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.