Macklemore’s New Song Calls Out Drug Dealers, Including Big Pharma & Doctors (Audio)
For the last 5 years, Macklemore has been one of the most courageous artists in Hip-Hop. Starting with his 2011 release “Wings,” which addressed the detrimental effects of rampant materialism in our society, the Seattle MC, and his musical partner Ryan Lewis, has tackled some of the biggest issues facing his generation, with brutal honesty.
2012 saw Macklemore advocating tolerance for same sex relationships, with his song “Same Love.” At the 56th Grammy Awards in 2013, he performed the song with singer Mary Lambert, while Queen Latifah officiated several same sex marriages, in real-time.
Earlier this year, Mack & Ryan set off a firestorm with their song “White Privilege 2.” The nearly 9-minute long record took a hard look at White Privilege in America, particularly when it came to entertainment. The artist questioned his own success, and whether he would have been as popular had he not been White. He also had a series of extensive conversations, seeking to create dialogue about race relations and cultural appropriation.
In addition to his activism, Macklemore has been incredibly transparent about his struggles with substance abuse. He first checked himself into rehab for alcoholism and drug addiction in 2008, suffering relapses in 2011 and again in 2014. Recognizing that addiction is an ongoing battle and reaching epidemic proportions, he teamed with President Obama earlier this year to raise awareness and help fight drug dependency. “I’m here with President Obama because I take this personally,” he said. “I abused prescription drugs and I battled addiction. If I hadn’t gotten the help that I needed when I needed it, I definitely would not be here today.” In particular, he and the President discussed the dangers of addiction to prescribed medications, with Obama saying “addiction doesn’t always start in some dark alley. Sometimes it starts in a medicine cabinet.”
Now, Macklemore has released his latest socially conscious song, and it takes aim directly at substance peddlers–all of them. From the beginning, “Drug Dealer” draws no distinction between street dealers and big pharmaceutical companies. “The whole while, these billionaires, they caked up. Paying out congress so we take their drugs. Murderers who will never face the judge. And, we dancin’ to a song about our face goin’ numb,” he says. In the same verse, he also raps about the many talents we’ve lost in the last few years to addiction, as well as the fact that it’s a problem for everyday people too. “That’s Prince, Michael and Whitney. That’s Amy, Ledger and Pimp C/ That’s Yams that’s DJ AM/ God damn, they’re making a killing. Now it’s getting attention ’cause Sara, Katey and Billy, but this shit’s been going one from Seattle out to South Philly. It just moved out about the city, and spread out to the ‘burbs. Now it’s everybody’s problem. Got a nation on the verge.”
In verse 2, Mack details his ongoing struggle with addition, with lines like “And these devil’s they keep on talkin’ to me. They screamin’ ‘open the bottle.’ I wanna be at peace,” and “Walkin’ carcass, I lost everything I wanted.”
The hook, sung by Ariana DeBoo, drives home the many suppliers that feed the nation’s growing habit. “My drug dealer was a doctor, doctor. Had the plug from Big Pharma, Pharma. He said he’d heal me, heal me, but he only gave me problems, problems. My drug dealer was a doctor, doctor. Had the plug from Big Pharma, Pharma. I think he tryin’ kill me, kill me. He tried to kill me for a dollar, for a dollar.”
Macklemore ends the song with a powerful rendition of the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” Amen.