Ben Haggerty (born June 19, 1983), known by his stage name Macklemore (/ˈmæk.ləmɔr/MAK-lə-mor) and formerly Professor Macklemore, is an American rapper. Since 2000, he has independently released one mixtape, three EPs and two albums and significantly collaborated with producer Ryan Lewis.
Macklemore and Lewis's single "Thrift Shop" reached number 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 2013. It was the first time since 1994 that a song reached number 1 on the Hot 100 chart without the support of a major record label. Their second single, "Can't Hold Us" also peaked at #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 number 1. Macklemore and Lewis released their debut studio album The Heist on October 9, 2012, which charted at number 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").
Haggerty was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. Though he was not born to a musical family, both of his parents were supportive of his musical ventures. His heritage is primarily Irish. Haggerty was six years old when hip hop first came in to his life by way of Digital Underground. According to a YouTube interview with Macklemore, he listened to and dubbed "parental advisory" music from the radio when he was an underage youth.
Macklemore recorded an EP titled Open Your Eyes in 2000 under the name Professor Macklemore, which he distributed himself. Macklemore dropped "Professor" from his name, and released his first official full-length album, The Language of My World in January 2005.
Macklemore first met Ryan Lewis in 2006. 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. He appeared as a featured artist on The Physics' song "Good" in 2009. 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 Amphitheater (central Washington state) and at the Outside Lands Music Festival in San Francisco. In September 2009, he released The Unplanned Mixtape. 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. He also released "Irish Celebration" in December 2009 in anticipation of the release of The Vs. EP.
In March 2010, the duo released "Stay At Home Dad," a track that didn't quite make Vs. 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. On April 8, 2011, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis performed the song at the 2011 Mariners Opening Day in front a sold-out crowd of nearly 48,000 attendees. "Wings" was released on January 21, 2011 along with "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. 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
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 Miller beer ad in UK and Ireland in June 2012, increasing Macklemore's recognition in Europe. "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.
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. "The Heist World Tour" began in August 2012 to promote The Heist.
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 concludes in 2013. Macklemore estimated the album would take less than three years to complete.
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 x Ryan Lewis an "indie rags-to-riches story". "Thrift Shop" was voted #1 in Australian radio station Triple J's Hottest 100 of 2012. 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 has two siblings. He became engaged to his girlfriend of seven years, Tricia Davis, on January 21, 2013. 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.
In August 2008, Macklemore admitted himself into rehab for drug addiction and alcoholism, and celebrated two years of sobriety before a brief relapse in 2011, which he describes in his song "Starting Over". 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 wanna be respected for that."
Macklemore is a fan of the Major League Baseball team the Seattle Mariners. He dedicated his song "My Oh My" as a tribute 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. Following the performance, Macklemore & 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", "a bunch of people that are Mariners fans probably don't consider hip hop, like, real music still". Ryan Lewis announced that all proceeds from the song benefit the Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club. He also supports the Seattle Seahawks.
^Franklin, Oliver (May 29, 2013). "Pumped up on "Thrift Shop": Macklemore & Ryan Lewis storm London". GQ. Condé Nast UK 2013. Retrieved June 13, 2013. "there was even bigger cheers for "Same Love", a heartfelt rap about same-sex marriage. When Haggerty prefaced "Starting Over" with a confession that he has been sober since 2008, the Empire went wild."