Machine Gun Kelly (rapper)
|Machine Gun Kelly|
Machine Gun Kelly in 2013
|Birth name||Richard Colson Baker|
|Also known as||MGK|
April 22, 1990 |
Houston, Texas, United States
|Labels||EST19XX, Bad Boy, Interscope|
|Associated acts||Dubo, DMX, Diddy, French Montana, Waka Flocka Flame, Sleeping With Sirens|
Richard Colson Baker (born April 22, 1990), better known by his stage name Machine Gun Kelly (or MGK for short), is an American rapper from Cleveland, Ohio, signed to Bad Boy and Interscope Records. His stage name was given for his rapid-fire lyrical flow and is a reference to notorious criminal George "Machine Gun Kelly" Barnes. He rose to fame after releasing his first four mixtapes, Stamp Of Approval (2006), Homecoming (2008), 100 Words and Running (2010), and Lace Up (2010). In August 2011, MGK secured a recording contract with Interscope and Bad Boy Records, after a meeting with Jimmy Iovine and Sean "Diddy" Combs.
Life and career
1990–2010: Early life and career beginnings
Baker was born on April 22, 1990 in Houston, Texas to missionary parents. Baker and his family moved all around the globe and took up residence abroad in Egypt and Germany, as well as throughout the United States in Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver, and Cleveland. Since he lived the first four years of his life in Egypt, he spoke Arabic before English. He started listening to rap in the sixth and seventh grade when he went to Hamilton Middle School, a school with an ethnically diverse student body in Denver, Colorado. The first two rappers that got him into the genre as a child were Ludacris and DMX. At the age of fourteen, Baker moved to Cleveland, where he attended Shaker Heights High School.
On the verge of getting evicted, Baker went to Harlem's Apollo Theater in March 2009 where he had consecutive victories, making him the first ever white rapper to win at the Apollo Theater. He records music in his home studio which he refers to as the "Rage Cage". Baker first started to gain exposure when he was featured on MTV2's Sucker Free Freestyle, where he freestyled numerous verses from his "Chip Off The Block" single. In February 2010, he released his debut mixtape 100 Words and Running. In May 2010, he made his national debut with the single and video for "Alice In Wonderland" from the Midwest Block Starz compilation released by Block Starz Music. He released his second mixtape in November 2010 titled Lace Up which featured the hometown anthem "Cleveland" which is played at Cleveland Cavaliers home games and is on rotation on Z107.9 in Cleveland. Lace Up was recorded in three months in 2010 during a creative burst.
2011–2012: Recording contract and debut album
In 2011, he was featured in XXL. He has forged a friendship with Three 6 Mafia's Juicy J who tapped Kelly to appear on his track "Inhale" in January 2011 which was produced by Lex Luger and featured Steve-O from Jackass in the music video.
In March 2011, he participated in his first SXSW show in Austin, Texas. At the SXSW show, he was approached by Sean Combs and since then has gained massive exposure throughout the music scene which lead to Machine Gun Kelly being signed with Bad Boy Records which is associated with Interscope He was featured on the XV song "Finally Home". On November 15, Machine Gun Kelly released a music video for the song "Wild Boy" featuring American rapper Waka Flocka Flame. On December 8, 2011, Machine Gun Kelly appeared on BET's 106 & Park alongside Waka Flocka Flame to promote the video. In February 2012, Machine Gun Kelly hinted on Twitter that his long awaited extended play Half Naked & Almost Famous would be released in March 2012. Machine Gun Kelly tweeted from his Twitter page @machinegunkelly "Once March hits ... it's gonna be a wild ride for all of us. We're gonna watch something we've seen come from the bottom rise way up. LTFU".
In official statement given, Kelly's debut album was titled Lace Up and was scheduled with a release on October 9, 2012. "Wild Boy" served as the promotional single for the album and on the week of January 28, 2012, the song debuted on the US Billboard Hot 100 on at number ninety-eight. It as soon certified gold by the RIAA.  His song "Invincible" is featured in a commercial for the HTC ReZound as well as the official theme song of WrestleMania XXVIII and WWE also used the song to highlight John Cena in his match with The Rock at the event. It is currently the theme for Thursday Night Football on NFL network. The song was released on iTunes December 16, 2011 featuring co-writer and singer Ester Dean as the second single of the album. On December 14, 2011, Machine Gun Kelly was named the Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2011 by MTV. In 2012, Machine Gun Kelly was featured on the cover of XXL as part of their annual "Top 10 Freshmen list" along with fellow rappers Macklemore, French Montana, Hopsin, Danny Brown, Iggy Azalea, Roscoe Dash, Future, Don Trip and Kid Ink. On August 13, 2012, Machine Gun Kelly released a mixtape titled EST 4 Life, which contained both old and recently recorded material. On March 18, 2012, Kelly won the MTVu Breaking Woodie award. In mid-2011, Machine Gun Kelly signed a deal with Young and Reckless Clothing.
His debut album Lace Up was released on October 9, 2012. The album features guest appearances from Bun B, Cassie, DMX, Dubo, Ester Dean, Lil Jon, Tech N9ne, Twista, Waka Flocka Flame, Young Jeezy among others. The album debuted at number 4 on the US Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 57,000 copies. It slid down to #22 in its second week, giving it a total of 65,000 copies. As of March 24, 2013, the album has sold 178,000 copies.
2013–present: Black Flag and second studio album
On January 28, MGK announced that he will be reverting to his previous stage name of "Machine Gun Kelly" as well as announcing the intended release of a new mixtape. The first single, titled "Peso" featured Pusha T and Meek Mill. Kelly also said Wiz Khalifa will be featured on the mixtape. On February 18, 2013, Kelly announced the name of the mixtape as "Black Flag" and revealed the cover. He also released a music video for "Champions" which features Diddy and samples The Diplomats song "We are the Champions". The music video release served as a promotional video for Black Flag. On June 26, Kelly released Black Flag without prior announcement. The mixtape featured guest appearances from Wiz Khalifa, French Montana, Kellin Quinn, Dub-O, Sean McGee and Tezo. Following the release of Black Flag, Machine Gun Kelly began working on his second studio album, and on January 22, 2014, he confirmed that he was in the early stages of working on the album.
Baker has a child named Casie Colson Baker, who was born in 2008. Stated on his website: "Not long after, an 18 year-old MGK welcomed his own child, a daughter named Casie. The infant gave the rapper new incentive to work even harder." The child's mother and Baker are no longer together, although they’re on good terms, with Baker going as far as using the advance money from his record deal to buy a new house for her and Casie. Casie's mother's name, however, has not been announced by himself or his management team to date.
- Beyond the Lights (2014)
- Punk's Dead! (2015)
Awards and nominations
mtvU Woodie Awards
|2013||MGK||Woodie of the Year||Won|
- "21. Machine Gun Kelly — The 25 Best Rappers 25 And Under". Complex. June 14, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
- XXL Mag April 2011; "Show & Prove" (Machine Gun Kelly)
- Pinellas County Sheriff's Office Charge Report. Retrieved February 20, 2012.
- "Machine Gun Kelly, rising rap star and Shaker Heights High School grad, busted for 'brawling' in Florida." The Plain Dealer. January 30, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
- Machine Gun Kelly Announces Deal With Bad Boy/Interscope: 'They Understood Our Idea'. VIBE. Retrieved August 24, 2011.
- Cleveland's own Machine Gun Kelly is riding a wave of 'raging' rap. The Plain Dealer. Retrieved August 24, 2011.
- "Nardwuar vs. Machine Gun Kelly". YouTube. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
- Twista, Shawnna, Big Sean & Rhymfest Join Forces On "Midwest Block Starz" | Hot 107.5. Hothiphopdetroit.com (April 8, 2010). Retrieved October 9, 2012.
- iTunes – Music – Alice In Wonderland by Machine Gun Kelly. iTunes Store.com (August 11, 2010). Retrieved October 9, 2012.
- Machine Gun Kelly – Alice In Wonderland | BlockStarzTv.com. YouTube. Retrieved October 9, 2012.
- “Who Can Get Busy”: XXL’s Feature On the Growing Trend of White Rappers [April 2011 Magazine Excerpt. Xxlmag.Com. Retrieved August 24, 2011.
- Video: Machine Gun Kelly – Naked & Almost Famous (Ep.1). The Source (March 20, 2011). Retrieved August 24, 2011.
- New Music: XV x Machine Gun Kelly "Finally Home". Rap Radar (February 22, 2011). Retrieved August 24, 2011.
- "Billboard.com: Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved January 19, 2012.
- Connecting to the iTunes Store. iTunes Store. Retrieved October 9, 2012.
- MGK “Tears Up” Verizon Commercial. Rap Radar (November 17, 2011). Retrieved October 9, 2012.
- Connecting to the iTunes Store. iTunes Store. Retrieved October 9, 2012.
- Machine Gun Kelly Named MTV 'Hottest Breakthrough MC Of 2011'. Baller Status. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
- "And XXL’s 2012 Freshmen are…". 2DopeBoyz. February 28, 2012. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
- Martin, Andrew (August 13, 2012). "Mixtape: Machine Gun Kelly Presents "EST 4 Life"". Complex. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
- Machine Gun Kelly wins MTVu Breaking Woodie 2012. MTV. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
- Caulfield, Keith (October 17, 2012). "Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Score Top Billboard 200 Debut, Mumford Still No. 1". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. Retrieved October 17, 2012.
- "Hip Hop Album Sales: The Week Ending 10/21/2012". HipHop DX. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
- Paine, Jake (March 27, 2013). "Hip Hop Album Sales: The Week Ending 3/24/2013 | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales". HipHopDX. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
- "Machine Gun Kelly's Next Single Will Feature Meek Mill and Pusha T [Video] – XXL". Xxlmag.com. January 28, 2013. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
- Horowitz, Steven J (February 18, 2013). "Machine Gun Kelly Announces 'Black Flag' Mixtape, Reveals Cover Art". HipHopDX. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
- "Machine Gun Kelly 'Black Flag'". Complex. June 26, 2013. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
- "Machine Gun Kelly 'Black Flag' (Artwork & Tracklist) – XXL". Xxlmag.com. June 11, 2013. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
- HipHopDX (January 23, 2014). "MGK Says He's Scared To Listen To Eminem's "MMLP2"". HipHopDX.
- Biography. machinegunkelly.com