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The Song and the Artist

He was born Ben Haggerty, but people today know him as

Independently signed, he has shocked the country with his hit Same Love, A song that confronts homophobia and advocates for equality.

Do you feel like you have a particular sound to keep up, or were you aiming for something in particular? How did you know when it was right? I’m a conceptual writer. So to have those concepts, to have those ideas, it’s important to push yourself to live a little bit. It can be hard when your life is just based around making music and you’re constantly doing shows and you don’t have time to breathe. It took me a couple months to just get back in the zone of writing and thinking, “What do I want to say? How do I want to say it? How do I want to convey it? What is important to me?” Once I started to get back and remind myself why I make music,

An early song about being a white MC in a genre of music that is predominantly black. He raps about all his personal connections to hip hop.


“ OT H E R S ID E ”

Macklemore narrates a story about the common drug |Codeine Coffee Syrup. He questions the influence of rappers in promoting the recreational abuse of drugs.


A song about his childhood love for Nike shoes, but also a criticism about the societal implications of our youth’s obsession with material objects.

the songs started flowing and they wrote themselves.

How did [you] work with “Same Love”? That was such a sweet song. Same Love, well, that actually does just go against everything I said. I knew I wanted to write about gay rights, and I didn’t know exactly how to do that. I tried writing it from the perspective of a bullied gay teenager. My mom had sent me a link about a kid who committed suicide, who was like 12 or 13 years old. I was immediately affected by it. I wanted to touch on something that I don’t think has been really addressed in the hip-hop community. On top of the issue of gay bullying, the issue of homophobia in hip-hop, no one’s ever really talked about it. Growing up in Capitol Hill in Seattle, having two gay uncles, a gay godfather, being around the gay community growing up — you could only kind of be silent for so long. So I felt like it was an important issue that I wanted to bring up just in terms of human rights. So I didn’t know how to do it. I tried to write it from the perspective of the gay bullied kid. It didn’t come out right. Ryan critiqued it and said, “This is a more personal issue for you. Go back to the drawing board.” Finally it just kind of clicked. I just need to tell my story from when I first thought that I was gay, to holding my community accountable, to how we treat the gay community and homophobia in hip-hop, the homophobia that exists in the Catholic church and the church in general — the Catholic church being the environment that I grew up in also. It was more, “How I

Frank Ocean’s coming out as a queer individual via a tumblr post in 2012 has been well received by his compatriots in the hip hop and R&B industry.



In January of 2012, Pope Benedict claimed that gay marriage “is not a simple social convention, but rather the fundamental cell of every society. Consequently, policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself.”

Gay and lesbian youth are two to three times more likely to commit suicide than other youths, 30 percent of all completed youth suicides are related to issues of sexual identity.

According to the 2010 Hate Crimes Statistics released by the FBI National Press Office, 19.3 percent of hate crimes across the United States “were motivated by a sexual orientation bias.”


Students hear anti-gay epithets 25 times a day, and teachers fail to respond to these comments 97% of the time.

can be as personal as possible with this and really be authentic?”

“I never want to write a concept because I have to or because I feel like it will be popular or controversial. It needs to be because I believe in it. Regardless of the criticism or whatever type of flack I might get from it, it needs to be something that is genuine and authentic to my experience. Same Love

When I was in the third grade / I thought that

If I was gay / I would think hip-hop hates me

I was gay / 'Cause I could draw, my uncle was

/ Have you read the YouTube comments lately?

/ And I kept my room straight/ I told my mom,

/ "Man that's gay"/ Gets dropped on the daily /

tears rushing down my face / She's like, "Ben

We've become so numb to what we're sayin'/Our

you've loved girls since before pre-K" / Trippin',

culture founded from oppression / Yet we don't

yeah, I guess she had a point, didn't she / A

have acceptance for 'em/ Call each other faggots

bunch of stereotypes all in my head /I remem-

/ Behind the keys of a message board/ A word

ber doing the math like / "Yeah, I'm good at

rooted in hate / Yet our genre still ignores it/ Gay

little league"/ A pre-conceived idea of what it

is synonymous with the lesser/ It's the same hate

all meant / For those who like the same sex had

that's caused wars from religion / Gender and

the characteristics / The right-wing conserva-

skin color/ The complexion of your pigment /

tives think its a decision /And you can be cured

The same fight that lead people to walk-outs and

with some treatment and religion /Man-made,

sit-ins / Human rights for everybody / There is

rewiring of a pre-disposition / Playing God /

no difference / Live on! And be yourself! / When

Ah nah, here we go / America the brave / Still

I was in church /They taught me something else

fears what we don't know / And God loves all

/ If you preach hate at the serviceThose words

His children / Is somehow forgotten/ But we

aren't anointed / That Holy Water/ That you soak

paraphrase a book written / 3500 hundred years

in / Has been poisoned/ When everyone else / Is

ago/ I don't know

more comfortable /Remaining voiceless / Rather than fighting for humans /That have had their rights stolen / I might not be the same /But that's not important /No freedom 'til we're equal /


Damn right I support it


march on! /With a veil over our eyes / We turn

our back on the cause / 'Til the day / That my uncles can united by law / Kids are walkin' around the hallway / Plagued by pain in their heart / A world so hateful / Someone would rather die /

Than be who they are / And a certificate on paper / Isn't gonna solve it all / But it's a damn good place to start / No law's gonna change us We

have to change us / Whatever god you believe in / We come from the same one / Strip away the

fear /Underneath it's all the same love / About time that we raised up

Is making music centered around social change something relatively new to you, or something you’ve always valued? Something I’ve always valued for sure. I think music is the greatest tool that we have to inspire and create change in ourselves and within a community that listens to the music. It’s something that’s interesting in 2012. It doesn’t seem like music with a message is exactly at its peak in terms of popularity, so you have to be careful in terms of not coming across preachy.

Consciousness rap — a term that I don’t think exactly exists but gets thrown around a lot — is not exactly popular. I think it’s about being a human. It’s about being relatable. It’s about being vulnerable and sharing who you are on records. If you can do that in a way that’s not preachy or not coming across as I-know-it-all or pointing the finger, I think it can be a very effective means of change if it’s in the midst of other songs that lighten up the mood a bit. If I had an album that was 15 Same Loves, it wouldn’t be as powerful. It’d be expected. It would lose value. So in the midst of kind of an album, social issues can be brought up. I try to do that with this

XXL, a well-known hip hop magazine and website, included Macklemore on their 2012 Freshman Class roundup, which highlights independent artists.

Metacritic, which makes a normalized rating out of 100 from mainstream critics, gave the album an 84 which indicates “universal acclaim.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were invited to perform Same Love on Ellen.

The Heist sold 78,000 copies in its first week, debuting at number 2 on the Billboard 200 Chart. It debuted at number 1on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop albums and entered the Canadian Album Charts at 4.


album, but not because I had to, but because I wanted to.

You need to get outside of your comfort zone to write songs that are interesting, songs that are compelling, songs that are different from what other people are writing.

It takes me living life.

He’s born in Seattle, WA

Same sex marriage passes in Maine, Maryland, and Washington Civil union/registered partnership laws come into effect in Delware and Hawaii


Same Love is released on July 18; The Heist is released and within hours, becomes the #1 album on the US iTunes Albums chart


US District Judge Vaughn Walker strikes down CA’s Proposition 8 as violative of the US Constitution’s 14th Amendment End to the ban of same-sex couple adoption in Arkansas and Florida

Releases The VS Redux, which reaches no. 7 on the iTunes Hip Hop chart


Banning of same-sex marriage in Maine Anti-discrimination legislation in Delaware Limited parternship laws in Colorado and Wisconsin

Collaborates with producer Ryan Lewis to release The VS. EP

Anti-discrimination laws pass in the states of Illinois and Maine


Releases The Language of my World, an album about overcoming drug addiction

Civil Union/Registered Partnership laws come into effect in Vermont


Under his first rap name, he releases his first EP Open Your Eyes

Defense of Marriage Act is enacted, restricting LGBT partnership rights


He starts writing his own lyrics at the age of 14

Laguna Beach, CA elects first openly gay mayor in the U.S. Wisconsin becomes first U.S. to ban homosexual discrimination

#1 2012

Interview By Nolan Feeney (EW Magazine) Designed By Erin Woo Visual Information Fall 2012 Sam Fox School Of Arts&Visual Design All Images Appropriated From Google Images and

Macklemore is a rapper whose song Same Love provides a voice for those in support of gay marriage and equality. His songwriting process can be described as honest and sincere, confronting the gay stigma in our society. An artist for social change, Macklemore puts into song the belief that all love is equal.

Same Love: The Song and the Artist  
Same Love: The Song and the Artist  

A short biography on rapper Macklemore's process of writing and producing 'Same Love,' a track that supports gay marriage and equality.