Macklemore & Ryan Lewis debuted a new song, “Kevin,” at the American Music Awards Sunday night. The up-and-coming R&B singer Leon Bridges provides the song’s hook and appeared alongside Macklemore on the AMAs stage.
With lyrics about “a pill that a doctor prescribed / and a drug that a million dollar industry supplied,” “Kevin” addresses addiction to prescription drugs, specifically oxycontin. Macklemore, whose real name is Ben Haggerty, struggled with addiction years ago before getting sober in 2008, but relapsed in 2014 after the success of his debut studio album with Lewis, 2012’s Grammy-winning The Heist.
“Kevin,” along with previously-released “Downtown” and the rest of the album Macklemore promises to release in the coming months, stemmed from getting clean again. “The sobriety was the wake-up call that I needed,” he told Complex earlier this year. “And, as it always works, the minute that I start actively seeking recovery – not just sobriety, but recovery – music is there. It always has been.”
Check out the performance below.