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Macklemore The Heist Tour 1 cropped.jpg
Macklemore performing in Toronto during The Heist Tour in November 2012
Background information
Birth name Ben Haggerty
Also known as Professor Macklemore
Born (1983-06-19) June 19, 1983 (age 31)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Occupation(s) Rapper
Years active 2000–present
Labels Macklemore LLC
Associated acts

Ben Haggerty (born June 19, 1983),[1] known by his stage name Macklemore (/ˈmæk.ləmɔr/ MAK-lə-mor)[2][3] and formerly Professor Macklemore, is an American rapper. Since 2000, he has independently released one mixtape, three EPs, and two albums. He has significantly collaborated with producer Ryan Lewis.

Macklemore and Lewis' single "Thrift Shop" reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 2013.[4] The single was premiered on commercial radio by radio personality Jay Postal on September 2, 2012, and was soon dubbed the first song since 1994 to top the Hot 100 chart without the support of a major record label by Billboard, although Macklemore, in a slightly unusual recording contract, pays a nominal percentage of sales to use Warner Bros. Records’ radio promotion department to push his singles.[5][6] Their second single, "Can't Hold Us" also peaked at No. 1 of the Hot 100 Chart, making Macklemore and Lewis the first duo in the chart's history to have their first two singles both reach the peak position.[7] Macklemore and Lewis released their debut studio album The Heist on October 9, 2012, which charted at No. 2 on the US Billboard 200 chart. The pair was nominated for seven Grammy awards at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, winning four awards including Best New Artist, Best Rap Album (The Heist), Best Rap Song, and Best Rap Performance ("Thrift Shop"). Thrift Shop has gained approximately 703 million YouTube views as of May 10, 2015.

Early life and influences[edit]

Haggerty was born one of two boys and raised with his brother Tim in Seattle, Washington.[8] His heritage is primarily Irish.[9] Haggerty was six years old when hip hop first came into his life by way of Digital Underground.[10][11] According to a YouTube interview with Macklemore, he listened to "parental advisory" music from the radio when he was an underage youth.[12]

Macklemore was 14 when he started writing lyrics.[10][11] When he started to rap, Macklemore listened to "a lot of East Coast underground hip hop", with Freestyle Fellowship, Aceyalone, Living Legends, Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, and Talib Kweli being big influences on him.[12] Interested in reaching a younger generation through his music, he was a part of a program focusing on education and cultural identity called "Gateways for Incarcerated Youth" where he facilitated music workshops.[13]

He earned a bachelor's degree from The Evergreen State College in 2009.[13][14]

Music career[edit]

2000–2005: Career beginnings[edit]

Macklemore recorded an EP titled Open Your Eyes in 2000 under the name Professor Macklemore, which he distributed himself. The origin of the name Macklemore is from when Haggerty attended Nathan Hale High School and was required to invent a superhero for an art project [15] Macklemore dropped "Professor" from his name, and released his first official full-length album, The Language of My World in January 2005.

2005–2011: Comeback and The VS. series[edit]

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis at Sasquatch! Music Festival (2011)

Macklemore first met Ryan Lewis in 2006.[16] Lewis spent a few years working on Macklemore's promotion as a photographer. They would soon become good friends. Lewis would go on to produce for Macklemore, the two eventually working full-time as a title-credited duo.[12] He appeared as a featured artist on The Physics' song "Good" in 2009.[17] In 2008, 2009, and 2011, Macklemore performed at Bumbershoot, a major arts and music festival in Seattle. In 2011, he also performed at the Sasquatch Music Festival in The Gorge Amphitheatre and at the Outside Lands Music Festival in San Francisco.[18][19] The VS. EP with Ryan Lewis and The Unplanned Mixtape were released in 2009, followed by The VS. Redux the next year. The latter would reach No. 7 on the iTunes Hip Hop chart. Macklemore's debut single "The Town" was released from The Unplanned Mixtape and later remixed by Sabzi of the Blue Scholars.[20][21] He also released "Irish Celebration" in December 2009 in anticipation of the release of The Vs. EP.[22]

In March 2010, the duo released "Stay At Home Dad", a track that didn't quite make Vs.[23] In late April 2010, he performed an impromptu set at a house party at Colorado College. The set consisted of his track "And We Danced", two consecutive times in front of over two hundred fans. In October 2010, he teamed up with producer Ryan Lewis to create the VS. Redux EP. Macklemore used his experience with substance abuse to create the mixtape's critically acclaimed song "Otherside", which samples the Red Hot Chili Peppers song of the same title. In December 2010, he released a tribute song named "My Oh My" for recently deceased Seattle Mariners broadcaster Dave Niehaus, which has received extensive coverage in Seattle media sources.[24][25][26][27] On April 8, 2011, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis performed the song at the 2011 Mariners Opening Day in-front of a sold-out crowd of nearly 48,000 attendees.[28][29][30] "Wings" was released on January 21, 2011, followed by "Can't Hold Us" featuring Ray Dalton on August 16, 2011. In February 2011, Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis kicked off a multi-city tour in Pullman, Washington, which included three sold-out shows at Showbox at the Market, a Seattle music venue.[31] That same year, the rapper appeared at many U.S. music festivals, including Bumbershoot, Outside Lands, Lollapalooza, Rock the Bells, SoundSet, Sasquatch, and Bonnaroo.

2012–present: The Heist and upcoming third studio album[edit]

Macklemore performing during The Heist Tour in November 2012

His album The Heist was released in October 2012. Previously released singles "My Oh My", "Wings", and "Can't Hold Us" were announced to be included on the album – as was the song "Make the Money". "Can't Hold Us" was used as soundtrack for a Miller beer ad in UK and Ireland in June 2012, increasing Macklemore's recognition in Europe.[citation needed] "Same Love" was released on July 18, 2012, and songs "White Walls" featuring ScHoolboy Q and "Jimmy Iovine" featuring Ab-Soul were confirmed to be included on the album.

Macklemore at Southside Festival 2014 in Neuhausen ob Eck

The Heist debuted on the US Billboard 200 at number 2 of the week dated October 27, 2012, selling over 78,000 copies. On October 30, 2012 Macklemore and Ryan Lewis appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show performing their single "Same Love" and then again on January 18, 2013, performing their single "Thrift Shop", which they had sung previously on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on December 11, 2012. The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks, giving them their first number 1 hit in the US. In January 2013, Music Choice featured Macklemore in the brand new series "Primed", which focuses on emerging artists. In May 2013, Haggerty was featured on Clinton Sparks' single "Gold Rush", along with 2 Chainz and D.A.[32] "The Heist World Tour" began in August 2012 to promote The Heist.[33]

On January 26, 2014, Macklemore performed "Same Love" at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, where Queen Latifah read marriage vows for 33 couples who lined the aisles.[34] "This is a love song, not for some of us but for all of us," she said, followed by an appearance from Madonna singing "Open Your Heart".[34]

In August 2013, Macklemore stated that he and Lewis would begin working on a new album once they have taken a break after The Heist Tour concluded in 2013. Macklemore estimated the album would take less than three years to complete.[35]

In January 2015, Macklemore announced via Twitter that his third studio album will be released sometime in the second half of the year.[36]


Macklemore was in the Unsigned Hype in The Source in early 2012 and was also on the cover of XXL Magazine as part of the Freshman Class of 2012. Rolling Stone called Macklemore and Ryan Lewis an "indie rags-to-riches story".[37] "Thrift Shop" was voted #1 in Australian radio station Triple J's Hottest 100 of 2012.[38] Their song "Same Love" also featured highly, coming in at #15 in the countdown. The Hottest 100 is the world's largest music poll held every year on Australia Day, and currently attracts over 1 million votes from within Australia and around the world. There was a three-page article on Macklemore's career in the February 8, 2013 issue of ESPN the Magazine.

Macklemore received seven Grammy award nominations at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, which included Best New Artist, Album of the Year, Song of the Year ("Same Love"), and Best Music Video ("Can't Hold Us").[39] On January 26, 2014, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis won four Grammy awards including those for Best New Artist, Best Rap Album (The Heist), Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance ("Thrift Shop").[40]

Personal life[edit]

Macklemore at the official Seattle Seahawks post game party in Jersey City after Super Bowl XLVIII (February 2014)

He became engaged to his girlfriend of seven years, Tricia Davis, on January 21, 2013.[41] On January 3, 2015, he announced on his Twitter account that he and his fiancée were expecting their first child that May.[42] Macklemore voiced his support of LGBT rights and same-sex marriage in the song "Same Love", which also condemns homophobia in mainstream hip-hop, society, and mass media.[43] Macklemore was criticized for a performance he gave at Seattle’s Experience Music Project in May 2014 where he was dressed as a stereotypical Jew. Although many still criticized the props he used, Haggerty claims he just picked up random moustaches, beards, and a fake nose in Japan. He has also been criticized for supporting 9/11 conspiracy theories.[44]

In August 2008, Macklemore admitted himself into rehab for drug addiction and alcoholism,[45][46] and celebrated two years of sobriety before a brief relapse in 2011, which he describes in his song "Starting Over".[47] He said in a 2012 documentary that he spent most of his twenties trying to combat his addictions and destructive way of life, saying "I want to be someone who is respected and not just in terms of my music. I want to be respected in terms of the way that I treat people... Music is my creative outlet in terms of expressing what is important to me; what has importance, what has a value. And I want to be respected for that."[16]

Macklemore is a fan of his hometown team, the Seattle Mariners. He dedicated his song "My Oh My" to sportscaster Dave Niehaus, who died in November 2010, with a performance before 50,000 fans who attended the 2011 Mariners Opening Day at Safeco Field.[48] Following the performance, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were each awarded a custom jersey embedded with a Mariners patch. He has acknowledged baseball and hip hop music as not being "intrinsically linked", saying "a bunch of people that are Mariners fans probably don't consider hip hop, like, real music still".[49] Ryan Lewis announced that all proceeds from the song benefit the Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club.[50] Macklemore is also a fan of the Seattle Seahawks.[51][52]


Awards and nominations[edit]

American Music Awards

Year Recipient Award Result
2013 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Artist of the Year Nominated
New Artist of the Year Nominated
Favorite Pop/Rock Band/Duo/Group Nominated
Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist Won
The Heist Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album Won
"Thrift Shop" Single of the Year Nominated

AIM Awards

Year Recipient Award Result
2013 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (Macklemore LLC) Independent breakthrough of the year Won
PPL award for most played new independent act Won
"Thrift Shop" Independent video of the year Nominated

ARIA Awards

Year Recipient Award Result
2013 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Best International Artist Nominated

BET Awards

Year Recipient Award Result
2013 "Thrift Shop" Video of the Year Nominated
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Best Group Won
2014 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Best Group Nominated

BET Hip Hop Awards

Year Recipient Award Result
2013 "Same Love" Impact Track Nominated
"Can't Hold Us" People's Champ Award Nominated

Billboard Music Awards

Year Recipient Award Result
2013 The Heist Rap Album of the Year Nominated
"Thrift Shop" Rap Song of the Year Won
Top Digital Song Nominated
2014 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Top Duo/Group Nominated
Top Digital Songs Artist Nominated
Top Streaming Artist Nominated
Top Rap Artist Nominated
"Thrift Shop" Top Streaming Song (Video) Nominated
Top Rap Song Nominated
"Can't Hold Us" Top Streaming Song (Audio) Nominated
Top Rap Song Won
The Heist Top Rap Album Nominated

Brit Awards

Year Recipient Award Result
2014 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis International Group Nominated

Grammy Awards

Year Recipient Award Result
2014[53] "Same Love" Song of the Year Nominated
The Heist Album of the Year Nominated
Best Rap Album Won
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Best New Artist Won
"Thrift Shop" Best Rap Performance Won
Best Rap Song Won
"Can't Hold Us" Best Music Video Nominated

iHeartRadio Music Awards

Year Recipient Award Result
2014 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Artist of the Year Nominated
Best New Artist Nominated

Los Premios 40 Principales

Year Recipient Award Result
2013 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Best International New Act Won
"Can't Hold Us" Best International Video Nominated

MTV Europe Music Awards

Year Recipient Award Result
2013 "Thrift Shop" Best Song Nominated
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Best New Artist Won
Best Hip-Hop Artist Nominated
Best World Stage Performance Nominated
Best US Act Nominated

MTV Video Music Awards

Year Recipient Award Result
2013 "Thrift Shop" Video of the Year Nominated
"Can't Hold Us" Best Hip-Hop video Won
Best Cinematography Won
Best Direction Nominated
Best Editing Nominated
"Same Love" Best Video with a Message Won

MTV Video Music Awards Japan

Year Recipient Award Result
2014 Same Love Best Hip-Hop Video Nominated

mtvU Woodie Awards

Year Recipient Award Result
2013 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Branching Out Woodie Won

Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards

Year Recipient Award Result
2014 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Favorite Music Group Nominated

NRJ Music Awards

Year Recipient Award Result
2014 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis International Duo/Group of the Year Nominated
International Breakthrough of the Year Nominated

MuchMusic Video Awards

Year Recipient Award Result
2013 "Thrift Shop" International Video of the Year - Group Won
2014 "White Walls" International Video of the Year - Group Nominated

O Music Awards

Year Recipient Award Result
2013 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Best Web-Born Artist Nominated

Teen Choice Awards

Year Recipient Award Result
2013 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Choice Music: Hip-Hop/Rap Artist Won
Choice Music: Breakout Group Nominated
Choice Summer Music Star: Group Nominated
"Can't Hold Us" Choice Music: R&B/Hip-Hop Track Won
"Thrift Shop" Choice Music: Single By A Group Nominated

People's Choice Awards

Year Recipient Award Result
2014 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Favorite Hip Hop Artist Won

YouTube Music Awards

Year Recipient Award Result
2013 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis YouTube Breakthrough Won
Artist of the Year Nominated
Video of the Year Nominated

MTV Italian Music Awards

Year Recipient Award Result
2014 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Best Band Nominated

APRA Music Awards

Year Recipient Award Result
2014 "Can't Hold Us" International Work of the Year Nominated


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External links[edit]