March 17, 2014
Few people who have listened and enjoyed Macklemore would predict he would credit getting sober with the success of his music career.
Surprising M.T.V. News, he said: “I realized that music and me did not work if I was under the influence.”
Macklemore’s drug use aside, there isn’t much about the artist which follows the rules of prototyped genres. Macklemore aka Ben Haggerty, a white rapper out of punk rock Seattle, released “The Heist” advocating love, acceptance and charity shopping over name brands. His single “Thrift Shop” was the first to reach the Billboard Hot 100 chart without a major record label since 1994, hitting the number one spot in 2013. The success of his music and the credit he gives to his sobriety are a refreshing change of pace from many of his contemporaries.
Macklemore’s story lacks the sensationalism which typically earmarks talent in rap and hip hop circles. He grew up in the suburbs with loving and supportive parents who encouraged his musical interest at a young age. While he spent his adolescence and young adulthood skipping school and experimenting with drugs and alcohol, he managed to finish high school and earn a bachelor’s degree.
He speaks candidly about abusing prescription drugs and alcohol and the damaging effect this had on his musical aspirations. An intervention by his father in 2005 brought him into treatment and introduced him to a program of recovery.
He credits his sober community for their support and understanding in the growth he has made since. It was in 2008 when he met Ryan Lewis that the two began making music together, and he acknowledges having a spiritual program and recovery is the reason he was able to do it.
The humble transparency and easy going manner he is willing to operate with given the level of success he has achieved is remarkable. In an industry of flashy polished image and sensation-driven media, he presents himself as imperfect and comfortable with it.
Macklemore’s recovery from addiction is part of what makes him a success; that he willingly shares his mistakes and inspires his fans to a way of life, which is better without drugs and alcohol.
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