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On the Cover: Thrift Shop Superstar Macklemore

Get a first look at the new issue of Rolling Stone

August 14, 2013 11:20 AM ET
Macklemore 1190 2013 cover
Macklemore on the cover of Rolling Stone.
Peter Yang

Seattle rapper Macklemore makes his first appearance on the cover of Rolling Stone in our next issue. The cover story, by Brian Hiatt, goes in-depth on the life and career of Ben Haggerty, a.k.a. Macklemore, and his musical partner, Ryan Lewis. Haggerty, a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, says that at one point he was so worried about being trivialized as "the 'Thrift Shop' guy" that his sobriety was at risk: "I went through a place of not being happy, getting put in the box of 'This is a novelty rap song,' and being like, 'What did I sign up for'?" But the success of the pro-gay-rights track "Same Love" helped him relax. "The legacy that I'm leaving on the world is more than just a song about second-hand clothes," he says.

Macklemore Picks Five Favorite Songs

Lewis, meanwhile, acknowledges some concerns about being the lesser-known half of the duo. "I think on the mainstream level, nobody knows what the fuck I am. Am I the DJ? Do I make the beats? Do I rap? Am I singing on tracks? I don't think a lot of people know except real fans who have been around. I mean, you guys, Rolling Stone, don't want to put me on the cover. It's like, you're going to sell more copies with Ben's face. Why is that? Because the general public, based on the way this whole thing's been marketed . . . are going to be more receptive to 'Macklemore.' The public don't care how the song came together. And I can't change that. So if I have jealousy, deriving from that, then that's just stupid."

Look for the issue on stands and in the iTunes App Store this Friday, August 16th.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

More Song Stories entries »
 
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