Doug E. Fresh tells Ed Lover how he feels about Macklemore’s ‘Downtown’

Legendary rapper Doug E. Fresh recently stopped by Backspin (Ch. 43) for an interview with Ed Lover. During their conversation, Lover asked what he thought about Macklemore – who often comes under criticism for cultural appropriation — including hip-hop veterans Melle Mel, Kool Moe Dee and Grandmaster Caz on his latest hit, Downtown.

“My honest opinion, I think what Macklemore did was incredible,” he told Lover. “I think that him giving that platform and him wanting to embrace Melle Mel, Grandmaster Caz – who never really got his props until he did the Art of Rap where he just killed them with the freestyle – and then you got Kool Moe Dee!”

Macklemore, who Rolling Stone says had been listening to “SiriusXM’s old-school rap station” [*cough* Backspin *cough*] when he was inspired by the sounds of that era, said that first he and Ryan Lewis wanted to get the okay from the people who invented the style before incorporating it into their sound.

“I was like, ‘We have to reach out to the dudes that came up with this style,'” Macklemore told Rolling Stone. “It didn’t feel right to appropriate that tone without seeing if they at least liked it.”

They took the song to Big Daddy Kane, who then convinced hip-hop veterans Melle Mel, Kool Moe Dee and Grandmaster Caz to fly to Seattle and record vocals for the song.

But the story doesn’t end there.

Doug E. Fresh told Ed Lover that Kool Moe Dee reached out to him before their appearance on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. “He said, ‘Yo, Doug, Macklemore wants you to come up here and do the beat box, man, ‘cause he said he wants to get all the elements together. I said, ‘Really? Yo, man, okay!’”

Unfortunately, signals got mixed, so Rahzel ultimately agreed to do it. Doug told them to “let Rahzel bless ya’ll with what he do because that’s my man” and that he would be interested in coming on stage with them somewhere else down the line when they were in the same city.

“I think that Macklemore is one of those guys that just continues to grab and embrace parts of hip-hop that we should appreciate ourselves,” he told Lover.

He went on to talk about the negative connotations of the word “old school,” and getting people to understand that it isn’t a negative word but rather the foundation of the genre today as well as a style that continues to attract audiences and provide careers for OG rappers. “I’m doing 150 shows a year, bar mitzvahs and all,” he noted.

Listen to the full interview here:

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