feel like,] how could you even know? You haven't even been doing drugs long enough to know that you have that allergy that you can't stop. Whether it's lean, Xanax, oxycodone — all of these drugs, if you do them for long enough, you will get addicted. It doesn't matter who you are. That's prescription dope. That is heroin in the form of a pill."
Watch Macklemore talk about the 2014 Grammys saga at the 1:05:12-second mark of the video up top.