Macklemore and Ryan Lewis appeared during last night's pop game royal rumble the American Music Awards to premiere a song from their forthcoming, as-yet-untitled new album, and like "Downtown," the lead single that ducked being indefensible by paying homage to old school greats Grandmaster Caz, Kool Moe Dee, and Melle Mel, the brand new "Kevin" seems like a concerted effort to use the duo's massive platform for something greater than pop rap and dick jokes.
Riding Lewis's sunny, orchestral funk groove, Macklemore recounts the story of an addict who died after his physician brashly prescribes him Oxycontin. It's a touchy subject for the rapper, who overcame repeat tussles with drug and alcohol abuse on the road to fame himself some years back. Texan soul revivalist Leon Bridges punctuates the verses with an impossibly sweet, swooping vocal begging for change in the pharmaceutical complex: "Doctor please... we're overprescribed." There's plenty of mackling, as per usual... but for once, it's exactly the right amount of mackling. Stream "Kevin" below, courtesy of NPR.