Macklemore takes himself very seriously. For better and for worse, sincerity is his defining artistic trait. While he and Ryan Lewis could just keep putting out party jams like "Thrift Shop," "Can't Hold Us," and "Downtown," there's a concerted effort to include songs that attempt to touch on social issues ranging from gay marriage ("Same Love") to addiction ("Otherside").
Last night on the American Music Awards, they debuted their latest message song, "Kevin." The takes aim at doctors' for their role in prescription drug abuse, while also serving as a tribute to Macklemore's titular friend who overdosed on prescription medications. The chorus this time around is provided by throwback soul crooner Leon Bridges. With lines like "Quick fix, whatever'll do, we just gonna neglect the truth / because a doctor with a license played God and said it's cool" and "Doctor please give me an dose of the American dream / put down the pen and look in my eyes," the song is more than than a bit heavy-handed and cringe-worthily at times. But, again, there's no doubt it's coming from a totally sincere emotional place.
An NPR stream of the studio version of the track as well as a video of the AMA performance can be found below.