Part of a new generation of rap stars storming the charts in the early 2000s, Macklemore – born Ben Haggerty in Seattle, Washington on June 19, 1983 - rejects hip-hop's usual stereotypes in favor of quirky takes on current culture, honest personal doubts and forthright views on wider social issues. Raised in a middle class family in suburban Seattle, he started rapping at the age of 15 after discovering East Coast stars Nas, Wu-Tang Clan and Digital Underground. A university graduate with a degree in marketing, his reputation grew with a series of self-produced mixtapes made under the name Professor Macklemore and his debut album, The Language of My World, became an underground success in 2005. However, just as his career looked set to take off, drug and alcohol problems started to spiral and he took time out for treatment in a rehab center. Gradually putting his life back together, he befriended producer Ryan Lewis through MySpace and reaffirmed his talent with the acclaimed VS (Redux) EP in 2009. Championed by The Source magazine, his fourth single “Same Love” chronicled his uncle's gay relationship and voiced his support for same sex marriage. It proved something of a landmark and reached Number 12 in the US Charts as he vocally criticized hip-hop's history of homophobia. Huge worldwide success followed when 2012's Macklemore & Ryan Lewis album The Heist, reached Number 2 in the US and produced the chart-topping hit “Thrift Shop.” In 2016, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis revealed the title of their second full-length album to be “This Unruly Mess I've Made”, with the title track and “White Privilege II” preceding the album. Macklemore solo tracks “Drug Dealer” and “Wednesday Morning” were also released at the same time and were followed by an announcement that Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were taking a break. In 2017, Macklemore released “Glorious” (featuring Skylar Grey) from his second solo album, Gemini, which also featured “Marmalade” (with Lil Yachty) and “Good Old Days” (with Kesha). A sharp new voice intent on changing the image of hip-hop and releasing everything through his own independent record label, Macklemore has gone on to notch up over 400 million streams on various social media platforms. In March 2023, Macklemore released his third solo album, Ben, which included the singles “Chant” (with Tones and I), “Maniac” (featuring Windser), “Faithful” (with NLE Choppa), and “Heroes” (featuring DJ Premier).