Without a doubt the timespan from December of 2012 to February of 2014 can be noted as the year Ben “Macklemore” Haggerty took over mainstream music. The Seattle-born rapper struck gold when his album “The Heist,” produced by his good friend Ryan Lewis, skyrocketed him to public favor.
Backed by his unorthodox style of rapping and the classic hip-hop vibe that his songs pack, Macklemore was definitely one of the hottest commodities in 2013. The success that came off “The Heist” garnered Macklemore and Lewis seven Grammy nominations and ultimately four Grammy wins, including “Best Rap Album” which many believe he didn’t deserve.
Instead, people believe the Gramophone should’ve gone home with another rapper gaining a lot of attention, Kendrick Lamar. So did Macklemore really rob K. Dot?
Lamar, 26, is without a doubt the best new artist in the rap game. His debut album “good kid, m.A.A.d city” is considered one of the best of 2013, so much so that Lamar received seven Grammy nominations. Lamar wasn’t expected to win the “big one” in the “Album of the Year” category, but he was heavily favored to dominate categories such as “Best New Artist,” “Best Rap Song,” and even “Best Rap Album.” Unfortunately for the Compton-born rapper, he ended up with zero Grammy wins, which many find to be a shock. Instead he fell short in four categories to Macklemore, including “Best Rap Album” which even Macklemore himself wasn’t expecting to win. Weeks before the award show, Macklemore predicted that “hip-hop is going to be heated” if his album was to win over Lamar’s, and boy was he right.
In this day in age it’s easy to attribute a certain event regarding two parties of different race, to being racist. Such was the case when Macklemore won his four awards at Lamar’s expense. Outraged fans believe that the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences favor white artists over African Americans, and that the case between Macklemore and Lamar is very much another instance of favoritism due to race. Others even say that “The Heist” isn’t considered much of a rap album because of its pop influence. Most of the claims come from people who only judge Macklemore and Lamar based on their radio singles when the truth is both albums are legitimate rap albums. Does that mean that Macklemore’s was better? Not entirely.
Macklemore reached out to Lamar, via text message, to express his own displeasure regarding the decision. The message read: “You got robbed. I wanted you to win. You should have. It’s weird and sucks that I robbed you. I was gonna say that during the speech. Then the music started during my speech and I froze. Anyway, you know what it is. Congrats on this year and your music. Appreciate you as an artist and as a friend. Much Love.”
On the other side of things, Lamar diffused the situation by immediately coming to Macklemore’s defense. In an interview with XXL, he commented on the loss “It’s well deserved; he did what he did, man. He went out there and hustled and grinded. Everything happens for a reason; the universe comes back around, that’s how it go.”
It is obvious that the two rap superstars are on the same page, and even agree that hip-hop as a culture isn’t well represented by the Grammys. That should change in years to come. But for now, instead of arguing over who should’ve won a piece of metal, why don’t we just enjoy the music that these two talented artists to provide in a time where music is lacking substance and innovations? At the end of the day, Macklemore and Lamar are definitely the best at what they do right now, and we shouldn’t ignore that.