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Macklemore Talks to Rolling Stone about Recent Successes and Sobriety


Rapper Macklemore speaks candidly about his struggle to stay sober through his recent meteoric rise to top the pop charts and his overnight surge in popularity, in an interview with Rolling Stone that hits newsstands today. As his fame has exploded recently, so has his schedule, which has put a burden on his sobriety. “The last three months haven’t been good for me – the pressure, the expectation, the lack of sleep, the stress, the traveling,” he explains to Rolling Stone. “I can’t escape Macklemore. I just want to get the fuck out of my own head.”

The artist also discusses his improbable and challenging journey to commercial success, despite his struggles with substance abuse. Macklemore’s rise has been entirely self-made; he runs his own label, makes his music videos, and even produces promotional t-shirts and posters in-house.  His vibrant song “Thrift Shop,” off his first studio album The Heist with producer Ryan Lewis, reached Number One on the Billboard Hot 100 on February 2nd and remained there for 5 weeks non-consecutively.  It’s also only the second independently released single to top the charts in history, since Lisa Loeb’s “Stay (I Missed You)” almost 20 years ago. The comically effervescent music video for the song has been viewed almost 180 million times on Youtube.

Macklemore, whose given name is Ben Haggarty, has stuggled with substance abuse in the past, including an OxyContin addiction. In 2008 he attended rehab for drug addiction, alcoholism, as well as related compulsive behaviors. Macklemore relapsed in 2011 when he was prescribed Codeine cough syrup after a long tour and began to abuse it. This is the subject of his song “Starting Over,” which is also off his record The Heist. He attributed his relapse to not attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings due his touring schedule. In the article, Macklemore seems to be back on the wagon, as he takes Rolling Stone to a late-night AA meeting in Austin, Texas during the South by Southwest music festival. Though it’s his first meeting in two months, he still recognizes the importance of attending meetings and working a program, saying: “It’s very important to go into the rooms of AA, smell the shitty coffee and be reminded that without sobriety, I would have no career.”

Though he is currently receiving notoriety for his youthful romp, “Thrift Shop,” Macklemore also has a passionate, authentic side that permeates many of his songs. He is a breath of fresh air in a genre overflowed with boastful, superficial, and self-important subject matter; He doesn’t subscribe to the major hip-hop food groups, i.e. money, women, drugs, and violence. His raps often have an abundance of meaning, as well as political and social commentary. He and Ryan Lewis also voice their support for gay rights in the song “Same Love.” Macklemore is a great example for today’s youth, not only because of his unwavering realness but also because he is willing to be vulnerable; he is willing to share his struggles with substances and alcohol as well as his life experiences. This honesty makes his songs relatable and memorable, thus he is a rare gem in today’s rap game.


Works Cited

Clinch, D. (2013, March 28). Macklemore Opens Up About His Struggle to Stay Sober. Retrieved March 29, 2013, from Rolling Stone:


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A staff writer here at T4A, Roscoe enjoys investigating and writing on a variety of topics concerning addiction and mental health. His articles cover everything from the latest news stories to his own experiences with addiction and/or mental illness. He is a recovering alcoholic from New York, NY who is grateful not only to be sober, but also to have a life back. His interests include reading, writing, running, and anything involving the outdoors. Now that he is sober, he hopes to graduate college in the next few years with a degree in Business. He strives daily maintain a positive attitude and to work on himself; to make up for all of his past wrongdoings, and to give back by helping those who are struggling. Roscoe cherishes the opportunity to share his thoughts and ideas through the T4A blog, and welcomes any sort of feedback from readers!

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