7 days ago possibly one of the most popular hip hop artists of today’s society, Macklemore, released a nine minute long track titled “White Privilege II” that available for free on all major music streaming and downloading sites concerning his views on racism in america, the black lives matter controversy, and his feelings on how he feels he fits into the hip-hop community.
The first thing that struck me about this track had nothing to do with the content, the lyrics, the name of the song, or even the melody. It was the fact that it was free. I don think I’ve ever seen a popular artist release a new song that they did not wan’t to collect commission from. I think action speaks volumes to the point that Macklemore wants people to know that there are issues in our world and people need to be educated about them and get the facts from both sides.
The second thing about this song that caught my attention was emphasis on the words he was saying. The song lacked a catchy beat, or a deep bass line that would distract you from the lyrics of the song which in Macklemore’s case was the main attraction. I think through the whole track the first verse was the one that I found most appealing and at the same time problematic. He discusses the issues with the Black Lives Matter campaign not knowing if he is ‘allowed’ to join the fight and support the Black people as a white man. He isn’t sure if he will offend people by being a white man in a march full of black people and says that he feels ‘awkward’. I found this interesting because when we were discussing the evolution of music we talked about how the black artists were afraid of a white mans world and that they would not even put artists faces out to the public if they were black in fear that the white people would not buy their records. Here we are now 60 years later and a white man is afraid of standing up for the rights of the black people, in fear that the black people will tell him that he doesn’t deserve to be there. I don’t know about you but to me it just seems a little screwed up.
This entire song just expresses Macklemore’s frustration with the way our society focuses on identities. It seems as though he is telling us that we need to start identifying people by who they are and what they have experience instead of by the color of their skin or their economic class.