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Adele Said ‘No Thanks’ to Macklemore Collaboration

Kevin Merritt / Michael Kovac, Getty Images
Kevin Merritt / Michael Kovac, Getty Images

This Unruly Mess I’ve Made, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s sophomore full-length, is bursting at the seams with special guests including Leon Bridges, rap veterans Melle Mel and Kool Moe Dee and Chicago’s Chance the Rapper. One artist you won’t find on the album? Adele — but not for lack of trying on the duo’s part.

In a New York Times interview with critic Jon Caramanica, Macklemore (born Ben Haggerty) and Lewis discuss their new album and the ups and downs that followed the success of their debut and 2014 Grammy wins. They also field heady questions such as “Do you feel like being a white rapper is implicitly political?” On a lighter note, when asked if any potential collaborators turned them down during recording, Macklemore admits the “Hello” singer wasn’t interested.

Macklemore & Lewis say they asked Adele to guest on “Growing Up,” the rapper’s open letter to his infant daughter that was first released back in August 2015. Ed Sheeran handled the chorus instead, so all’s well that ends well (if you enjoy the song “Growing Up”). Besides, Macklemore says, Adele was nice about it.

“She graciously passed,” he tells Caramanica. “I’m sure that there were times that we never heard back from somebody’s manager or something like that, but for the most part, no.”

Macklemore also reflected on the events that followed his 2014 Grammy wins, when he texted crowd favorite Kendrick Lamar to essentially apologize, and went on to share that text on social media. Why did he do it?

“I think that I reacted out of a place of fear. Being able to see the machine for what it is and then still benefiting that from that machine,” he says, referring to the theory that Grammy voters would favor a white rap artist over a non-white one. “Knowing who makes up committees, who the program directors are, who the intended audience is, mainstream success, white America: When you look at all these things and how they add up, I felt conflicted about the win. As much as I still probably believe what that sentiment was, doing that in a public space was a mistake.”

Read the full interview at the New York Times.

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