Macklemore Describes Addiction Setbacks, Recalls Copying Freestyle Fellowship

Macklemore also talks about why his struggles have allowed him to connect with others through songs like "Otherside" and "Starting Over."

Macklemore, who has had chart-topping success with Ryan Lewis in the last year, recently spoke about his addiction to drugs and alcohol, saying that the struggles have helped him make music that connects with others. 

"If I wasn't a drug addict, if I wasn't somebody that always struggled with moderation, I wouldn't have written songs like 'Otherside' or 'Starting Over,'" Macklemore said in the second installment of his CRWN interview presented by MySpace. "Those records have connected with many, many, many people all over the world. You look at lapses and sure, at times, I'll be like, 'Man, I wish I was 22 years old, versus like, 30 years old. That would be awesome.' But it wasn't meant to be and I'm here. If I would have had this level of success at 22, I don't know if I would be here."

In his 20s, Macklemore was dealing with an addiction to alcohol and drugs, using marijuana, lean and cocaine, according to the rapper. Eventually, Macklemore said he sought help for his addiction troubles and later returned to his parents' home, where he said reality struck.

"The reality hits you," Macklemore said. "I wasted years of my life. You can't get those years back. There's nothing like the weight of knowing that, you felt like you missed your shot, you missed your opportunity. Here I am, at like 25 years old, back in with my parents. I had a chance at a Rap career and I blew it and I was depressed. I had faith and I was working a spiritual program that kept me going but it was some of the most difficult months of my life for sure because I blew it, I thought...Literally years of my life were just wasted. I couldn't remember them. It wasn't like the glory days. It was like I was a bastard. I was somebody that I didn't like, that I wasn't proud of it. I didn't really remember it. So, it was a very difficult time but that's what started the process of working with Ryan and making The VS. EP, was realizing that I had another shot at it. If the music that would turn into The VS. EP didn't connect with people, I was ready to give it up."

"Otherside," "Irish Celebration" and "Kings" were among the songs on The VS. EP.  

In the interview, Macklemore also spoke about his origins as a rapper. Macklemore was a young emcee who freestyled at partks, he said, and also one that copied Los Angeles, California Rap group, Freestyle Fellowship.

"I was trying to sound like other people," Macklemore said of his early rapping style. "I was trying to be super styled out to sound like Freestyle Fellowship in L.A. and everyone was biting people. You know, you go through that stage of, 'I'm gonna copy somebody else,' before you find yourself. Certain people just find themselves earlier or are really good at copying people. I was horrible at copying people." 

Freestyle Fellowship released several projects including 1991's To Whom It May Concern, 1993's Innercity Griots and 2011's The Promise

In the first installment of Macklemore's CRWN interview, he described ScHoolboy Q's reaction to "Same Love." The second part of the interview can be seen below. 

RELATED: Macklemore Describes ScHoolboy Q's Reaction To "Same Love" 


  • Corona Spokesperson

    We offered Macklemore a 5 year endorsement deal and he declined. Wanna be Eminem.

  • Detroit niggroe

    Awww poor white boy. Some struggle lol. Moving back in with your parents in the 'burbs cause you love to do coke n lean too much lol! Get the fuck outta here weak ass pop muthafucka. How bout us niggas who had NO parents n live in the hood dodging bullets n shit. Nobody wanna hear bout your weak ass story n struggle lol!


    Once a BITER, always a #POSER. Atmosphere did it first and did it better ... Yelawolf is HIP HOP ... This dude can go take Talib Kweli and Big K.R.I.T. on tour, but he still won't ever be a #COUNTRYCUZZIN ... What's the next track Macklemore? Hopefully you got your News Headlines alerts on lock -- maybe the NSA would be another good trending topic to make another GIMMICK TRACK

  • Vanbiguous

    Let the weak-minded homophobic haters start spouting on the boards. HipHopDX boards are a good place to lose all faith in humanity. People who hate on Macklemore have hardly even listened to the bulk of his stuff. But hip hop purists can't wrap there heards around a pretty good rapper rapping about things that actually matter in society. That's WACK to them.

  • Anonymous

    three words brown bag allstars

  • for real

    yo who is this guy

  • wergfwrg

    Wow he knows who Freestyle Fellowship are, that's pretty cool but he's still wack

  • Maureen A. Hammitt

    just as Patrick explained I'm alarmed that anybody able to profit $4602 in 4 weeks on the computer. have you read this webpage... Generally women lookin for a scholarship are probably fresh outta high school going away to college at the end of the month and are probably 17 or 18 year old! thats over half his age!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Every artist has their struggle. I don't like his music, but I can respect his acknowledging he made some bad choices before stardom came.

  • dirtydansanchez

    Yeah, it's funny how an obscure artist can become a sensation overnight after sucking dick for so long. I'm sure he's proud of himself for being a marketable white guy at the right time.

    • Anonymous

      real artists dont do business with people who rip off their die hard fans! BOYCOTT SOUL TEMPLE MUSIC! FUCK GHOSTFACE KILLAH, FUCK RZA, FUCK U GOD, FUCK TONY TOUCH!

    • A Person

      I don't give a damn, the music is good, get mad at the business, not the artist. Freakin bitter-ass people

    • Anonymous

      well unlike ghostface killah macklemore and his indie label will actually send you your albums if you buy them unlike soul temple records! BOYCOTT SOUL TEMPLE RECORDS search for it on facebook 260+ members!!

    • A Person

      He hasn't even released an album in 2013, and 12 Reasons to Die is better than his entire discography......

    • Anonymous

      You sound like a pissed of rapper who never made it! You can tell how ignorant you are by bringing race into it!! Mack has been holding hip hop down for over a decade. He's sold millions of records, sold out thousands of shows ! Haters gonna hate, but macklemore has the biggest rap album of 2013!!!! Lol macklemore gets the last laugh!!!

  • Violator

    "Otherside" instrumental, concept and mood was created by Red Hot Chili Peppers, one of the few non rap songs you still hear in hip hop clubs till this day. Don't act like you didn't just rap over someone else's beat like a mixtape. If you don't know what I'm talking about, F*** you

  • benben

    Um.... Okay it's really good he's not on drugs anymore, but look he's not the only one whose gone through stuff like that. You guys act like he's the only one who has been through that.

    • Vanbiguous

      I don't think anybody is acting that way. Nor is Macklemore. Just because other people deal with it too doesn't mean it should keep him from sharing his experience with addiction. Furthermore, he's a rare example of somebody in the rap genre who actually talks about addiction and overcoming it. Really the only other example I can think of is Eminem's Recovery. I don't think he's saying you can't do drugs, he's just saying there are people who can't handle it. They weren't wired to deal well with substances. A lot of people still stuck in the cycle of addiction listen to a lot of music that glorifies substance abuse, I know I did. It's good to have people saying that there are people who struggle with this, it's nothin to be ashamed of, and it can be overcome.

    • dude

      who is acting like he's the only person to go through that?

  • Anonymous

    Don't listen to his shit but love to shop at thrift stores.

  • Kenny

    Good to see he's beaten his demons and made something of himself.

  • dont matter

    im not fond of this guy but at least he looks up to Freestyle Fellowship. Even if i dont like his music, it is good to know there is respect for the pioneers

  • Slaughterhouse

    Royce Da 5'9" - Get The Dust Off (Freestyle)

  • COCA


    • Anonymous

      huh? most modern day hip-hop is pop music ya bish

    • A Person

      Modern Day hip hop fans don't like pop music, that is very very true. Plus all the shit on the radio is just that, shit.

    • R.Pgh

      because modern day hip hop 'fans' don't like it when someone is successful

    • Anonymous

      What struggle? - read the article

    • Anonymous

      What struggle?

    • TaZzZ

      Well said, the fact that he makes a point to craft complete songs with a clear message is indicative of his love for the craft, whether you get down with the message or not. With all the negativity in hip hop, I'm glad kids at least have guys like Mack to look up to... Addicts too, he makes you feel like you can live with your past and all those wasted years (no pun) may have happened for a reason

Most Popular News

Most Discussed News