Macklemore Name-Checks Iggy Azalea and Miley Cyrus on "White Privilege II"

Kyleen James

"You've exploited and stolen the music, the moment. The magic, the passion, the fashion, you toy with. The culture was never yours to make better. You're Miley, you're Elvis, you're Iggy Azalea."

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis return with the follow-up to the rapper's 2005 track "White Privilege" with "White Privilege II" featuring Chicago singer Jamila Woods. For nine minutes, the Seattle-bred MC lets his pen run on white supremacy and the Black Lives Matter movement, rapping, "We want to dress like, walk like, talk like, dance like, yet we just stand by/ We take all we want from black culture, but will we show up for black lives?"

He also name-checks several white acts to note the criticism he's received for being a white rapper accused of appropriating hip-hop: "You've exploited and stolen the music, the moment/ The magic, the passion, the fashion, you toy with/ The culture was never yours to make better/ You're Miley, you're Elvis, you're Iggy Azalea." In 2014, Macklemore also found himself at the center of racially charged controversy when he beat Kendrick Lamar for the best rap album Grammy.

The "Thrift Shop" hitmaker also recruited various talents including poet/songwriter Hollis Wong-Wear, anti-racist organizer Nikkita Oliver and musician Evan Flory-Barnes among others. "This song is the outcome of an ongoing dialogue with musicians, activists and teachers within our community in Seattle and beyond," Macklemore writes. "Their work and engagement was essential to the creative process."

He revealed that his company Macklemore & Ryan Lewis LLC will be working with several organizations including Black Lives Matter, People's Institute for Survival and Beyond, Youth Undoing Institutional Racism & Freedom School (a project of AFSC and The People's Institute), and Black Youth Project 100 to strengthen the dialogue surrounding racism.

Macklemore's 2005 effort The Language of the World hosted the original track while "White Privilege II" will appear on his forthcoming album The Unruly Mess I've Made, due Feb. 26.

Azalea responded to Macklemore on Twitter.

Azalea's comments spurred a response from Talib Kweli on Twitter as well, which started a feud of its own. 

Azealia Banks also took to Twitter to weigh in, saying "I don't need nor do i want Macklemore to speak for me." She added that she hopes Macklemore calls out Eminem next because "i really do wanna hear two white rappers beef."

A version of this story first appeared on

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