Ooo, RAP FIGHT RAP FIGHT.
After the Roger-influenced Macklemore won a Grammy for Best Rap Album a few weeks ago, he texted Kendrick Lamar an apology for “robbing” his statue. Lamar had released what was widely considered an instant-classic of an album in Good Kid M.A.A.D. City, while Macklemore’s Heist was more hip-hop-for-people-who-disapprove-of-”hip-hop”—and even though everyone saw the Macklemore win coming because Grammys voters fall in the latter category, the whole situation still sucked. Macklemore’s apology text showed a self-awareness in where his album stood in the rap world. It was refreshing.
Or was it? Because the only reason I or anyone else outside of the music industry knew about the private text was thanks to Macklemore posting it to his Instagram. He did have the decency to not include Kendrick’s response, but Look at me! he seemed to say. Look at how humble I am!
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Drake became the first artist to publicly call out the disingenuousness of Macklemore’s Instagram moment. He’s worth hearing out.
“I was like, ‘You won. Why are you posting your text message? Just chill. Take your W, and if you feel you didn’t deserve it, go get better — make better music … It felt cheap. It didn’t feel genuine. Why do that? Why feel guilt? You think those guys would pay homage to you if they won?”
Drake also touched on the weirdness of Macklemore just sending the text to Lamar, when the other three nominees were Kanye, Jay Z, and Drake. “To name just Kendrick? That shit made me feel funny,” he said. “No, in that case, you robbed everybody. We all need text messages!”
This is just another frustrating episode in the cult of Macklemore, who continues to make it difficult to separate his image from some genuinely creative music. He’s inspired this wave of bullshit and Buzzfeed lists, supporting his “positivity” while explicitly condemning the rest of rap as “unenlightened,” and even his Instagrammed text was initially praised for its humility before everyone realized, “What a minute. This is pandering.”
Drop the cultural messiah bullshit, Drake seems to be saying, and make better music. That’s ultimately what this whole game is about.