From 'Drug Dealer' to 'Inhale Deep,' 15 Macklemore Lyrics on Struggling With Addiction

Andrew Benge/Redferns
Macklemore of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis performs on stage at Manchester Arena on April 12, 2016 in Manchester, England. 

Macklemore is no stranger to addressing the issues that plague society. Whether tackling the rights of the LGBTQ community on records like 2012’s "Same Love" or balling on a budget with his breakthrough track "Thrift Shop," the Seattle rapper is most vulnerable when it comes to rhyming about his (and others') past struggles with drug addiction.

Earlier this week, Macklemore released the Jason Koenig-directed video for "Drug Dealer" featuring Ariana Deboo. In the emotional clip, Macklemore rocks back-and-forth in a shower, struggling with his addiction. Going beyond the music, Macklemore collaborated with MTV on the documentary, Prescription for Change, that shed light on America’s opioid epidemic.

Check out 15 raw, poignant lyrics on drug addiction from Macklemore’s catalog below:

"Drug Dealer" Feat. Ariana Deboo 

"They said it wasn't a gateway drug
My homie was takin' subs 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
And we dancin' to a song about our face goin' numb
But I seen homies turn grey, noses draining blood
I could've been gone, off 30's, faded in that tub"


The VS. EP (2009)

"Months later the use went up
Every blunt was accompanied by the pink stuff
But goddamn, he loved that feeling
Purple rain coated in the throat, just so healing
Medicine alleviate the sickness
Liquid affix and it comes with a cost
Wake up, cold sweat, scratching, itching
Trying to escape the skin that barely fit him"

"Ten Thousand Hours"

The Heist (2012)

"Raw, unmedicated heart, no substitute
Banging on table tops, no subs to toot
I'm feeling better than ever man
What is up with you
Scraping my knuckles, I'm battling with some drug abuse"

"Starting Over" Feat. Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses

The Heist (2012)

"Those three-plus years, I was so proud of
Then I threw them all away for two Styrofoam cups
The irony, everyone will think that "He lied to me"
Made my sobriety so public, there's no fucking privacy"

"Kevin" Feat. Leon Bridges 

This Unruly Mess I’ve Made (2016)


"And now my little brother is in the sky
From a pill that a doctor prescribed
That a drug-dealing billion dollar industry supplied
And the cops never go and profile at night
Yeah, the, the, the orange plastic with the white top they sell to you
Has us looking for the answers and that instead of you"

"Life is Cinema"

The VS. EP (2009) 

"Selfish, selfish, selfish me, yeah, me, yeah
Girlfriend, break-up, new one, one-night stand, cheat, cheat, repeat that
Drug use, clean up, drug use, drug use, clean up, drug use, rehab
F--k you, I suck dude, self-loathing, self-esteem, ego, then me again
"Wake Up"

Open Your Eyes (2000) 

"Hip-hop is not about guns
And like all cultures, yes some hip-hop heads do drugs
That’s not even relevant
In moderation, drugs can actually open eyes and expand the elements
I’ve come closer to my ancestor’s remnants
Scripting my life through the force of their spiritual presence
I use my lyrics as the evidence
You question hip-hop’s drug use?
You should be questioning the President’s"

"A Wake" Feat. Evan Roman  

The Heist (2012)

"Synthetic heroin is the new basehead
So much to escape, fuck a straight edge
Walk around looking through a fake lens
Apps this good, who's got time to make friends?"

"Make the Money" 

The Heist (2012)

"Take away the dot com, name, love
Fans, Twitter followers, and the buzz
See, you keep the issues but you take away the drugs
And I had to find out who I really was
Who I really wasn't
So sick of who I was becoming
Yeah, tired of running
Time to look at the man in the mirror until I can learn to love him"

"Light Tunnels" Feat. Mike Slap

This Unruly Mess I’ve Made (2016)
"I probably shouldn't have done the drugs I've done
A couple of days ago, detox son

The Unplanned Mixtape (2009) 
"This world is bipolar, beautiful for some for others the fuckin’ saddest
So sick of lugging baggage
All I got is drugs and alcohol and these cuts of passion
Brain serenade razorblade, punk madness
Pain is love plug the drain but the rain keeps crashing like


The Language of My World (2005)

"Now one thing that I've always struggled on
Is how to incorporate drugs and alcohol into my music outside of sober songs
'Cuz on that perspective, that's all over my records
But the other side isn't represented unless it sessions with XP
How can I admit that I love to smoke weed
Knowing the kids are listening and many of them look up to me?"

"The Magic"

The Language of My World (2005)

"Now, have you ever done hallucinogenics?
Children, don't get it twisted, I'm not reccomending
But it's not fried brains and hippies and kids jumpin' off buildings
It can be spiritual epiphanies and medicine
Now I first tried shrooms when I was 16
And the universe became more interesting
I began to contemplate my place in this landscape
And reflect on what it meant to be a human being"

"The End"

The VS. EP (2009)

"I strayed
She brought me back in
Trying to sneak a flask outside of that gym
She said, "You don't need that, look within"

"Inhale Deep" 

The Language of My World (2005)

"'Cause it's easier to spend your life drunk and high on drugs
Than to put everything in a recording, put it out, and then get judged
We look for the audience to put their hands up and show love
But when their hands go down, our confidence really takes the plunge"