Macklemore Hits the Road Sober

By McCarton Ackerman 03/28/13

The Seattle rapper talks about the challenges of staying sober on tour.

Wherever Macklemore goes, there
Macklemore is.
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The road can be a difficult place for a musician to stay sober; just ask Macklemore (real name: Ben Haggerty). The Seattle rapper, who hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts last fall with his song "Thrift Shop," tells Rolling Stone that his new-found fame can make it hard to stay sober. Macklemore got clean from drugs and alcohol in rehab in August 2008, but he says it's difficult to follow the same routines while promoting his debut album The Heist. "The last three months haven't been good for me—the pressure, the expectation, the lack of sleep, the stress, the traveling," he tells the magazine. "I can't escape Macklemore. I just want to get the fuck out of my own head." While at the SXSW festival earlier this month, he took the magazine to a late-night AA meeting in Austin, which he said was his first in nearly two months. "It's been a struggle the past year," he says. "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 has also spoken about kicking his addictions in some of his songs; the track "Church" contrasts the collectivism of his religious upbringing with the realities he faced growing up, including almost losing his life to drug use.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.