Macklemore recently spoke about perceptions and his competitive nature.
“I’m a competitive person,” Macklemore said in an interview with New York radio station Power 105.1. “I understand why people get put into boxes. Once you have a song like a ‘Thrift Shop,’ or even a ‘Can’t Hold Us,’ it’s easy for people to label it one thing, but if you listen to the body of the album, if you listen to the work, if you do some YouTube searches, I think it’s easy to see, first and foremost, I’m an emcee. That’s where this all started from. I’m competitive. I’m a rapper. I’m good at it. That’s my job.”
As a rapper, Macklemore says that he was inspired by Kendrick Lamar’s verse on Big Sean’s “Control.”
“Every single rapper, when that record dropped, spent that night writing angry battle raps,” Macklemore said. “I was definitely one of them. I wasn’t pissed, but for like 48 hours, I was like, ‘Hell no. I’ve gotta step my game up.’ That’s what it is. That’s the beautiful thing about that record. It has people talking. Everyone knows it. Everyone’s competitive. If you get on a song with somebody else, there’s not one rapper in the game that’s not like, ‘I want to have the best verse. I’m trying to out-rap the dude next to me.’ That’s natural. Kendrick is a competitive dude. He’s always said it and he works his ass off. I think he’s at that place in the game where he can say something like that and back it up. That’s the beautiful thing. It challenges everyone else to raise their bars and work as hard as he does.”
Discussing his roots as an emcee, Macklemore also recalled being a “backpack rapper.”
“I’m like a backpack rapper,” Mackelmore said. “That’s how I came up. I came up as a backpack rapper, underground Hip Hop. The fact that a song about thrift shops popped off the way that it did…I mean, we didn’t think we had one single on the entire album, much less three.”
In a previous interview with Power 105.1, Macklemore addressed being labeled as both a backpack rapper and a conscious emcee.
“I just think it’s corny,” Macklemore said. “I’m not more or less conscious than anybody else. I’m a full spectrum of a human being. There’s songs that are deep and personal and might bring up some social issues, but that’s not the full side of me. I think that it’s a box that’s just corny. It’s very outdated. It’s very underground Hip Hop backpackerish and that’s not the music I make.”