Before the February release of their second studio album This Unruly Mess I've Made, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis leaked "White Privilege II," their new single. It's a sequel to Macklemore's original 2005 song.
"White Privilege II" continues his message of political activism from previous songs. In this nine-minute track, Macklemore discusses the inherent advantages of being Caucasian and the Black Lives Matter movement.
"This song is the outcome of an ongoing dialogue with musicians, activists, and teachers within our community in Seattle and beyond," Macklemore and Ryan Lewis said in a statement. "Their work and engagement was essential to the creative process."
In "White Privilege II," Macklemore calls out White musicians, including himself, who "exploited" Black culture just to get wealthy. He also speaks about artists who mention Black Lives Matter on social media without providing any other support for the movement beyond that.
In 2014, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis won the Grammy for Best Rap Album, defeating several prominent African-American artists. Critics say the duo had an advantage because of their race and pop radio airplay. In the same year, Macklemore joined Black Lives Matter activists for a march during the Michael Brown case.
Collaborators on "White Privilege II" included vocalist Jamila Woods, poet Hollis Wong-Wear, educator Georgia Roberts, trumpet player Ahamefule J Oluo, anti-racist organizer Nikkita Oliver, activist Dustin Washington, musician Evan Flory-Barnes and anti-racist organizer Martin Friedman.
The popular Black Lives Matter chant of "no justice, no peace," is echoed throughout "White Privilege II."
In the song, Macklemore speaks about Caucasian fans that like his music, but do not like other hip-hop artists who mention "negative stuff" like Black Lives Matter.
Macklemore says we are "more concerned with being called a racist than we actually are with racism."
After concluding that White supremacy, as he describes it, provided him with other advantages that are not available to people of color, Macklemore perfectly delivers advice to Caucasians.
"The best thing White people can do is talk to each other," he says in the song. "And having those very difficult, very painful conversations with your parents, with your family members, I think one of the critical questions for White people in this society is what are you willing to risk, what are you willing to sacrifice to create a more just society?"
The song already reached the top of the Billboard and Twitter trending charts after one day.
Cover image via Shutterstock.