J. Cole and Macklemore both have attained success in the world of hip hop music. Macklemore has even crossed over into the pop world with the popularity of his song “Thrift Shop” even to the point, Goodwill has adopted some of his catch phrases in their marketing plan. Both artists recently did separate interviews and the issue of race and success came up in the conversations.
J. Cole expressed his feelings on the light-skinned vs. dark-skinned issue by saying, “Barack Obama would not be President if he were dark skin. You know what I mean? That’s just the truth. I might not be as successful as I am now if I was dark skin. I’m not saying that for sure, I’m still as talented as I am and Obama is still as smart as he is, but it’s just a sad truth… I don’t even know if this is going to translate well into text and people not hearing what I’m saying, but it’s a sad reality. So I can only naturally assume it’s probably easier for a light skin male rapper than it might be for a dark skin male rapper…”
Macklemore discussed understanding this privilege.”You have to acknowledge where the art came from, where it is today, how you’re benefiting from it,” he explained. “At the very least, just bringing up those points and acknowledging that, yes, I understand my privilege, I understand how it works for me in society, and how it works for me in 013 with the success that (our album) The Heist has had.”
He went on to say, “Of course the goal is to make “great albums,” but Macklemore feels fame isn’t as sporadic as it seems. “I do think a song like ‘Thrift Shop’ was safe enough for the kids,” he continued. “It was like, ‘This is music that my mom likes and that I can like as a teenager,’ and even though I’m cussing my a– off in the song, the fact that I’m a white guy, parents feel safe. They let their six-year-olds listen to it. I mean it’s just…it’s different. And would that success have been the same if I would have been a black dude? I think the answer is no.”
This seems to be one of the true conversations regarding race and both artists have songs that address the issue. Check out J. Cole‘s “Crooked Smile” and Macklemore‘s “White Privilege” if you haven’t heard them already. What do these comments say about the “post-racial” America and music industry we are supposed to be living in?