Macklemore's 'White Privilege II' tackles race issues

Macklemore's new song "White Privilege II" is drawing praise in some quarters and derision in others.

Story highlights

  • Macklemore and Ryan Lewis take on "White Privilege"
  • Song has received praise, condemnation on social media

(CNN)Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are finding supporters -- and critics -- for their new song, "White Privilege II."

The new tune, which Macklemore discussed Friday on social media, explores racism, police shootings and the Black Lives Matter movement.
"They're chanting out, 'Black Lives Matter,' but I don't say it back," he says in the song. "Is it OK for me to say? I don't know, so I watch and stand in front of a line of police that look the same as me."
    The "Thrift Store" rapper echoed his critics who have called him out for being a white rapper, "You've exploited and stolen the music, the moment, the magic, the passion, the fashion," he says.
    Macklemore dropped some big names to which he has been compared.
    "The culture was never yours to make better. You're Miley. You're Elvis. You're Iggy Azalea.
    Fake and so plastic, you've heisted the magic."
    Australian-born rapper Azalea wasn't happy. She responded to a fan on Twitter regarding the reference saying, "he shouldn't have spent the last 3 yrs having friendly convos and taking pictures together at events etc if those were his feelings."
    "This song is the outcome of an ongoing dialogue with musicians, activists, and teachers within our community in Seattle and beyond," says the website for the song.
    Macklemore confronts his "white privilege" in lines such as this, "We take all we want from Black culture, but will we show up for black lives?"
    Macklemore, who is no stranger to criticism, faced some backlash following his and Lewis' Grammy win for best new artist in 2014. At the time, Macklemore texted fellow nominee Kendrick Lamar, "You got robbed. I wanted you to win."
    The new song has ignited a slew of responses on social media both praising and condemning Macklemore.