When 21-year-old Colson Baker hits the stage, it becomes crystal clear why his motto is “Lace the fuck up.” Better known as Machine Gun Kelly, the Cleveland emcee jumps right into his rapid-fire delivery that’ll leave you in the dust if you’re not paying attention. Combining this style with music that speaks to the underdog in all of us, Kelly has amassed a cult following that goes beyond blog posts and twitter followers. With his latest mixtape Lace Up solidifying his status, Kelly is now hard at work on his untitled debut album, which is scheduled to come out later this year with features from Good Charlotte’s Benji and Joel Madden, as well as Mike Posner and Bun B. Kelly has also finally signed on the dotted line with a major record label, but is waiting to make the announcement in the coming month.
In the meantime, HipHopDX caught up with MGK to talk about his rapping past, what he feels is hurting Hip Hop right now, as well as what he wants his legacy to be when he drops the microphone.
Half Naked And Almost Famous: “I’m such a fucking weirdo with the bi-polar shit. It really does bounce around. It’s so hard to keep my head in one place. One moment I’m feeling myself and then the next I’m so humble and grateful.”
“It’s really realizing that I’m doing it for these kids. And I really have a responsibility to these kids because I have a whole different type of fan-base rather than just a normal Hip Hop fan base. Ultimately, day to day I have that bad boy mentality, but at the end of the fucking night when all the drunken raging is done, there’s moments when I’m like, ‘Wow man, I have a great life’ and I’m very reflective. I’m still trying to figure out who I am.”
Forgetting The Past: “I think I just sucked. I was 16, trying to find myself back when I was trying to be a rapper and I thought that you had to be gangster to be a rapper. There was some content where I was like, ‘Who the fuck is this guy?’ Like how many people did I kill? Just that type of shit. It took me a few years, like 18 to 19-years-old to figure out I wasn’t a thug and shit. I just look at that and I’m like, ‘What a fucking disappointment.’ Like who the fuck would allow me to…I look back and laugh at myself, because everybody goes through that shit. Lupe Fiasco used to rap like a gangster rapper also.”
Making Music For The People: “I don’t ever want to be put into a position where my fans feel like I have to make solely underground music. If you listen to my latest mixtapes they definitely have a universal feel, and there were a lot of ‘big songs’ on Lace Up. I want to be an artist who has great underground credibility and great mainstream credibility. I feel like I don’t wanna just turn…I don’t want to pull a Wiz Khalifa. Like, Wiz is so great at what he does and his movement is so awesome but I felt like there was such a drastic switch between his mixtapes and his [Rolling Papers] album. I really wanna be aware of all that. With my own album, I don’t want to pull that type of move. But it’s all respect for Wiz Khalifa. I don’t want to be painted in that category as an underground artist because I always make good music. I’m bound to make big songs, but ultimately my goal is to make underdog theme music type shit.”
Biggest Problem Within Hip Hop: “I think that shock value shit just needs to stop. The underground is high right now, like the underground is almost mainstream, and a lot of what’s going on in the underground is people are getting away with shit like doing things as a gimmick, but people think it’s cool. I think shock value is the ultimate wackest shit going on right now in Hip Hop. Like what can I do that’s not me, that’s not genuinely me or something I would do if the cameras were not on. What is something I can do that will make America want to look at me? It’s so wack.”
MGK In One Song: “I think ‘Salute’ is sweet. That first song on Lace Up is so dope because it’s so aggressive. I think ‘Salute’ best represents me because it shows that passion and that hunger and it’s so come out the gate vicious. Like coming at your neck, because I say so many things on that song that represents exactly who I am. I think ‘Salute’ is like the best representation of who I am right now. But ultimately, ‘The Return’ and ‘End of The Road’ are my favorite songs I’ve ever done.”
Word To Lebron James: “That was like a wake-up call for the world man. You can’t buy what you want. You can’t buy a fucking championship, you can’t buy success. It just showed you have to fucking be genuine, down to earth and work for what you want. Lebron [James] is such a bitch man, and bitches don’t win championships.”
Today Cleveland, Tomorrow The World: “I wanna be a fucking revolutionary man, like looked at as an icon. Like if you put Kurt Cobain and DMX into a bottle and shook it up. That would be Machine Gun Kelly. I want the world to watch me mature, and I want the world to grow with me, and become proud of this kid who went from a boy chasing his dream to wildn’ out to getting his senses to making great music to conquering the fucking things they said he couldn’t conquer.”