Watch Kendrick Lamar + Macklemore Perform at Paid Dues Festival
Hip-hop fans in San Bernadino, Calif. got a treat over the weekend, thanks to the return of the Paid Dues Independent Hip-Hop Festival on Saturday (March 30).
As Idolator reports, this year’s lineup boasted an impressive mix of veterans and newer artists, with Immortal Technique, Killer Mike, Tech N9ne, and Talib Kweli sharing the bill with up-and-comers such as Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore. And as the Billboard charts can attest, it’s those younger artists who are currently demonstrating indie hip-hop’s increased muscle on the charts.
Of course, the debate over what exactly constitutes “indie” has only intensified in the wake of all this success, with Macklemore’s chart-topping hit ‘Thrift Shop’ proving a particularly thorny point of argument. As NPR points out, ‘Thrift Shop’ rose to No. 1 at least partly due to the strength of its deal with the Warner Music Group-financed Alternative Distribution Alliance. Meanwhile, Lamar is signed with Top Dawg Entertainment, an indie that signed a joint venture deal with major imprints Aftermath and Interscope in 2012.
But as Hypebot counters, all this finger-pointing is just the hip-hop equivalent of the ongoing rock argument over “authenticity” — and if Macklemore and Lamar aren’t independent, then neither are the xx or the Lumineers.
Either way, we know where Macklemore stands — as he put it in his Paid Dues performance (embedded below), “We put out that song, and it went No. 1 on Billboard and it’s an independent record. We didn’t sign s—. That s— went to No. 1 on the strength of the people.”
Watch Macklemore Perform at the Paid Dues Festival