Hip Hop, as a music genre, is considered to be predominantly black. That is, its purveyors and its primary listeners are often African Americans. However, over the years, it has gained prominence across races and backgrounds, and some of the leading artists in the genre today are white. One of those is Macklemore, a Seattle-born rapper who has earned a considerable net worth for being one of the most successful rappers in recent history.
Though Macklemore might not possess the skin color that has dominated rap for decades, his talent has proved worthy to cement his place among reputable names in the world of hip hop, with singles like Thrift Shop and Can’t Hold Us topping charts across the country.
Today, after more than a decade in the industry, Macklemore has a net worth of $25 million. We took a look at how he built his small fortune over the years.
How Macklemore Achieved His Net Worth
From a historical perspective, Macklemore has no business being a rapper, talk less of a successful one with international acclaim. Not only is he not black, but he is also of Irish heritage, a race not particularly known for its multiculturism. Regardless, having been introduced to hip hop at the age of six, Macklemore’s love and passion for the genre has seen him go from listener to performer.
He began writing his own lyrics at the age of 15, immersing himself with the works of hip-hop icons like Mobb Deep, Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, and Freestyle Fellowship. He started performing as a hip-hop artist in 2000 when he formed a hip hop group called Elevated Elements with students in his high school. With them, he recorded his first music project, an album called Progress.
In the same year, he started his career as a solo artist, recording and releasing the mixtape, Open Your Eyes. However, he remained an emerging rapper until 2006, when he met his frequent collaborator, Ryan Lewis. At that time, Macklemore had released an album, The Language of My World in 2005, to little success.
His Partnership with Ryan Lewis Helped
Macklemore’s partnership with Ryan Lewis began the journey to a net worth of $25 million for the Seattle rapper. He released his first charting project, The Unplanned Mixtape, in 2009, and it reached #7 on the iTunes Hip Hop Chart. Although Ryan Lewis and Macklemore had met while the former worked on the latter’s promotion as a photographer, they soon began to collaborate musically, and that resulted in their first project, The VS. EP.
Macklemore’s first significant music success came in 2011, when he released the single, Can’t Hold Us. The track peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, charted at the top of several major music markets, from the UK to Australia. It sold over seven million copies, both physical copies and digital.
Macklemore enjoyed a boost in his net worth via the commercial success of the song, as well as the resultant inflow of concerts and festival appearances, where he reportedly made as much as $200,000 per gig. Macklemore’s net worth moved up a notch in 2012 when he released his first album, The Heist. It debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and sold over 1.4 million copies domestically and over three million worldwide.
The success of Can’t Hold Us and the album fetched Macklemore $9 million income over the one-year financial period, and his wealth has been on the rise ever since.
He has subsequently released two albums, This Unruly Mess I’ve Made and Gemini, both as a solo artist and as a duo act with Ryan Lewis. He also has many singles to his name, including other hit tracks like Downtown, White Walls, and Thrift Shop.
According to TheRichest, Macklemore has made over $50 million in income since the release of The Heist, with his largest yearly earnings coming in 2014 when he made over $32 million in the fiscal year.
The fact that Macklemore is not signed to a corporate label, combined with the commercial success of his music, and earnings from performances across the globe, has ensured he gets to keep a majority of his income, helping him to a $25 million net worth.
How Does He Spend His Money?
Macklemore tries to live a modest life despite having a $25 million net worth. Some of the few things he has notably spent on since he became a renowned rapper include a $2 million home he bought in 2013. He also owns a $25,000 Cadillac and is a philanthropist who has donated to various charity programs, including Free the Children, The 30/30 Project, ONE Campaign, and several more.