Photo: The Come Up Show via Flickr CC

Seattle-born hip-hop artist Ben Haggerty, a.k.a. Macklemore, is not your typical rapper.  He and producer Ryan Lewis make their own off-label music and tackle the tough issues.  He is not afraid to stand up in support of same-sex marriage or spread the message about anti-materialism.  With two singles to hit number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 List, Macklemore is a powerful voice in the fight for equality.

Mixed in with his other hit songs like “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us,” is “Same Love.”  The song, released in 2012, was written in support of Washington Referendum 74 to legalize same-sex marriage in the state.

“I grew up with two gay uncles on Capitol Hill… I was always around a community of gay people…as a hip-hop artist, it’s still a taboo issue…that is crazy to me…there’s so much fear, and so much of it dates back to religion…I think…this is our time to create the change that is right.”

“Same Love” is also a showcase of Macklemore’s talent for writing and speaking about what others may avoid.  In it, he lets everyone know he does not accept homophobia in “mainstream hip-hop, society or mass media.”

“Misogyny and homophobia are the two acceptable means of oppression in hip-hop culture. It’s 2012. There needs to be some accountability. I think that as a society we’re evolving, and I think that hip-hop has always been a representation of what’s going on in the world right now,” said Macklemore.

In the song he even admits he questioned his own sexuality in third grade due to stereotypes in the media.  Later in the song he says, “I might not be the same, but that’s not important.  No freedom till we’re equal…”

This year he got engaged to longtime girlfriend Tricia Davis.

Both “Same Love” and “Can’t Hold Us” have burned up the charts and have been viewed over 43 million times on YouTube.  Thrift Shop has over 300 million views, sold more than 2.2 million copies and is number 24 in the list of most watched YouTube videos of all time.

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