The Spotlight: MGK – Machine Gun Kelly Bloom’s In ’17
The Spotlight: MGK
Colson Baker (born Richard Colson Baker; April 22, 1990),better known by his stage names MGK and Machine Gun Kelly, (He considers it “Lame & Corny” when people who don’t really know him call him Colson ) is an American rapper and actor, from Cleveland, Ohio. MGK embarked on a musical career as a teenager, releasing a mixtape in 2006. He would then go on to release four further mixtapes.
MGK then secured a recording contract with Bad Boy and Interscope Records in 2011. His major label debut album, Lace Up, was released in October 2012 to positive response from critics. The record contained the singles “Wild Boy“, “Invincible“, “Stereo“, and “Hold On (Shut Up)“, and debuted at number four on the US Billboard 200chart; it was later confirmed to have sold more than 178,000 copies. In early 2015, he released the singles “Till I Die” and “A Little More” for his second studio album, General Admission, which released in October 2015, and also debuted at number four in the US. The album incorporated darker tones, rap rock, R&B, and storytelling.
MGK has also appeared in various films, starring in Beyond the Lights, as Kid Culprit. He would then star in Roadies as Wesley (a.k.a. Wes), before being cast in lead roles in Viral, Punk’s Dead: SLC Punk 2 and Nerve
After nearly a decade of slugging away as a cult-y, rock-worshipping, guitar-playing, live-band-leading hip-hop artist, MGK has broken through with a real hit, cracking the Top Five earlier this year with the dark but poppy “Bad Things,” a duet with Camila Cabello that evokes the Eminem-Rihanna collaborations of yore. It’s a sharp turnaround for a rapper (he prefers “musician”) whose career seemed to have nosedived just a couple of years ago, one whose rat-a-tat rhyme style is out of step with the genre’s dominant, liquid Atlanta flow (though he adapts nicely on the new Quavo collaboration “Trap Paris). “I was going into venues that we had just sold out the year before,” MGK says, “and there was, like, 100 fucking people. I thought it was over.”
He’s six feet four, thoroughly tattooed and so lanky that he seems to be even taller. His fashion sense is singular: Think Axl Rose styled by Elton John during a blackout. Tonight, he’s got on a distressed, acid-washed pale-blue denim jacket with “Thrill Ryde” etched on the back, a black and red floral shirt, low-hanging black jeans (with safety pins where the fly should be, a wallet chain, plus a black bandanna in a rear pocket) and pink-tinted circular-lensed glasses not unlike the pair Canadian reggae artist Snow wore in the “Informer” video. The shades nearly match the ruby grilles on his teeth.
Cleveland actor and rapper Machine Gun Kelly has held down several jobs over the years. He once worked at an airbrush shop in Tower City, slyly passing out his music to as many customers as possible. He also had a gig at Chipotle, where apparently his guacamole-making skills were on point. And now Kelly can add Reebok Global Ambassador to his resume.
The sportswear company recently added MGK to its already stacked roster of celebrity ambassadors, including Rae Sremmurd, Teyana Taylor and Future. Reebok will capitalize on the immense fan base that Kelly has garnered over the years since his meteoric rise in 2011, while MGK will get some classic kicks out of the deal.
Damion Presson, director of global entertainment marketing for Reebok, welcomed the Cleveland rapper in a (pretty generic) statement saying, “He has such a great energy around him and connection to his fans through his message. His dynamism truly connects to our brand and really comes through in everything he touches.”
MGK is set to rock the newly revitalized Club C Shoe, which originally debuted in 1985, on his upcoming tour.
He also showed his enthusiasm for the Reebok brand saying in a statement:
“It’s awesome to have a brand like Reebok support what you stand for as well as your creative vision, and I’m excited to show you what a Reebok and Machine Gun Kelly collaboration is all about.”
Machine Gun Kelly is currently in the middle of a massive tour and he’s giving fans more of an insight into his activities on the road with a brand-new episode of his Youtube series KellyVision.
In this edition of the show, MGK tries (and fails) to play Dance Dance Revolution, examines some crazy world records (“Where are your friends?”), avoids T-Rex arms and generally lives it the f**k up while going from city to city.
His recent touring exploits, combined with his “sort of” official relationship with Halsey, is sure to have him on an inescapable high right now. You can check out the full version of his latest KellyVision episode on Youtube.
After the demise of the tortured relationship that inspired “Bad Things,” he is happily spending a lot of time with the alt-pop singer-songwriter Halsey. They seem pretty snuggly at Tao and, later, at the retro Emo Night L.A. at Webster Hall, they scream along in unison to hits of the ’00s. “Did it seem like you were in the room with two people who fought for the Number One record in the country at the same time?” he asks. “Nah, there was no celebrity to that shit. There was just youthful, free spirit in the air and no fucks given. I won’t comment exactly on titles or labels or anything, but what I will say is I feel 16 again.”
But still, trouble keeps finding him. On the set of a sci-fi movie he just shot, an actor playing a cop kept punching him in the chest, for real, in take after take. When he complained, he says, he was told to suck it up. “As Colson Baker, I took that loss on the chin,” MGK says. “But, like, dude: Machine Gun probably would’ve whupped his fucking ass.”
MGK has a child named Casie, who was born in 2008. Although MGK and the child’s mother are no longer together, they are on good terms, with MGK going as far as using the advance money from his record deal to buy a new house for her and Casie.
MGK has openly spoken about his previous 2-year heroin addiction, making a song referencing the addiction titled “Lead You On”, and with the song having a profound impact on him, it has allowed for him to self-refer “Lead You On” as his most meaningful song. MGK was forced through a period of homelessness to feed the addiction in 2010, and therefore attended a rehabilitation center in which he was aided by a guidance counsellor to combat the addiction. MGK even contemplated suicide by drug overdose, contemplating whether to “stick that shit up in my skin and overdose [on heroin] so I can’t have it again”, but managed to combat the addiction and was able to remain sober until a brief relapse period in 2012, which is documented on the movie “Half Naked and Almost Famous”, titled after his first EP. Following self described “harrowing realization talks” with Slim Gudz and Ashleigh, he has remained sober since.
MGK is open about his use of cannabis and he has claimed in many interviews that he smokes daily, describing it as a “source of happiness and a way people can feel a little more love [in their own right].” He has frequently mentioned cannabis references within sources of his music and rap persona, making it a forefront of both his rap and personal character.