Macklemore & Ryan Lewis debuted their new song Kevin at the American Music Awards today, the song detailing the titular character’s struggle with substance abuse.
Giving an emotional performance, Macklemore made a powerful statement in the song not laying blame on addicts and singling out “pharmaceutical companies and countries that spend millions fighting a war they’re supplying themselves.”
Touching various facets of drug abuse and addiction across the song’s verses, Macklemore remarks on the hypocrisy of our over-medicated culture and the double standard between pharmaceutical drugs and street drugs, performing with clear emotion and passion.
Giving a rather stripped back performance, Macklemore upgraded his thrift shop digs for a more debonair suit and open shirt rapping in front of images of clouds and joined by a gospel choir and soul newcomer Leon Bridges. A rather sombre turn for Macklemore and Lewis compared to their last single Downtown, the performance shows Macklemore is capable of handling heavier subject matter than bargain shopping sprees and in fact excels outside of his party rap comfort zone.
Having won four Grammy Awards for The Heist, their 2012 debut, Macklemore and Lewis have remained tight lipped about their follow up’s release with no word yet on when it is being released or what it’s called. They did release a promotional single Growing Up (Slonae’s Song) featuring Ed Sheeran (celebrating the birth of Macklemore’s daughter Sloane) as well as the aforementioned lead single Downtown featuring Eric Nally, Melle Mel, Kool Moe Dee and Grandmaster Caz, but other than that we can only guess.
While we may not know when we can buy it, or what it is called, Macklemore is nevertheless quietly confident with the new work. “I’m feeling great about this album,” Macklemore told Rolling Stone. “It has a diversity of sounds and textures and concepts. We’ve been able to take our time with it, and it’s a great feeling to get to that point.”
Watch the full performance for yourself here below and stay tuned for any more news of the new album.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis perform Kevin at AMAs 2015