Seattle-based emcee Macklemore isn’t your average white boy rapper. He’s not bragging about his Escalade, spitting about his diamond earrings or flossin’ a gold chain. His lyrics are born out of his struggles with drug addiction and his brave decision to get clean delivered with a refreshing sincerity not normally found in the commercial hip-hop world. Along with partner in crime, producer Ryan Lewis, Macklemore has tapped into a new generation of kids itching for a fresh take on hip-hop. So look no further, the Mack is back. (Kyle Eustice)

You cited a period of low production between the years of 2005 and 2009 because of substance abuse. What finally made you snap out of it?

I had always wanted to get clean and sober, but didn’t really have the tools to do it. I had the desire to quit using drugs and alcohol, but I didn’t know how to get out of my environment, I didn’t know how to get out of my head and really focus on who I wanted to be. I didn’t have that resource.

Do you feel it’s important to get a positive message out to your fans?

I think it’s important to talk about it- to be honest about it. I had that choice coming out of treatment. What do I do- do I tell the fans about this? Do I tell them I went to treatment? I made the conscious choice to talk about it on record because it’s real to my life. It’s what I went to. I’m not going to hold that back.

A lot of musicians credit substances as “creative fuel.“ Has your music changed since you cleaned up?

I have never been that type of person. I always need to be sober in order to write. It’s kind of a veil immediately the minute I would do drugs and alcohol. I would be staring at the paper for 20 minutes.


Macklemore & Ryan Lewis with Champagne Champagne and Xperience, December 15, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St., 9 p.m. Tickets are $13 ADV/$15 DOS. Visit for more information. 

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