By: Michael Rass
Seattle rapper Macklemore and his partner Ryan Lewis debuted a new song, ‘Kevin’, at the American Music Awards on Sunday. R&B singer Leon Bridges provided the song’s hook and appeared alongside Macklemore on stage. ‘Kevin’ takes on the current opioid epidemic ravaging the country: every single day 46 Americans die from prescription opioid overdoses, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine. With lyrics like “a pill that a doctor prescribed / and a drug that a million dollar industry supplied,” “Kevin” addresses this crisis, specifically the controversial use of oxycontin as a pain medication.
“This one is personal,” as Macklemore explains on his Instagram: “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.” Years ago, Macklemore, whose real name is Ben Haggerty, struggled with addiction himself. He got sober in 2008 but relapsed in 2014 after the success of the 2012 Grammy-winning album ‘The Heist’. “I’ve come very close to dying,” Macklemore writes on Instagram. “I’m far from proud of that, but it’s my truth. I wish I could say I’m cured. That I have it all figured out. But that’s not the case. One day at a time I work to stay sober.” The musician hopes, the song can contribute to a “bigger conversation” about opioids and other drugs. “I think of Kevin. I miss him. I hope he’s somewhere listening to this.”