While some have feigned outrage at the Grammy’s for honoring Macklemore for best song, album etc at the 2014 Grammy awards, underground Hip Hop should not even feed into it. The Grammys have never honored the days best emcees as long as there has been Hip Hop. They have always praised those who cross over to mainstream status. Macklemore, who along with Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West, where the only rappers to go platinum in 2013, is just such an artist. Macklemore put out a tweet acknowledging Kendrick Lamar by saying he was “robbed” for not winning an award. In Macklemore’s song “White Privilege”, the subject of how white artists like himself are given more respect because of their skin color was addressed. So was this really any surprise from that perspective? Still if you think about it and analyze the so-called controversy a bit more in depth, you will see that Macklemore did deserve to win.
First off, the cross-over appeal of Mack’s song “Same Love” about gay marriage was an obvious pop culture anthem in a year that saw the supreme court legitimize the practice. And Kanye West having won 21 Grammys to date would have been somewhat redundant to do again even though he remains the most creative rapper in pop culture. However, with songs like “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us”, Macklemore aka Ben Haggerty created pop appeal while touching on personal issues.
When judging an artist in hip-hop music, the easiest way is to evaluate them is on originality, concept and skill. On all of these, Ben excels. His flow is unique. The topics he addresses are original, cutting edge for a Hiphoppa and deserve recognition. What people tend to hate is the production of Ryan Lewis and his choice of EDM/pop beats. If you were to read his lyrics side by side with Kendrick, without knowing who was the “white” guy you might say Mack was better just off that.