9 Reasons Why We Love Machine Gun Kelly
Get your rage on with the heavily tattooed, spitfire lyricist, Machine Gun Kelly!
I'm going to repeat this a few times: Machine Gun Kelly is not your typical rapper. After all, what's a skinny blond kid doing in the rap scene?
Born in Houston, Texas, Machine Gun Kelly spent most of his childhood moving around the world and the country with his missionary parents. That's supposed to make anyone think that he's so unlikely to become one of the most hardcore rappers in the scene, with a devoted following of millions with his Lace Up Movement.
Things started out rough for Machine Gun Kelly (whose real name is Colson Baker) since him and his father settled in Denver after his mother left. He claims in interview that he hold a lot against his estranged mother for leaving them for another man. The young Colson didn't have the best relationship with his father either. And as time passed, it only got worse. This led the teenage MGK to turn to drugs and the solace of rap music.
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Five years ago, Machine Gun Kelly had just released his second mixtape “100 Words and Running”, got kicked out of home by his dad upon graduating high school, found out he's going to be a father, and was working at Chipotle to afford rent. Things were breaking down and he wouldn't have imagined how big he's going to be in a matter of years.
Machine Gun Kelly have just released his second album this month. For those who haven't heard it yet, take it from me: It is precious. And that's coming from someone who hardly listens to the genre, save for a few rap artists. To quote MGK, “If it ain't EST in your mouth... Then whatever you rep is corny.”
It's not hard to see how a solid pop punk/alternative rock fan like me got Kells on playlists next to albums like Deja Entendu and Take Off Your Pants and Jacket. Machine Gun Kelly is not your standard rapper. He may have that so-called, essential ‘swagger’ and the street cred, but he continues to blow us away with his high-energy performances, notoriety, collaborations, and trademark spitfire lyricism.
MGK is truly living the life these days, but we get the feeling that he's just about to get more massive and erupting.
1. He's a vicious work of art Machine Gun Kelly won't be Machine Gun Kelly if that body of his made for slamming on walls and bodies wasn't graffitied like a the back of a building in New York.
Like anyone else with numerous tattoos, most of Machine Gun Kelly's tattoos mark significant things in his life. He's got tattoos of the things he believes in, works of his favorite artists, milestones, people that have been close to him, and so on. Like the rest of us, his body is an open book of everything that has taken place in his life so far.
MGK's famous back piece is from a Salvador Dali painting in which the rapper interprets in a way that's related to the Bible's Revelations.
“Remember that one time I got hit by a double decker bus in Manchester and shattered the front window with my head and was supposed to die from a cerebral contusion? Me too. But [I] had to put it on my body to remind myself whenever I forget!” MGK referring to a near-death experience he had in Manchester while trying to score pot.
2. Spitfire lyricism and explosive music There's a reason why MGK have become so big and influential since stepping into the limelight after he got his big break in 2011.
“Her Song” is the first song I've ever heard from MGK. From that moment on, I was instantly hooked as MGK is on his roll-ups. I've never been big into rap songs and I didn't know many rap artists who tackle intimate subjects like love and loss. It's often all about loss. I love how blunt and nostalgic “Her Song” was, sampling an equally emotive song from Irish band The Script.
Listen to “Dark Side of the Moon” and “Merry Go Round” fresh from the General Admission album.
3. His raged-out, high-energy performances on stage
Anyone who has ever been to an MGK concert will know how alive and booming the air is in the venue. And when the big man walks on stage, you're gonna lose it. I mean, how many rap singers bring out a f-cking electric guitar on stage and actually play it themselves like they're in Warped Tour?
Oh, wait. He does play at Warped Tour. An entire Warped Tour. Here's another: He named a mixtape Black Flag.
4. He's practically a punk rock star
Another reason why MGK is making it hard for us to believe that he does not belong in the punk scene unless we've heard his stuff is his identity as a music artist. Donning a mohawk, a pair of skinny jeans, full tattoo sleeves, and band merch in concerts, one would mistake him as a member of some contemporary hardcore band. But that's what makes MGK even more interesting.
And of course, who can forget the crowdsurfing and the mosh pits that take place in most of his gigs?
5. The cool, tattooed dad side of MGK
Doing what he does, MGK might sound like the unlikely father figure one can give to a sweet, little girl, but he aces the dad game. Despite the burden of touring and getting carried away with his bustling career, Machine Gun Kelly still manages to find time for his daughter Casie. Tattooed dads do it better, indeed.
MGK writes: “On Casie's second birthday, we couldn't afford to get her much of anything so I promised that by her fifth birthday, I would take her to Disney World. Today, my little one turned five and she is where I promised her she would be. ✨Magic. ✨”
“...life felt like it was going down the drain at the time this was taken. Me and slim got evicted from our apartment (the one I talk about in 'Till I Die') a month or two after this, and chasing the rapper dream was NOT panning out. Crazy to see all of that just by looking at one picture. I love art for that,” he says.
6. MGK had it rough—like some of us
As we've mentioned earlier, MGK wasn't always the legendary hustler he is today. He had experienced living in somebody else's basement, getting kicked out of his apartment, getting a girl pregnant at 18, and on the verge of losing hope. Something many of us are too familiar with.
But his rise to fame after all the challenges and struggles he had to go through is what inspires fans to keep looking up and lace up.
7. His excellent musical influences and collaborations
Over the years, Machine Gun Kelly got to collaborate with some of the best music artists in the scene. Not just the music artists in his scene, though. MGK have been known to work with artists from the rock scene, something that doesn't happen often in mainstream rap. Hanging out with the likes of Sleeping with Sirens' Kellin Quinn and heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold.
Above all, I was psyched to know how much MGK loved the pop punk band blink-182 as much as I do, covering some of their songs in concerts and referring to them in countless songs he wrote.
“I’m sure a lot of my fans won’t even know what the fuck an Avenged Sevenfold is, and I’m sure a lot of their fans won’t know what the fuck an MGK is,” as the 25-year-old rapper tells Clash about the time Avenged Sevenfold dedicated a mosh pit just for him.
And to top it all off, he even covered this beautiful Rise Against song with soft-voiced rock singer Kellin Quinn, with his signature explosive lyricism blended in.
9. The Lace Up Movement
The Lace Up Movement is all about stepping your game up, no matter what life throws at you and getting back in the game to rage. This is the kind of mantra MGK lived by and proved to his fans. There's also the EST which stands for “everyone stands together”. Really, it doesn't take a genius why not only the hoes love MGK.
9. MGK just being MGK
MGK is still the Cleveland boy who was a product of a broken home, just trying to break into a scene that's supposed to have no place for him. He rose above and simply laced the f-ck up and there he is now, living the life.
Machine Gun Kelly isn't supposed to be the kind of artist your daughter or son should be listening to but then again, so is half the people on their playlist.