Over a subdued piano progression offset by frantic percussion, Macklemore tackles the vast scope of substance abuse in just the first verse, touching on the drug- or alcohol-related deaths of celebrities like Prince, Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse, the political pull of pharmaceutical companies and the ongoing opioid epidemic in America.
Following DeBoo’s aching chorus – “My drug dealer was a doctor, doctor/ Had the plug from Big Pharma, Pharma” – Macklemore vividly delves into his own struggles with addiction. “Four horseman, they won’t let me forget,” he spits. “I wanna forge a prescription, cause doctor I need some more of it/ When Morphine and heroine is more viewer budget/ I said I’d never use a needle, but sure, fuck it.”
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis penned “Drug Dealer” for the Seattle rapper’s new documentary, Prescription for Change: Ending America’s Opioid Crisis, which premiered tonight, October 11th, on MTV. The doc notably features Macklemore discussing opioid addiction with President Barack Obama.
Macklemore has touched on substance abuse and addiction in previous songs, including “Kevin,” off his most recent LP, This Unruly Mess I’ve Made, “Starting Over” from The Heist and 2010’s “Otherside.”