Drug Dealer

Album: Single release only (2016)

Songfacts®:

  • Macklemore recorded this broadside against America's pharmaceutical industry for the hour-long MTV documentary Prescription for Change: Ending America's Opioid Crisis. The song features Seattle-based singer-songwriter Ariana Deboo crooning the hook.
  • The track warns against the dangers of prescription drug abuse, a topic Macklemore also tackled on his 2015 tune "Kevin." The rapper references celebrities who have struggle with addiction and died as a result including Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Prince. Macklemore had his own personal struggle with substance abuse, for which he blames the pharmaceutical industry in America. "In my life, I've abused numerous drugs, including the painkillers, Oxycotin, and Percocet," he admitted in the MTV documentary.
  • Unlike the majority of tracks that Macklemore has rapped on, Ryan Lewis is not listed as the producer. Instead, Macklemore did his own beat for this.
  • Macklemore performed the song live for the first time at the Air Canada Centre for Toronto's WE Day celebration on October 21, 2016.
  • The song's music video was directed by Macklemore's frequent visual collaborator Jason Koenig. The clip chronicles the Seattle rapper's own fight with substance abuse as we see the realities of what it's like to go through drug withdrawal. Ariana Deboo also appears in the clip, drowning in a sea of red and white pills.

    "It's a progressive disease, it gets worse with time. And I always felt that I could control it by myself, that I could take this drug out or just do this, but it didn't work and it got worse," says Macklemore in the video.

    "Going to a treatment facility, I was given the tools and the counseling to figure out how to stay sober," he continues. "But not everyone is so lucky. It wasn't something that I could just white knuckle through, I actually needed some outside support, some outside help, some people that loved me, that cared about me, that wanted to see me be successful and happy. This speaks to where we're at, it affects all of us."

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