Let’s be honest, there’s a bevy of rappers that we love but unfortunately can’t connect to. They’re all living the plush life and are drowning in a pool of money. They’re all drenched in the gaudiest jewelry and are free from financial obscurity. They’re all bathing in luxurious swimming pools with your favorite video model. The correlation isn’t there. Yet, that doesn’t apply to all rappers.
Enter Machine Gun Kelly, the heart of Cleveland, Ohio. Unfazed by the tantalizing demons of life, MGK undoubtedly became the voice of the unspoken. With a rabid fanbase consisting of people who tackle adversity on a regular basis, he is their voice. The kids who are dubbed as unpopular or who were victimized in school look to him and his music as their escape.
Beyond his rambunctious persona and “I Don’t Give A F***” mantra is a 22-year-old who symbolizes hope for anybody who was told that they weren’t good enough. Beyond the tattoos and wild boy demeanor is the new ambassador — along with Kyrie Irving — of Cleveland. After being showered with a number of accolades — MTV’s Breakthrough artist for 2011, XXL Freshman for 2012 — curving out hits like “Invincible” and “Wild Boy” off his debut album Lace Up, and performing at WrestleMania 28, it’s safe to say MGK’s resounding resume speaks for itself.
The Bad Boy signee is currently headlining his own tour and is making sure everywhere he lands that the city of Cleveland is on the forefront. In this interview with Dime, he talks about his All-Star experience, kicking it with Kyrie Irving, his wild tour stories, meeting Kevin Garnett, and his dreams of one day being iconic.
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Dime: You know the XXL list just came out. I want you to take me back to the day that you found out that you were going to be on the cover. Then describe that actual moment of holding the mag and seeing you face on the cover.
MGK: Oh man. I just think like at that point there was a huge debate on whether I was going to be on it for the 2010 Freshman class. So when I made it 2011, I was more kind of like â€“ wait was that 2012 or 2011?
Dime: I think that was 2012.
MGK: Yeah that was 2012. Alright, so there was a debate on whether I was going to be on the one for 2011 or not. When we didn’t get it, it was almost like you had to give it to us in 2012. You know accolades always come late. So when we get them, we appreciate them that much more because we worked that harder to get them. But, to the people that actually gave it to us, it was more like, “Yeah man. This was something that should have been done.” Like everyone seemed to catch on late to the whole Machine Gun Kelly thing. But at the end of the day, grateful is the only thing you could describe when you see yourself on the cover and your family members get to go in the store and buy that magazine. My aunt, who was fighting cancer at that time, was able to go in and buy that magazine with her little boy’s face in it. She was the one who really raised me. You know what I’m saying? To see that after all the bad things that I have done in her life and my life, I knew kind of at that moment she was proud of the boy that she raised.
Dime: I respect that man. One of the biggest things I’ve noticed with you is your rabid fanbase. A few rappers like Tech Nine, DMX, Joe Budden, Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne, have those ride or die fans. What can you accredit that too?
MGK: I accredit that to the subjects on which I speak on. I think I just talk more for a troubled youth and more for the untrendy. I think that there are some many kids that are not part of the cool group that needed someone to speak for them and I was like, “Hey man. I’m here.”
Dime: I hear you on that. I definitely love your vlogs, man.
MGK: Oh nice dude! I think that stuff too [helped my fanbase], I think that also as well. I think what I could credit that relationship to is also that it’s not always music with me. It’s like, “Hey. Here’s me as a person. Here’s five minutes with me as a person. Just me you know what I’m saying?” So I think a lot of people get attached to Machine Gun Kelly as a personality and not just an artist.
Dime: You and your team look like you guys love having fun on your vlogs because you’re always doing something crazy with them. Do you have any crazy stories from your tour so far?
MGK: Oh man. Oh my god do I? [Calls Friend] “Hey. What’s some crazy shit that happened yesterday?” By the way there’s always some crazy shit that happens every day. We were in Athens, Georgia yesterday. I was on mushrooms and I tried to climb up a giant billboard sign that I clearly could not climb. I got too far up to get back down. I had to have a friend whose like 4-0 tall try to catch me on my way down. We failed miserably. We went to climb trees and rocks and there was one I named Satin’s Penis. We parked our tour bus next to a stripclub called Biggums yesterday which was a real shitty run down strip club. (Laughs) They tried to tow our bus while we were inside getting Hummers. There was this weird trick that this stripper showed us. These strippers were like the ugliest pieces of shit on earth that I’ve ever seen. She puts your balls in her mouth and outside of your pants. She starts humming and it makes your dick hard. So we were doing that with disgusting meth addict strippers on a random off day.
Dime: (Laughs) Oh man. I wonder if this is going to hit the vlogs.
MGK: Oh nah man. There were no cameras. No cameras.
Dime: Respect man. Talk about the experience you had at All-Star Weekend being with the stars and kicking it with Kyrie Irving.
MGK: You know obviously seeing Kyrie was amazing. I think the one thing I kept bragging about was meeting Jay-Z. But you know also, now that I think about it, another thing that was cool in addition to being with Kyrie backstage at his win in the Three-Point Contest was seeing more Clevelanders and being able to sit next to Dan [Gilbert] and his family and being so involved in that. Also, another huge highlight for me was when Kevin Garnett stopped me in the hallway after the All-Star Game. He was like, “Hey man. I just wanna tell you that I love what you’re doing for these kids now. I really respect your music.” He kind of did like this gracious bow. I was like, “Man. Here’s Kevin Garnett -the biggest shittalker in the game.” You know what I’m saying? He could have looked at me like, “Yo what the fuck are you doing back here?” (Laughs) To see him stop and to give homage to a young kid following his dreams, man, I respect him so much for that. That was a beautiful moment for me.