Conflicts of a Culture: 1 on 1 with “WINGS” Artist Macklemore

3357 43

Macklemore

“I think that Phil Knight (co-founder and Chairman of Nike, Inc.) has probably made billions of dollars or millions and millions of dollars off of being extremely good at manipulating the masses. But I love his shoes!” – Macklemore

We can, and will always appreciate hip-hop artists that pinpoint sneakers as the focal point of their songs. Usually, we witness artists rapping about how many sneakers smother the walls of their closets or how they are sporting retros months before the official release date; however, Seattle, Washington based artist Macklemore brings a different, more controversial perspective to the sneaker culture.

Macklemore’s new song/video, WINGS, is a powerful story about American youth and their struggle to find their way in a culture dominated by consumerism, obsession and wanting to “Be Like Mike”. Following the debut of WINGS last week, we caught up with the candid, openhearted rapper to discuss a number of contentious topics pertaining to the sneaker culture. Specifically, Macklemore touched on the conflict of sneakers and their current prices, the correlation between sneakers and drugs and most of all his thoughts on co-founder and Chairman of Nike, Inc. Phil Knight.

Check out our in-depth, 1 on 1 interview with Macklemore below.

Macklemore

Macklemore's "WINGS" Graphic

Nice Kicks: We have came across a number of sneaker tribute songs within the past few years; however, we have never heard a sneaker inspired song from the perspective you decided to go with on WINGS. What motivated you to portray the sneaker culture in such a controversial light?

Macklemore: I knew that I wanted to do a song about shoes. I’ve been a sneakerhead ever since I was a little kid because I was always into Nikes, Jordans and just shoes in general. So, I knew I wanted to do a song about it, but I didn’t know the perspective I wanted to hit. It started off with me just talking about my closet, but then I realized this isn’t any different than any other song coming out. I wanted to see how I could examine the subject matter of shoes and go a little bit deeper into the origin of the sneaker culture.

Nice Kicks: We spotted a video of you performing WINGS in Wisconsin awhile back. Usually, we associate big sneaker cultures in big cities like New York and Los Angeles, but the Wisconsin crowd knew WINGS word for word. What does it mean to you to see a sneaker-associated song touch such a wide array of people nationwide, let alone worldwide?

Macklemore: It’s those types of situations that have led me to understand how universal Jordans are. Leading into the song, I usually ask the crowd how many people have ever owned a pair of Nikes; it’s usually between 85%-95% of the hands go up. For Jordans, it’s about 60%-80%, depending on where you are. As a youth growing up in the late 80s, or 90s or 2000s, you either had a pair of Jordans or you knew tons of people that did. So, it’s a world topic. The response has been crazy. It’s a sneakerhead song, but it is something that has a deeper meaning just in the consumption in American culture in general. It’s been crazy to see most people that haven’t been exposed to the sneaker culture still get it, and then also all of the people that really do relate on a first-hand basis. The response has been insane.

Nice Kicks: In the first verse of WINGS, you uplifted and praised the sneaker culture; yet, in the second verse, it seems as if you lost your infatuation with kicks and referred to them as “just another pair of shoes”. When did that transformation change for you in real life?

Macklemore: Honestly, it changed while I was writing. I didn’t go into it thinking I was going to be nostalgic and reminisce about my childhood and then bash Phil Knight in the second verse. It was more of a realization in the process of writing it. That wasn’t a plan to it. I think it’s something that I struggle with, and I think a lot of sneakerheads struggle with it too. Sneakers are a huge part of my life, but on the other aspect, they are extremely expensive. Sometimes it’s excess. Do we really need these 30-40 pairs of Jordans in the closet? What does this really mean? How does this define myself as an individual? Do these shoes make me fresh? I had proposed and thought about these questions before, but I never broke them down. This song was my attempt to break down my own, conflicted interest in the sneaker culture.

Macklemore

Some of Macklemore's sneaker collection

Nice Kicks: In the opening lines of WINGS, you mentioned that you were seven years old when you got your first pair. Was the Air Jordan 4 your first pair like the kid in the video?

Macklemore: Yeah, it was my first pair. I actually had the red and white 4s (“Fire Red” Air Jordan 4) as my first pair.

Nice Kicks: There was a ton of retros worn throughout the video. Did you handpick all of the retros or have a role in any other part of the video treatment?

Macklemore: No, I didn’t. That was actually the line for the “True Blue” 3s that came out. That was just the sneakerheads that were in line to get them at Niketown. I found out we had one more shot to shoot, so I told them to go down to Niketown, there is going to be kids out there in crazy shoes. So, the director did it and got that shot. It’s one of my favorites shots for sure.

Macklemore

A few of Macklemore's Air Jordans

 

“As a youth growing up in the late 80s, or 90s or 2000s, you either had a pair of Jordans or you knew tons of people that did. So, it’s a world topic…It’s a sneakerhead song, but it is something that has a deeper meaning just in the consumption in American culture in general.”

- Macklemore

Nice Kicks: We read that your rap career began at local open mic sessions in Seattle. Do you remember what shoes you rocked in your initial open mic sessions since that was a very important time in your life?

Macklemore: I remember, at the time, I had gotten a pair of the Scottie Pippen’s second signature shoe. I was in eighth grade. It was funny because at the time I was probably a size 10-10.5, but for some reason I thought it was cool to buy bigger pairs of shoes. So, I remember buying like a size 11.5-12 in these Scottie Pippens, which was already a big a** shoe; you know, it’s a big, bulky basketball shoe. I just looked ridiculous with these huge pair of Pippens with these little, tiny, pale, white chicken legs rocking the open mic.

About The Author

Editor-In-Chief of NiceKicks.com | Video Host of Sneak Peek, Kicks On Court Weekly and Sole Access | Founder of the Kick & Roll Classic Basketball Event

43 Comments on "Conflicts of a Culture: 1 on 1 with “WINGS” Artist Macklemore"

  1. the best part of recording my first album at Mack’s old studio back in 06 was talking kicks every single time! props to Ben for getting on here, we viewed this website many of times back in 06, crazy to read an interview here with him now!

  2. Nelsonjimenez10

    dope video!!! i really appreciate someone that keeps it real and isnt caught up in the hype! Much respect for the song and video! … and the interview!

  3. Emcmillion84

    Dislike the song, it’s all over the place! And as far as questioning the shoe game, I hope Air Jordans continue to cost alot! Would a Maybach be a Maybach if everyone could afford? Phil, Tinker, Mike, I support you guys! Keep the price up and the releases coming.

        • lyricalgenius

          You obviously hear music instead of Lisiten to it when’s the last time you bought you own pair of shoes I bet they wernt the new lebrons were they a $300 pair of shoes that already over a million people are buying and they arnt even in stores. Macklemores not just questioning the shoe game he’s telling the truth how everyone thinks and that’s if you have a logo you will be cool.

    • Moe

      I’m with you my boi let them hate on you I’m rocking J’s til I die!! And if he hate J’s so much than give’em to me!!!! This song is wack too!!!

    • metmanaman

      Only difference is that you actually have to have money to buy a Maybach. ?Plus, Jordans don’t cost several grand a month in maintenance. ?Any (and many) fool can go max out his or her credit card on the yearly retro releases. ?But, you know, if you like the taste of Phil’s, Tinker’s, and Mike’s sweaty jocks that much, hey, no judgment. ?You were born that way.

      • Moe

        Meth man has a good point if you are blowing money fast that you don’t have on over priced shoes than you are a douchbag !!!!!! All I’m saying is I don’t fall into that category !!!! It ain’t tricking if you got it!!!!

  4. I just paid $22.87 for an iPad2-64GB and my girlfriend loves her Panasonic Lumix GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $675 which only cost me $62.81 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from, WildCent.com

  5. I just paid $22.87 for an iPad2-64GB and my girlfriend loves her Panasonic Lumix GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $675 which only cost me $62.81 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from, WildCent.com

  6. Nice interview, cool read. That song is briliantly written, and the video is the most well produced bit of cinematic ive seen in forever. Love the part when the rain drops are slowed down and the trumpets kick in just as the song changes to this ferocious tempo. So wild. Awesome!

  7. Jus' Sayin'

    I don’t really like his voice/rap style, but I like his lyrics. ?Shit’s true. ?Wear your shoes, crease ‘em, and remember that they’re just shoes. ?People have died for shoes, killed for shoes, stolen for shoes, stole shoes. ?It’s just another way American culture is trying to get African Americans to kill each other. ?And people just sip the Kool-Aid, waiting for their meteor to pass.

  8. roach.famey

    macklemore makes being a sneaker head look like a disorder or some negative shit in the video, not diggin it.
    and he started getting noticed as soon as yelawolf got some shine, wtf are these record execs doing?? going around looking for people with identical haircuts and taking notice to their music only after someone with a similar swag gets some fame?? macklemore would probably be the mainstream version of Slug From Atmosphere.. Nuff’ Said

  9. I just paid $22.87 for an iPad2-64GB and my girlfriend loves her Panasonic Lumix GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $675 which only cost me $62.81 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from, WildCent.com

  10. YoChris503

    If you don’t dig this song, HERE’S why: You’ve never had to worry about a single thing in YOUR ENTIRE LIFE, so something of this magnitude you might not understand. This shit is powerful, people are losing their lives over shoes.

    The same shoes you go and drop $175 without an issue are the SAME SHOES that a kid from the inner city will spend his whole paycheck, miss rent and miss meals for. Why? because that’s the culture we live in.That same kid would do ANYTHING for a pair of Jordans, even kill. This song is beyond truth, salute to Macklemore and much success to him. I’m proud to be from the Northwest. I suggest those in the dark catch up on what’s real.?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>