New Macklemore music video taps into the raw, heartbreaking reality of substance abuse

It is not out of the ordinary for the well-known Seattle-based rapper Macklemore to shed a light on some heavier topics in his music. In the past, we have seen Macklemore rap about topics such as white privilege and LGBT rights in his past songs. Through his music, these topics have been brought more awareness to these issues, and people are able to feel more comfortable discussing them than ever before.

In his newest single, Macklemore has decided to tackle yet another difficult topic to talk about, which is substance abuse. Both Macklemore and Ryan Lewis paired together to write the song and released the single, titled “Drug Dealer” on Oct. 11. The track was also featured in MTV’s newest documentary, titled “Prescription For Change: Ending America’s Opioid Crisis.” In the documentary, Macklemore discusses his past experience with substance abuse, telling of his struggles to quit prescription drugs such as Oxycontin and Percocet.


This past Tuesday, Macklemore released the music video for “Drug Dealer,” which gives an extremely realistic and unfiltered view into what exactly it is like to go through prescription drug withdrawals.

The video opens with Macklemore sitting on the shower floor crying, and it is apparent right away that he is playing a character who uses prescription drugs, attempting to quit. The tone is set within the first few seconds of the video, and immediately the viewer becomes aware of the seriousness of the message the video is sending.

We are then taken into Macklemore’s bedroom and are shown exactly how difficult the process of going through withdrawals is. From sweating and shaking, to throwing up, to not being able to see straight, Macklemore’s acting throughout the video clearly comes from knowledge and experience, and anyone who watches the video can feel the pain and raw emotion Macklemore embodies.

The video then continues, featuring Ariana Deboo on the chorus vocals, and we continue to watch the story that Macklemore unravels. Bringing up doctors prescribing medications to people for their money, and the huge likelihood of overdosing on these medications. This is a huge problem that exists in our society and often goes so overlooked when in reality most people have a close relative or friend who takes and abuses prescription drugs.

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As the video comes to an end, we see Macklemore’s character in rehab, which draws the emotional video to a more positive close. By doing this, Macklemore gives hope to those who may need a light to help them out of their addiction. “Drug Dealer” might be Macklemore’s most realistic and effective song and video he has put out yet, and anyone who listens or watches is just as likely to agree.

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