Seattle rapper Macklemore says it’s been a challenge to stay sober since the Number One smash “Thrift Shop” turned him and producer Ryan Lewis into overnight pop stars. “The last three months haven’t been good for me – the pressure, the expectation, the lack of sleep, the stress, the traveling,” the 29-year-old rapper tells Rolling Stone. “I can’t escape Macklemore. I just want to get the fuck out of my own head.”
Macklemore has been sober since August 2008, when he went to rehab for a drug and alcohol problem. In the middle of a busy week of SXSW shows and events, he took Rolling Stone to a late-night Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in Austin – his first meeting in close to two months. “It’s been a struggle the past year,” he admits. “It’s very important to go into the rooms of AA, smell the shitty coffee and be reminded that without sobriety, I would have no career.”
Macklemore also opens up about his unusual DIY path to the top of the charts. He and Lewis release all their music themselves via a self-run label, and their music videos, T-shirts and posters are produced in-house. “I spent a lot of my life rapping and not making enough money to live, and gratefully, that’s not the case anymore,” he says. “But not having a foreseeable end date in sight is a little bit scary.”
For much more on Macklemore, pick up the latest issue of Rolling Stone on newsstands and iTunes tomorrow, or read our full Macklemore profile now.