Whoo boy. I know it’s the title of the article, but it’s a feat worth repeating: Macklemore made a nine-minute song about dealing with white privilege. For many, that’s going to be all they need to judge “White Privilege II,” but maybe there’s more to it than that.
As the “II” in song’s title indicates, this is actually a followup to a much shorter song, appearing on 2005’s The Language of My World, dealing with the same topic. But there have been some major changes in the last decade: Mack went from underground white rapper to successful white rapper, and the country seems to have only gotten more racially divided. Apparently, he felt like it was a good time for an update.
The song is a free download today (Friday) on Amazon and Google Play. Okay, Macklemore is thoroughly earnest — and often to a fault — about his beliefs. It’s what fans dig about him and annoys everyone else to no end. So, you give him nine minutes on white privilege, and he’s going to leave no stone unturned. Here, we get four verses each from different perspectives: his indecisiveness to join in a march (“‘No justice, no peace?’ Okay, I’m saying that/They’re chanting out, ‘Black lives matter,’ but I don’t say it back”), the perspective of naysayers (“You’re Miley, you’re Elvis, you’re Iggy Azalea”), the suburban mom (“You’re the only hip-hop that I let my kids listen to”) and a final verse of his own realization (“My success is the product of the same system that let off Darren Wilson”). I’m not sure if Mack will gain any new respect from the verses, but he at least shows the willingness to face the subject matter head on.
All that says nothing about Ryan Lewis managing to keep a nine-minute beat from being boring or singer Jamila Woods somberly closing it out. These things just tend to take a backseat when Macklemore makes a nine-minute song about white privilege.