Macklemore’s New Song Has One Big Problem

Photo: KCR/REX USA.
In January, Macklemore stole our hearts with his baby announcement. On August 5, the rapper behind hits like "Same Love," and "Thrift Shop" announced a new single, "Growing Up (Sloane's Song)." An emotional track for his newborn daughter, the new release is filled with love, lessons, hopes, and fears, and one big issue: Macklemore (whose given name is Ben Haggerty) seems to think Langston Hughes wrote "A Raisin in the Sun."

“Give back to the community that raised you up,” he sings. “Read Langston Hughes. I suggest 'A Raisin in the Sun.'”

The iconic play was actually written by Lorraine Hansberry; it debuted on Broadway in 1959. The play’s title comes from the poem “Harlem,” which is also know as “A Dream Deferred” by Langston Hughes.

Macklemore had the right idea, although he should should have said the correct title. His words seem well-intentioned, but the two works are starkly different. Even Twitter had a lot to say about his literary fail.
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But perhaps there’s a bit of irony in Macklemore’s words, considering how the touching tune is based on the fact that he, even as a new father, still has a whole lot to learn.

“They say girls shouldn’t be tough and moms should raise their kids at home, but baby I know that isn’t true, ‘cause your momma's the toughest person I know,” he sings. “I want to raise you to be like her and watch you show the world how to do it on your own. I’m still trying to figure out who I am, I don’t want to mess this up or do this wrong.”

The song (which is his first release with Ryan Lewis first release since their 2012 debut album, The Heist) features vocals by Ed Sheeran. As Macklemore encourages his daughter to do what she loves, make mistakes, and be honest, all while hoping he’ll be present despite his demanding schedule, Sheeran croons about how individual growth never stops.

“I’ll be patient, one more month,” Sheeran sings. “You’ll wrap fingers 'round my thumbs. Times are changing, I know, but who am I if I’m the person you become, if I’m still growing up?”

In addition to adorable footage of his daughter’s birth (which took place on May 29), the video for “Growing Up (Sloane’s Song)” was released with a beautiful letter regarding Macklemore’s expectations about fatherhood, what the song means, and why the duo chose to come back with this track:

"I wish that I could say that I was in a 'better place' when I found out the news. It would make for a far more polished and respectable story. But I think back to that night: praying on the floor at 2 a.m. as Tricia went to the bathroom to take the pregnancy test I’d just purchased from Walgreens. I was scared. Scared to start working on new music. Scared of trying again and failing. Scared of the process of staring at myself through a page and seeing someone that I wasn’t proud of. Someone that I didn’t like. Someone that wasn’t ready to be a dad.

"I’ve always had some make-believe image in my head of who I would be as a father. I held on to clear expectations of where I wanted be in my career, my age, my level of self-care, and my maturity. I basically assumed that I'd have it all together. But in actuality, the hypothetical 'dad' version of me looked completely different than the man whose heart was beating out of his chest on the carpet, praying to a god or spirit I hadn’t talked to in months. When Tricia walked out of the bathroom, I knew. And I knew I had to change.

"Five months later, we were recording in a remote cabin away from the density that is Seattle. I was finally having fun in the studio for the first time in years. Songs were getting made, finally. I was going back to the city once a week to attend a birthing class with Tricia. When I got back to the cabin the next day, Ryan had made a new beat that would eventually become the song you’re listening to. Half of it is advice about growing up. The other half is trying to figure out how to grow up myself.

"When you try to escape yourself, life has an interesting way of creating situations that force you to come back. To look at who you are. This is why 'Growing Up' felt like the right song to re-emerge with. It’s where I’ve been the last year, through all the ups and downs. We didn’t want to do a big campaign or anything over the top with this. We just wanted to put out good music, directly to the people that have been here since the beginning. Thank you for your patience. Hope you enjoy.

"And if you’re wondering...

"Our daughter, Sloane Ava Simone Haggerty was born two months ago on May 29. There is nothing like the joy and happiness that comes from bringing a baby into this universe. She has filled my heart in ways that I never knew were possible. She is the love of my life. This song is for her. — Ben"

Macklemore’s new track is undeniably sweet. His honesty and realistic outlook on life and how it should be lived are admirable. However, it’s likely that Sloane will eventually have to school her father on African-American literature. But in all fairness, parenthood doesn't excuse you from mistakes, right Ryan Reynolds? Listen to the new single, below.
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