With his first new music in months coming in the form of a centerpiece feature on singer Fence’s debut single and video “Arrows” released yesterday (August 11), Macklemore described the video’s symbolism and high expectations for a follow-up to 2012’s The Heist in an interview with Rolling Stone.
Explaining the motivation behind his rapping from inside a cage in the video, Macklemore said he “oftentimes [feels] like a spectacle.” "There is this feeling, just walking around now, like, 'I'm not even a human being,’” he said. “People are taking pictures of you. They don't even ask you. There's a lack of any sort of privacy. You don't know what that is until you're in that box. I try to go about my life with the utmost gratitude, but there are times when you're like, 'I feel like an animal stuck inside of these bars.'"
On his quick rise to fame alongside Ryan Lewis thanks to the success of a handful of Heist singles in 2013, Macklemore detailed the experience of losing control of his music as a function of success. “Once the general public gets ahold of that art, it takes on a new shape,” he said, echoing a sentiment he raps about on “Arrows.” “It's its own living, breathing organism that is separate from the intention that it was created with in the first place. There's times where you flirt with the idea of, 'Would I be happier if I was a normal person making art in my bedroom?'–versus putting it out for the world and being molded into whatever they want to mold me into."
“It's the ladder of success, the ladder of fame," he later said, describing a scene from the video in which he jumps into a pool full of his Rolling Stone cover magazine. "You climb to the top and you look down and you have that choice: 'Am I going to take this jump into fame? Do I really want to take this plunge?' And I do, and I get shot with an arrow. And that's the other side of what this industry is...Obviously, to get the cover of Rolling Stone is such an iconic milestone in anyone's career. Your life will never be the same once you take that plunge. I remember when that issue came out, walking around an airport and seeing my face all over everywhere, and being like, ‘This has changed now. Once you go this far, you can't go back.'"
Detailing the difficulty in moving forward with new music, Macklemore admitted feeling sometimes at odds with listeners. "It's definitely challenging when the world misunderstands what your intention is, but I wouldn't trade anything that happened," he said. "It gives you another layer, a callus, that forces to you to go internally and figure out some of your wiring that you might not have been forced to do had you not been put in that situation."
With plans to fully return to the studio in September according to the article, Macklemore added that “there’s a ton of pressure” on the duo’s next steps. "We're definitely working on the next album," he said. "Ryan's got a lot of beats, I've got a lot of writing. Obviously there's a ton of pressure—it's a sophomore album, and we never thought The Heist would be as big as it was. Now we have to live up to that."
Watch the video for Fences' Elektra Records debut "Arrows" on HipHopDX here.