Talib Kweli Defends Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Seattle duo is being criticized because of their "audience," Kweli says

Posted: 01/30/2014 10:25 AM EST

Talib Kweli stands on the defending side of the hip hop debate over Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Kweli stopped by DJ Whoo Kidd's Whoolywood Shuffle Shade 45 radio show yesterday and briefly weighed in on one of the bigger post-Grammy discussions buzzing in hip hop this week. 

Although Macklemore is a rapper, some including the rap Grammy voting committee needed more convincing that he and Lewis deserve said credentials. The duo's Best Rap Album Grammy win over Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d. city added to the argument that their music is categorically pop.  

Kweli, who went on tour with them last year, believes the criticism isn't about race, nor is it aimed at the group itself. The discrepancy is actually with their following. "People confuse Macklemore and Ryan Lewis with their audience," he said. "When you hear people dissing them, they're really dissing their audience."

The duo has also "paid their dues," Kweil went on to point out. "Anybody who knows Seattle hip hop know they been around for a minute."

On the skin color subject, the Brooklyn MC acknowledged that Macklemore being white "helps" with the 30-year-old blowing up over the last year, but went back to the fan topic. He of course has firsthand experience performing for their crowds. "[Their] audience don't know about hip hop but their audience is into them," he said.

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(Photos from left:  John Ricard / BET,  Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for BET)

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