Ben Haggerty, known by his stage name Macklemore and formerly Professor Macklemore, has announced that he will live out his remaining years as a Thai Theravadin monk. Since 2000, the well known lyrical gangsta has independently released three EPs, two albums, introduced a successful line of designer fur tracksuits, and significantly collaborated with producer and friend Ryan Lewis. Last year he became engaged to long-time girlfriend, Tricia Davis.
All of that is behind him now, as he announced from Bangkok this week.
According to the former singer it was not substance abuse, which had landed him in rehab in 2008, which prompted the move. It was in fact his well-hidden shopping addiction that pushed him over the edge. In early March he reportedly spotted Justin Bieber doing something suspicious near a lavatory bucket in a thrift shop in Seattle and, in what he has since called a “diva moment,” smacked the Biebs down.
Describing his transformation, his friend Allen Stone was quoted as saying, “Underneath this fragile frame lives a battle between pride and shame. But I’ve misplaced that sense of fight. This crown of thorns is perched atop my spine. But listen closely as I testify: Dependency has been a thief at night, thief at night, thief at night…”
In 2009, Macklemore, who has been given the monastic name Mahādaṇḍa, spent 10 days in a Vipassana retreat. This experience led to a global hit single popularizing extended meditation retreats for teens worldwide.
Mahādaṇḍa ended his news conference telling fans, “I landed here with just 20 dollars in my pocket, had a Guinness, and knew this was a decision I had to make. My flight has finally landed down, and the ground has stopped moving all around. My eyes are open, awake for the very first time. You want an encore? There’s no encore today. The moment is now.”
* NOTE: check the date on the post. The story is a mix-and-match of various events from the last 5 years filled with actual lyrics from Macklemore songs. The real monk above, pre-Photoshop, is Ajahn Brahm.