Macklemore celebrates the birth of his daughter with "Growing Up (Sloane's Song)," his reflective new song with collaborator Ryan Lewis and guest vocalist Ed Sheeran. The Seattle rapper, real name Ben Haggerty, gives advice to his two-month-old child throughout different stages of her life, while confessing fears about his career interfering in their relationship.
"I could promise you that I'll try and work less, but the tour's routed and I got this album," he croons over Lewis' soulful bass-drums groove. "Put in so many hours, and I just want the outcome to be something that I can look back and I can be proud of / Don't wanna be a dad that's living in Facetime, but I got a world to sing to and you at the same time." The track is available to stream or download for free at Macklemore's official website.
"Growing Up" – the duo's first new music since their massive 2012 debut LP, The Heist – finds Macklemore transitioning between raspy singing and limber rapping. "I just want to be a good dad / Will I be? I have no idea," he admits. "They say girls shouldn't be tough and moms should raise the kids at home / But, baby, I know that isn't true because your momma is the toughest person I know." Sheeran adds soulful choruses throughout the track, which builds to a trumpet-driven climax.
"When you try to escape yourself, life has an interesting way of creating situations that force you to come back," Macklemore says in a statement announcing the track. "To look at who you are. This is why 'Growing Up' felt like the right song to re-emerge with. It's where I've been the last year, through all the ups and downs. We didn't want to do a big campaign or anything over the top with this. We just wanted to put out good music, directly to the people that have been here since the beginning. Thank you for your patience. Hope you enjoy.
"Our daughter, Sloane Ava Simone Haggerty, was born two months ago on May 29th," he continues. "There is nothing like the joy and happiness that comes from bringing a baby into this universe. She has filled my heart in ways that I never knew were possible. She is the love of my life. This song is for her."
Macklemore told Complex in his July cover story that he relapsed into smoking weed and abusing pills following the breakout success of The Heist. Recovering from those addictions, he said, helped inspire his lyrical direction on the new album.
"I was burnt out," Haggerty said. "I was super-stressed. We weren't sleeping – doing a show every day, zigzagging all over the country. In terms of the media, I was getting put into a box that I never saw for myself. The pressure and the fame – everything. All the clichés, man – like not being able to walk around, having no privacy, and from this TV appearance to this TV appearance, and the criticism, and the lack of connection and the lack of [12-step] meetings – all of that put into one pie was just... I just wanted to escape."
Progress halted on the LP as Haggerty battled with staying clean. But he fully embraced a sober path after learning his fiancée, Tricia Davis, was pregnant. "And, as it always works, the minute that I start actively seeking recovery – not just sobriety, but recovery – music is there," he said. "It always has been. Songs write themselves. My work ethic turns off-to-on in a second and I get happy again. I get grateful again."
Macklemore and Lewis collaborated with singer-songwriter Fences last August for his single "Arrows." While the duo haven't revealed the title or release date of their Heist follow-up, the rapper told Complex that they were three-quarters done with their second LP. Benefitting from a bigger budget, Lewis said he's drawing production inspiration from the textured recordings of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Queen and the Beatles.