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

Songfacts®:

  • This song is about the perils of prescription pill addiction. It details the story of the titular young man who became addicted to OxyContin and died. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis debuted the tune during the AMAs on November 22, 2015 along with guest vocalist Leon Bridges.
  • Macklemore: "This one is personal… I started writing it when my friend Kevin passed from an overdose on prescription medication. It was my attempt to process his death. To grieve. And also to examine the over abundance of prescription drugs in America. How quick we're taught at an early age to put a pharmaceutical band aid over our pain/anxiety."
  • Bridges, who had just released his acclaimed debut, Coming Home, that same year, didn't know what to expect when he flew to Seattle to meet with the duo. "I didn't know what the vibe was," he told Rolling Stone. "Basically, the song is saying that we can't put a band-aid on certain medical problems. I don't know too much about his friend, but it's an honor to have been a part of it. A lot of my friends, they were a little skeptical of the fact that I would do a song with him, but I think it’s great that I didn't have to compromise."

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