It has been awhile since the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis tandem has released anything. Macklemore aka Ben Haggerty has fought his inner demons since the critically accaimed release of their album The Heist. Never shy to talk about his battle with addiction, Haggerty found himself slipping into old habits as a way to deal with his success. Fans may never understand the struggles and hardships that come with stardom. He talked about this in an interview for their Complex cover story.
I was super-stressed. We weren’t sleeping — doing a show every day, zigzagging all over the country. In terms of the media, I was getting put into a box that I never saw for myself. The pressure and the fame — everything. All the clichés, man — like not being able to walk around, having no privacy, and from this TV appearance to this TV appearance, and the criticism, and the lack of connection, and the lack of [12-step] meetings — all of that put into one pie was just… I just wanted to escape.
What he does not touch on are the stands that he was trying to make as an artist to inspire change. He spoke often about “White Privelege” and how he is treated differently as an artist due to the color of his skin. Just look at how he reacted after winning a Grammy for Best Rap Album. Instead of enjoying his moment he felt, as many others did, that Kendrick Lamar was more deserving for his album “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City.” He send a text to Kendrick that stated.
You got robbed, I wanted you to win. You should have. It’s weird and sucks that I robbed you.
The problem was that instead of keeping it private between the two of them, he felt the need to post the text on his Instagram. I get it, I really do. It may not have been the best way to go about things, but he realized what happened and what the media (both professional and social) would have to say about his win. Perhaps he wanted to address it during his speach, perhaps he could have simply spoken to Kendrick backstage, any number of solutions may have been better, but what is done is done. Do not forget the other stand he made that night during his performance at the Grammy’s. Thirty-three couples were married (both gay and straight) during his and Ryan Lewis performance of “Same Love.” The pressures of fame on top of actively trying to promote social change can take a toll on someone and it did.
Old habits that were once behind Haggerty all came back to him as he tried to cope with the stress of everything. It seems most of the time in order to recover from this you first have to hit rock bottom, but not all the time. Sometimes it takes something like finding out that your fiancé is pregnant. That is what happened for Haggerty when he learned that he and his fiancé, Tricia Davis were expecting.
And, as it always works, the minute that I start actively seeking recovery — not just sobriety, but recovery — music is there. It always has been. Songs write themselves. My work ethic turns off-to-on in a second and I get happy again. I get grateful again.
It is fitting that the first song releases for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis next major album be a dedication to his baby girl. It tells the story of a man’s emotions about having a child. Fear, uncertainty, responsibility, hope, but most of all love. You can hear the new song below and even download a free copy of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ song “Growing Up (Sloane’s Song)” featuring the talented Ed Sheeran.
Here is wishing the best to you both as you continue on your journey to affect change. I can’t speak for everyone, but personally I am looking forward to hearing your new album soon. I mean when you hear that you are drawing your inspiration from Classic Rock legends such as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Queen and you have a much larger production budget this time around…no pressure right?