People could hear a proverbial pin drop when Macklemore & Ryan Lewis bested Kendrick Lamar at the 2014 Grammy Awards in the Best Rap Album category. Macklemore made matters worse when he texted Kendrick “you got robbed” and posted the private message on Instagram, which he later admitted was a mistake.
Eight years later, the win continues to haunt the “Thrift Shop” rapper. Shortly after Jack Harlow’s latest solo single “First Class” landed at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, many wondered if his race played a role in his success.
Top Dawg Entertainment president Terrence “Punch” Henderson was one of them. On Tuesday (April 19), he dragged Macklemore into his argument as he tried to illustrate how much harder Black artists have to work to get to the top.
“It’s really crazy how exceptional we have to be as oppose to other folks,” he tweeted. “They just need a C+ average basically. If that. We really have to talk about it at some point.
“Kendrick is fine. He’s been going hard at a high level from 04-2018 as far as output. He can take as much time as he wants. But he’s also experienced C+ artist get more acclaim and opportunity than his A+ efforts. Look at his first Grammy experience.”
He added, “I guess I wasn’t really clear here because a lot of ppl missed the point. Racism. Systemic racism. That’s the point.”
I guess I wasn’t really clear here because a lot of ppl missed the point. Racism. Systemic racism. That’s the point.
— Punch TDE (@iamstillpunch) April 19, 2022
While Jack Harlow certainly benefits from white privilege, TikTok had a hand in pushing “First Class” to the top. Built on a sample of Fergie and Ludacris’ 2007 chart-topping hit “Glamorous,” the song earned over 420,000 sales in its opening week and 54.6 million streams, marking the biggest streaming debut for a song since Drake, Future and Young Thug‘s “Way 2 Sexy” last September.
“First Class” is set to land on Harlow‘s upcoming sophomore album Come Home The Kids Miss You, which is expected to arrive on May 6. The project includes the previously released “Nail Tech.”
As for Kendrick, he finally announced the title and release date of his forthcoming album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, five years after the Pulitzer Prize-winning album DAMN. The highly anticipated project is scheduled to drop on May 13.