One of the great joys of working with young people is that they introduce me to their music. If not for them, a middle aged guy like me doesn’t get to hear incredible artists like Macklemore.
His latest song is not just an important message and arguably his finest song to date. It’s a vital piece of social commentary coupled with a call to arms. What follows are excerpts from “Drug Dealer”
“They said it wasn’t a gateway drug My homie was takin’ subs (Suboxone) and he ain’t wake up The whole while, these billionaires, they kicked up Paying out congress so we take their drugs Murderers who will never face the judge….
But I seen homies turn grey, noses draining blood I could’ve been gone, out 30’s, faded in that tub That’s Prince, Michael and Whitney, that’s Amy, Ledger and Pimp C That’s Yams, that’s DJ A.M God damn they’re making a killing Now it’s getting attention cause Sara, Katey and Billy
…But this shit’s been going one from Seattle out to South Philly It just moved out about the city And spread out to the ‘burbs Now it’s everybody’s problem, got a nation on the verge…
…My drug dealer was a doctor, doctor Had the plug from Big Pharma, Pharma He said that he would heal me, heal me But he only gave me problems, problems….
… Best friends with the thing that’s killing me Enemies with my best friend, there’s no healing me Refilling these, refilling these They say it’s death, death Institutions and DOC’s
So God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change Courage to change the things I can And the wisdom to know the difference And the wisdom to know the difference…”
I don’t have words as to describe why this song has made me cry the first ten times I heard it. I don’t want to explain it. You get it if you live it or love those who live it or if you’re in recovery from it.
I love that Macklemore speaks the truth about the dangers of prescribed pain killers and where it takes too many of us. I love that he points out that this epidemic isn’t new…it’s just new to the suburbs.
This song is my heart hating the disease of addiction and the stigma that comes with being an addict. It’s about loving my heroes in addiction recovery. It’s about the bravest people I know and having the guts to change your whole life.
Most of all, I love that Macklemore closes out the song with the words that have guided me and kept me sane:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change
Courage to change the things that I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.