Machine Gun Kelly (rapper)

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Machine Gun Kelly
Machine Gun Kelly.jpg
Machine Gun Kelly in 2013
Background information
Birth name Colson Baker
Also known as MGK
Born (1990-04-22) April 22, 1990 (age 25)[1][2][3]
Houston, Texas, U.S
  • Rapper
  • songwriter
  • actor
Years active 2006–present[4]
Musical career
Genres Hip hop
Associated acts

Colson Baker[5][6][7] (born April 22, 1990),[1][2][3] better known by his stage name Machine Gun Kelly (or MGK for short), is an American rapper, songwriter and actor from Cleveland, Ohio. He is currently signed to Bad Boy and Interscope Records.[8]

Life and career[edit]

1990-2009: Early life[edit]

Richard Colson Baker[6] was born on April 22, 1990[2][1][2][3] in Houston, Texas to an missionary parents. Baker and his family moved all around the globe and took up residence abroad from Egypt to Germany, as well as throughout the United States in Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver, and Cleveland.[5] He since lived at first for 4 years of his life in Egypt, he spoke Arabic before speaking English.[9] He waa able to settled in Denver, along with his father after his mother has left home, and the pair moved in with Baker's aunt. Following his father suffering from depression and unemployment, Baker had to endured bullying from other children in the neighborhood.[10] He started listening to rap in the sixth and seventh grade, when he attended to Hamilton Middle School, a school with an ethnically diverse student body in Denver, Colorado.[9] The first two rappers that got him into the genre of hip hop as a child were Ludacris and DMX, with Baker gaining severe interest in rap after listening to DMX's "We Right Here" from the album The Great Depression (2001).[11] Baker's home life was seldom stable, as he would regularly fight with his father. When he attended Denver's Thomas Jefferson High School, his father moved to Kuwait to work for the army and left him behind to live in a neighbor's basement. During the course of living in the basement, Baker began experimenting with drugs and recorded his first amateur demo tape.

Following his father's departure, Baker stopped attending school and began to make a name for himself by calling out elder classmates. In 2005, his father returned to take Baker to Kuwait before the pair were forced back stateside of Cleveland, where Baker attended Shaker Heights High School.[9] While attending Shaker Heights High, he convinced a local t-shirt shop owner to become his manager, as the shop owner would double as a MC manager. Given the stage name, as Machine Gun Kelly by his fans due to his rapid fire delivery, when he released his 2006's mixtape Stamp of Approval and, as his reputation and profile grew, he began performing at local Cleveland venues.

In March 2009, while he was on the verge of getting evicted, Machine Gun Kelly travelled to Harlem's Apollo Theater, where he had consecutive victories, making him the first ever white rapper to win at the Apollo Theater.[5] He records music in his home studio which he refers to as the "Rage Cage",[9] and 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 second mixtape 100 Words and Running. He derived his catchphrase, "Lace Up", which started as a mixtape interlude, before making it a prominent reference in his music. Despite relative modest success and rising popularity, Machine Gun Kelly found himself working at Chipotle to afford rent, as well as being kicked out by his father after graduating in high school along with becoming a father himself.[5] After he was kicked out, Machine Gun Kelly had to move in with Slim Gudz and Dubo to their girl's basement, where he recorded the majority for his first album.

2009-12: First single, recording contract and Lace Up[edit]

In May 2010, he made his national debut with the single "Alice in Wonderland", which was released on iTunes and accompanied a music video along with the song. It was released via Block Starz Music.[12][13][14] The single awarded Machine Gun Kelly the "Best Midwest Artist" at the 2010 Underground Music Awards and his "Alice in Wonderland" clip won "Best Music Video" at the 2010 Ohio Hip-Hop Awards.[5] He released his second mixtape in November 2010 titled Lace Up which featured the hometown anthem "Cleveland", which is now played at Cleveland Cavaliers home games and is on rotation on Z107.9 in Cleveland. The mixtape was recorded in three months in 2010 during a creative burst.[9] Following the success of the mixtape, which allowed Machine Gun Kelly to gain national exposure, he was featured in XXL in 2011.[15] He then appeared on the Juicy J track "Inhale" which also featured Steve-O from Jackass in the music video. The song was produced by Lex Luger.[5]

In March 2011, Machine Gun Kelly participated in his first SXSW show in Austin, Texas, and at the show, he was approached by Sean Combs, who had offered Machine Gun Kelly a recording contract with Bad Boy Records, which is associated with Interscope.[16] He was featured on the XV song "Finally Home".[17] After signing for Bad Boy, Machine Gun Kelly released the music video for the song "Wild Boy", which featured Waka Flocka Flame and was produced by GB Hitz. The duo appeared on BET's 106 & Park to promote the single. In mid-2011, Machine Gun Kelly signed a deal with Young and Reckless Clothing. In February 2012, Machine Gun Kelly hinted on Twitter that his debut extended play Half Naked & Almost Famous would be released in March 2012. He 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". Half Naked & Almost Famous released on March 20, 2012, and debuted at 46 on the Billboard 200 with 8,500 copies sold in its first week. As of August 2012, it has had 36,500 copies sold.

Machine Gun Kelly announced via an official statement that his debut album would be titled Lace Up, and have an intended release on October 9, 2012. "Wild Boy" served as the promotional single for the album and the song debuted on the US Billboard Hot 100 on at number ninety-eight. It was soon certified gold by the RIAA.[18][19] The song "Invincible" was released on iTunes on December 16, 2011 featuring co-writer and singer Ester Dean as the second single of the album.[20] The song is featured in a commercial for the HTC ReZound[21] 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, with Machine Gun Kelly also performing at WrestleMania prior to the main event. "Invincible" is also currently the theme for Thursday Night Football on NFL network. WWE also used the song "All We Have" to again highlight Cena on his rematch with The Rock at next year's event. On December 14, 2011, Machine Gun Kelly was named the Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2011 by MTV.[22] On March 18, 2012, Kelly won the MTVu Breaking Woodie award[23] before being 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.[24] On August 13, 2012, Machine Gun Kelly released a mixtape titled EST 4 Life, which contained both old and recently recorded material.[25]

His debut studio album Lace Up was released on October 9, 2012. The album featured guest appearances from Bun B, Cassie, DMX, 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.[26] It slid down to #22 in its second week, giving it a total of 65,000 copies.[27] As of March 24, 2013, the album has sold 178,000 copies.[28]

2012–present: Black Flag and second studio album[edit]

Following a brief shortening of his stage name, 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. Pusha T and Meek Mill were the first artists to be featured on the mixtape, both appearing on the track "Pe$o". Machine Gun Kelly also announced that Wiz Khalifa will be featured on the mixtape.[29] 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", as the music video release served as a promotional video for Black Flag.[30] On June 26, Kelly released Black Flag without prior announcement.[31] The mixtape also featured guest appearances from French Montana, Kellin Quinn, Dub-O, Sean McGee and Tezo.[32] Following the release of Black Flag, rumors surfaced that Machine Gun Kelly had begun working on his second studio album. On January 22, 2014, he confirmed that he was in the early stages of working on the album, with 2015 being the scheduled year of release. On January 5, 2015, Colson releases the music video from his first single "Till I Die" on his VEVO account. Months later, a remix of "Till I die" with hometown fellow hip-hop group Bone Thugs N Harmony was confirmed. On May 18, 2015, the second single "A Little More" music video was released. This single features vocals from American artist Victoria Monet. [33]

Personal life[edit]

Baker has a child named Casie, 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."[34] Although Baker and the child's mother are no longer together, they are 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.




Year Title Role Notes
2014 Beyond the Lights Kid Culprit Contributed to the soundtrack with "Masterpiece", "C'mon Boy" and "Private Property"
2015 Roadies Jesse TV movie; pre-production
2015 Punk's Dead! Crash Completed
2016 Nerve Unknown Filming; has been cast in a role that is not yet disclosed.

Awards and nominations[edit]

mtvU Woodie Awards[edit]

Year Nominated work Award Result
2012 MGK Breaking Woodie Won
2013 MGK Woodie of the Year Won


  1. ^ a b c "MGK twitter status April 20, 2014". Twitter. April 20, 2014. Retrieved April 24, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d "MGK twitter status April 22, 2014". Twitter. April 22, 2014. Retrieved April 24, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "MGK twitter status April 22, 2015". Twitter. April 22, 2015. Retrieved April 24, 2015. 
  4. ^ "21. Machine Gun Kelly — The 25 Best Rappers 25 And Under". Complex. June 14, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f XXL Mag April 2011; "Show & Prove" (Machine Gun Kelly)
  6. ^ a b "Pinellas County Sheriff's Office – Subject Charge Report". Pinellas County, FL. January 29, 2012. Retrieved February 20, 2012. 
  7. ^ "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.
  8. ^ Machine Gun Kelly Announces Deal With Bad Boy/Interscope: 'They Understood Our Idea'. VIBE. Retrieved August 24, 2011.
  9. ^ a b c d e Cleveland's own Machine Gun Kelly is riding a wave of 'raging' rap. The Plain Dealer. Retrieved August 24, 2011.Monik Franklin is his best friend
  10. ^ "Machine Gun Kelly: My Life". April 22, 2011. Retrieved April 24, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Nardwuar vs. Machine Gun Kelly". YouTube. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  12. ^ Twista, Shawnna, Big Sean & Rhymfest Join Forces On "Midwest Block Starz" | Hot 107.5. (April 8, 2010). Retrieved October 9, 2012.
  13. ^ iTunes – Music – Alice In Wonderland by Machine Gun Kelly. iTunes (August 11, 2010). Retrieved October 9, 2012.
  14. ^ Machine Gun Kelly – Alice In Wonderland | YouTube. Retrieved October 9, 2012.
  15. ^ “Who Can Get Busy”: XXL’s Feature On the Growing Trend of White Rappers [April 2011 Magazine Excerpt. Xxlmag.Com. Retrieved August 24, 2011.
  16. ^ Video: Machine Gun Kelly – Naked & Almost Famous (Ep.1). The Source (March 20, 2011). Retrieved August 24, 2011.
  17. ^ New Music: XV x Machine Gun Kelly "Finally Home". Rap Radar (February 22, 2011). Retrieved August 24, 2011.
  18. ^ " Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved January 19, 2012. 
  19. ^ Connecting to the iTunes Store. iTunes Store. Retrieved October 9, 2012.
  20. ^ Connecting to the iTunes Store. iTunes Store. Retrieved October 9, 2012.
  21. ^ MGK “Tears Up” Verizon Commercial. Rap Radar (November 17, 2011). Retrieved October 9, 2012.
  22. ^ Machine Gun Kelly Named MTV 'Hottest Breakthrough MC Of 2011'. Baller Status. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
  23. ^ Machine Gun Kelly wins MTVu Breaking Woodie 2012. MTV. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
  24. ^ "And XXL’s 2012 Freshmen are…". 2DopeBoyz. February 28, 2012. Retrieved February 28, 2012. 
  25. ^ Martin, Andrew (August 13, 2012). "Mixtape: Machine Gun Kelly Presents "EST 4 Life"". Complex. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  26. ^ 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. 
  27. ^ "Hip Hop Album Sales: The Week Ending 10/21/2012". HipHop DX. Retrieved October 24, 2012. 
  28. ^ 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. 
  29. ^ "Machine Gun Kelly's Next Single Will Feature Meek Mill and Pusha T [Video] – XXL". January 28, 2013. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  30. ^ Horowitz, Steven J (February 18, 2013). "Machine Gun Kelly Announces 'Black Flag' Mixtape, Reveals Cover Art". HipHopDX. Retrieved February 25, 2013. 
  31. ^ "Machine Gun Kelly 'Black Flag'". Complex. June 26, 2013. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Machine Gun Kelly 'Black Flag' (Artwork & Tracklist) – XXL". June 11, 2013. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  33. ^ HipHopDX (January 23, 2014). "MGK Says He's Scared To Listen To Eminem's "MMLP2"". HipHopDX.
  34. ^ Biography.

External links[edit]