Boston Rappers on…Macklemore

The biggest rapper in the country plays the TD Garden this month. What does Boston think of him?


Photograph by Zoe Rain

This has been the year of Macklemore. In 2013 the Seattle-based rapper saw three of his songs top the charts, snagged awards from MTV and BET, and appeared on Ellen—twice. While he used to play at Boston’s smaller clubs, such as the Paradise, this time around, he’s headlining the biggest stage in town: the TD Garden, on November 8.

Macklemore has become known for his unconventional subject matter—gay marriage in “Same Love,” thrift shops in “Thrift Shop”—as well as his painfully keen self-awareness. “Am I just another white boy who has caught on to the trend?” he asked in “White Privilege,” a 2005 track. “When I take a step to the mike, is hip-hop closer to the end?”

Good question. For answers, we turned to a few of Boston’s best-known white rappers, from Slaine—who appeared in Ben Affleck’s The Town—to Emerson grad F. Virtue, who came out as gay this summer in his single “Anita Bryant.”


His hustle was crazy, and you got to give credit where credit is due. But I feel like his music is very safe, politically correct, and has no edge. I understand why it’s big, and the type of audience he caters to, and God bless him. I’m not dissing him, it’s just not my thing. Rating: 2/5


Personally I don’t like his music. I don’t like his pronunciation and think that he is feminizing hip-hop. I’m not a fan of the hipster movement and am a masculine guy. I’m about being a man. He’s too soft for me. He probably loves kittens. Rating: 1/5


“Same Love” is a song I agree with, thought about, and could have written if I had the balls to…but I didn’t. That’s why I respect him so much as an artist. Maybe some ideas other than “pop bottles, get money” will sink in with the masses. He’s good for the art. Rating: 5/5


Macklemore is a very true artist and made a hugely positive impact. Having a straight man in rap stand up for gay equality opened the concept up to the public, allowing gay artists to be more openly received. Rating: 4/5

Macklemore in Boston:
A Proportional Timeline

December 2011
The Paradise
Capacity: 933 (Sold Out)

November 2012
House of Blues
Capacity: 2,425 (Sold Out)

April 2013
MIT’s JohnsonAthletic Center
Capacity: 3,750 (Sold Out)

November 2013
TD Garden
Capacity: 12,000+