Drug Dealer

Drug Dealer

Macklemore, who was made famous for his hit song “Thrift Shop,” dropped a new single “Drug Dealer” featuring Ariana DeBoo Oct. 11. I’m not normally a big fan of rap, but Macklemore’s anthem against big pharmaceutical companies drew my interest.

The song starts with a soft piano instrumental, with hums of what sounds like a choir in the background. In the first stanza there’s two lines that really resonated with me:

“Paying out Congress so we take their drugs,

Murderers who will never face the judge”

Macklemore has used his rap to send a message before. His song “Same Love” still plays in my mind daily. This song is a revival of that side of him, and it’s a powerful message to send. He is making an impact through his art.

The chorus features singer Ariana DeBoo, who I can’t recall ever knowing about before “Drug Dealer.” The repeated lines are grim, and creates a metaphor comparing doctors to drug dealers:

“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,

My drug dealer was a doctor, doctor,

Had the plug from Big Pharma, Pharma,

I think he trying to kill me, kill me,

He tried to kill me for a dollar, dollar”

Back in Sept. 2015, Martin Shkreli became widely infamous for raising the price of Daraprim, commonly used in HIV medication, by 5,556 percent (from $13.50 to $750 per tablet). More recently, Mylan raised of the price for a pair of EpiPens from $100 in 2008 to $500 this year. It’s speculated Mylan was able to raise the price so high because EpiPens do not have any competition. Mylan has since announced it’s releasing its own generic brand EpiPen. Either way, they’re making more money at the American people’s expense.

Macklemore wrote this song for his MTV documentary “Prescription for Change: Ending America’s Opioid Crisis” where he takes on the American pharmaceutical industry. Macklemore has claimed they are partially to blame for his own addiction to prescription drugs, a grim reality for many who take prescribed medications. In fact, a study done in 2012 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that approximately 2.1 million Americans are addicted to their prescription opioid painkillers.

In the song, Macklemore mentions several celebrities who died from drug overdoses, making the reality of substance that much more real. It made me think about what we put in our bodies and how really affects us. Personally, I try not to take pills if I don’t have to, partially because the bottles list side effects that sometimes seem worse than whatever it is I’m sick with.

Knowing the reality of how dangerous they can be and how many lives have been lost to drug abuse hits me in the heart. It’s especially an issue in America, a pill-popping society. It’s almost as if there’s this fallacy embedded in our brains that pills and medicine will make everything better, when they don’t realistically.

“Drug Dealer” is a call to action by Macklemore. He’s bringing a real issue to light, to an audience that would have no clue about otherwise. It’s beautifully grim, terrifyingly real, and overall an amazing piece of art.

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