Album: This Unruly Mess I've Made (2015)
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Songfacts®:

  • Ben "Macklemore" Haggerty became a father for the first time when his fiancée Tricia Davis gave birth to Sloane Ava Simone Haggerty on May 29, 2015. This reflective ode finds the Seattle rapper dispensing life advice to his baby daughter in the verses.

    Ed Sheeran croons the chorus, which captures Macklemore's sentiments of uncertainty about his new role as a father.
  • Macklemore the story behind the song in a letter to his fans on his website: "I wish that I could say that I was in a 'better place" when I found out the news. It would make for a far more polished and respectable story. But I think back to that night: praying on the floor at 2 am as Tricia went to the bathroom to take a pregnancy test I'd just purchased from Walgreens. I was scared. Scared to start working on new music. Scared of trying again and failing. Scared of the process of staring at myself through a page and seeing something that I wasn't proud of. Someone that I didn't like. Someone that wasn't ready to be a dad."

    "I've always had some make-believe image in my head of who I would be as a father. I held on to clear expectations of where I wanted to be in my career, my age, my level of self-care, and my maturity. I basically assumed that I'd have it all together. But in actuality the hypothetical 'dad' version of me looked completely different than the man whose heart was beating out of his chest on the carpet, praying to a god or spirit I hadn't talked to in months. When Tricia walked out of the bathroom, I knew. And I knew I had to change."

    "5 months later we were recording in a remote cabin away from the density that is Seattle. I was finally having fun in the studio for the first time in years. Songs were getting made, finally. I was going back to the city once a week to attend birthing class with Tricia. When I got back to the cabin the next day, Ryan (Lewis) had made a new beat that would eventually become the song that you're listening to. Half of it is advice about growing up. The other half is trying to figure out how to grow up myself."
  • Writing the lyrics was an emotional experience for Macklemore. "I wrote the words, 'They say boys don't cry, but your dad has shed a lot of tears,'" he recalled to MTV News, referencing the song's opening lines, "and immediately just welled up, and it just kind of came."
  • Macklemore originally approached Adele to appear on the song. When she passed, he turned to Ed Sheeran, who recorded the vocals instead.

    Asked by The Sun how he felt about being turned down by the superstar, Macklemore replied: "Adele's management said she had to focus on putting out her record as 'Hello' was about to drop any minute and Adele hadn't done any collaborations. They were very sweet and said that she was a fan of the music and just the timing wasn't right so maybe another time we will."

    He added: "Ed is a great dude, he is one of my favorite people. He is just a brilliant songwriter and a great friend. Before we'd ever met, I'd heard he was covering my song 'Same Love' off The Heist. Then we were both in Buffalo, New York, and he came to the show and we brought him out and he did various parts on Same Love. Then we went to a casino and stayed up super-late and had a great time."

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