Machine Gun Kelly
with special guest Dub-O
Friday May 5th | Baltimore Soundstage
Like the Gladiators during the Roman Empire, Machine Gun Kelly burst onto the Music Scene with a lifetime’s worth of Determination, Engaging sense of Theatre, Passion for all forms of Art and Strength in 2004. “Lace up,” is on repeat throughout his daily regime, serving as a constant reminder to all those in his circle that one must always be ready for the day and whatever obstacles may come to bear. It is this strength from him that appeals to the young legion of fans as showcased by his chosen beats, awakening musical rhythms and creatively crafted lyrics. It is his Daring and Perseverance which will draw in the older audiences as 2015 promises to give a peak into MGK’s World through his Artistic Impressions. Penning rhymes about everything from family struggles to relationships to addiction, Kelly as an artist embodies Every Generation’s relentless perseverance toward creating a BETTER path towards the future with some call good-old fashioned grit….From the bottom Up!
In the latter part of 2014/early 2015, Machine Gun Kelly quietly recorded his sophomore album GENERAL ADMISSION. “I trust myself alot more on this album,” he says. “Every song was created from the ground up. The last album was mostly me with a pile of beats, writing rhymes. This record is really instrumental and completely built around my different personal experiences.” On January 5th, 2015, Machine Gun Kelly dropped his Homage to Cleveland entitled “Til I Die” which debuted on the ITunes Hip-Hop/Rap Sales Chart in the Top Ten with the corresponding video attracting half a million views within the first 3 days. His follow up Mix Release for his fans only was released through MGK’s Instagram and SnapChat called “Against The World” featuring a sample of artist Sia’s older tunes. The first official single for the next album continues to showcase the ever-evolving man that MGK has become. Incorporating his experiences, traveling and interest in World Affairs and the State of Humanity across the Oceans, he has created the perfect Anthem for today’s Societal Issues with the simply title “A Little More.” Vocalizing his views on everything from Political Wars to Teen Bullying while staying true to his constant thematic scheme of staying true to oneself and believing in all possibilities, this single is fast becoming what looks to be Kelly’s most successful record to date and a true milestone moment for his career.
Though Machine Gun Kelly calls Cleveland home, he was Born Colson Baker in Houston, Texas. Baker lived in close to a dozen places as a child, traveling state-side as well as Internationally. Though life was hard adjusting to such constant turmoil, MGK learned quite a bit and began cultivating skills needed to be comfortable in any environment. By the time he finally settled in Denver, Colorado, it was just him and father as his parents marriage failed.. It was here in the Rocky Mountains of America that bands like Anti-Flag, the Casualties, Limp Bizkit and the Deftones opened up Kelly’s mind with wondrous possibilities as these artists came to make up the soundtrack to Kelly’s Life, While watching tons of MTV and creating stunt antics with friends while watching MTV’s “Jackass”, Kelly and friends began to channel their energy into a Garage Band called the Dumb Bunny Trio with Kelly on guitar and vocals. In seventh grade, Kelly found solace in rhyming after watching DMX’s “We Right Here” video. “DMX is a huge influence on me because neither of us have siblings, we had to fight a lot of dark shit by ourselves,” says Kelly. Although not considered popular, the lanky kid was good at rhyming and battling his middle school challengers. “I used to stand out because I was tall and I couldn’t really fight back,” says Kelly. Utilizing his talent for engaging his enemies and a cunning stride, Kelly was able to turn the tables on his detractors and “…I started fighting people with my words instead.”
Having enjoyed a few years of reprieve from the traveling, it was while attending Denver’s Thomas Jefferson High School that Kelly’s father moved to Kuwait for work with Kelly staying in Cleveland. As Life threw him this new curveball, he soon began experimenting with drugs while simultaneously recording the first demo tape. “It was terrible, but I thought it was cool,” he says with a smile. Later on Kelly also moved to Kuwait for some time, but the pair returned stateside in 2004 and settled in Cleveland, Ohio. While attending Shaker Heights High, Kelly convinced a local shop owner (doubling as an MC manager) to take him under his wing and MGK was born. “I got the name Machine Gun Kelly because of my rapid-fire delivery when I was 15 and started doing shows,” says Kelly.
Nicknamed MGK by his fans, the MC released his first mixtape Stamp of Approval in 2006 and built a local fan base performing at Cleveland venues like Hi-Fi. But it was a trip to New York’s famed Apollo Theater in 2009 that really gave him his start. “We drove straight from Ohio and stood in line for ten hours,” recalls Kelly. “I got booed as soon as I walked on the Apollo stage and then I won … twice.” The unabashed and energetic gladiator Kelly became the first rapper in history to win the Apollo’s talent show.
The win for Machine Gun Kelly and the lesson in perseverance was not lost. Shortly after, he dropped his next Mixtape “100 Words And Running” the young marketing-visionary created his own high school promotional tour to run concurrently. While the MC’s catchphrase, “Lace up,” (which started as a simple musical interlude) became a call to arms for his growing fan base, their fearless leader was still continuing his life lesions while working a full-time job and honing his craft performing late nights. After graduating high school, Kelly’s life took a new turn as he welcomed his newborn daughter to the world which gave the rapper a new infusion of energy and propelled him to earn a nod for Best Midwest Artist at the 2010 Underground Music Awards. That same year, his “Alice in Wonderland” video won Best Music Video at the 2010 Ohio Hip-Hop Awards.
Just as his star began to rise, Kelly suffered a new and alarming setback. A polyp had developed on his vocal chord. This setback kept him offstage and out of the studio for six months as Kelly worked off the polyp himself via his willpower at enforcing a strict regiment of tireless vocal exercises. As Kelly recalls, “That was one of the most depressing periods of my life.” With the release of Kelly’s Lace Up mixtape, the fighter emerged victorious with a new lease on Life and a large and completely-engaged national audience.
In 2011, the Ohio rapper secured a record deal with Jimmy Iovine’s Interscope Records through Diddy’s Bad Boy Records imprint. That year, his tracks “Invincible” and “Wild Boy” featuring Atlanta rapper Waka Flocka Flame, opened the door to more exposure for MGK as “Invincible” was selected to score a spot for HTC’s television commercial for its’ new ‘Rezound Beats By Dre’ cell phone and MTV selected MGK to win it’s Hottest Breakthrough MC Award of 2011. “Wild Boy” would go on to be certified Platinum and “Invincible” would be certified at Gold becoming the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers themes song for the 2012-2013 season.
In 2012, Kelly released his first official album via Bad Boy/ Interscope entitled Lace Up to more success and praise. Lace Up debuted at number two on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and MTV awarded MGK its’ Breaking Woodie Award for 2012. That year, MGK also garnered an MTV European Music Award for Next Artist to Go Global and four Ohio Hip-Hop Awards. His hard work, tireless dedication and unwavering commitment to his craft were gaining steam and full-blown recognition throughout the world. In 2013, the accolades continued as MGK won MTV’s fan-selected Woodie of the Year Award. His tour schedule included opening for Tech N9Ne on his historic marathon Hostile Takeover Tour where they criss-crossed the United States performing ninety cities in ninety-nine days, Warped Tour, Rick Ross’s MMG Tour with Meek Mill and Wale and finally his own headlining Lace Up Tour hitting Europe and Canada. Now his diverse musical background coupled with his new world influences were starting to culminate in MGK garnering an authentically original voice in both the Hip-Hop & Rock worlds. In fact, the ability to seamlessly blend Hip-Hop and Rock genres has become Machine Gun Kelly’s signature style with numerous Punk and Rap Influences detected amongst the startling beats and prose. “My punk influences blend into my raps and a lot of it is in my raspy, grungy voice,” Kelly says. “Punk also gave me a different writing style, I use more words and it taught me to put my views into my subject matter. Living life and doing what you have to keep moving forward.”
2014 showed Machine Gun Kelly and his devoted fans (both old and new) what the pursuit of the American Dream is truly all about. Touting fan-favorite multi-platinum band LimpBizkit as his ‘first album’ purchased, Kelly wrapped up the opening spot on their American Tour running throughout the heartland of America through the end of October 2014….just in time to promote his Acting Debut. “I am living proof that if you continue to go after what you want and put in the work, you can obtain your dream. You have to visualize your goal and put in the hard work to make it happen.” In other words, like all champion fighters, you have to “Lace Up” and put on the gloves to get the Win.
In November 2014, Colson “MGK” Baker made his feature film debut on the big screen in Relativity Films musical-themed drama BEYOND THE LIGHTS directed by auteur Gina Prince-Bythewood. The film would debut in the Top Ten at the Box Office. “It’s a great role with a few amazing scenes,” comments Kelly. “I was comfortable working with Gina because I trusted her vision and I knew she wouldn’t yell ‘cut’ unless she got what she wanted,” says Kelly, “It was an organic experience.” Throughout the next two years Baker would continue his foray into multiple sides of the Industry which has paid off with a stellar 2016 year. 2016 kicked off with MGK’s walking the London Men’s Fashion Week Runway for Joshua Kane/BeSpoke and landed him smack in the middle of the Fashion World with him signing to Donna Management (U.K.) and Wilhelmina agencies for Fashion Representation and upping the ante creatively with designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Armani, John Varvatos and Diesel to name a few. “I’ve always been aware of style and working with such amazing designers is another way of showcasing my creative side. I love working directly with the Fashion Houses and picking out pieces for everything from my Musical Performances to a Red Carpet premiere,” he says. Hand-picked by famed writer/director Cameron Crowe (with JJ Abrams producing) for a series regular role in the WBTV/Showtime Series ROADIES, Colson stars opposite Luke Wilson, Carla Gugino and Imogen Poots in the Dramedy ensemble playing the role of “Wes” – a Roadie with a knack for making the best “Wespressos” on the road. Continuing to creatively spread his wings and expand his range in the Film Business, Colson Baker has a precedent setting four films out in 2016. The Dimensions’ horror film VIRAL (directed by budding Producers Ariel Schuman and Henry Joost of MTV’s “Catfish” fame) is currently in theatres and released VOD. The long-awaited sequel to the cult-hit SLC PUNK entitled PUNK IS DEAD (directed by James Merendino) debuted at the Cannes Film Festival Marketplace in May and just recently debuted on NETFLIX. Hitting theatres in the same week are NERVE co-starring Dave Franco and Emma Watson and THE LAND with Baker performing opposite Erykah Badu and making his debut as an Executive Producer. August 2016 also saw the release of two new music singles as Colson prepares to refocus on Music kicking off with a European Tour followed closely by a Winter Tour throughout the U.S.
With a plethora of past heart-breaking experiences combined with many new exciting adventures crafting his journey along the way, MGK ‘s brain remains focused on using all of his enthusiasm and will power to slowly and wisely conquering his ever-evolving and growing goals. “I started all of this from the bottom,” he states. “I always encourage the youth to better themselves by learning from what life gives you and trying new things. Whoever you are, you can accomplish anything that you put your heart and mind into. Just don’t ever stop believing and never quit. And while you’re at it, make sure to live life with a fun soundtrack.” Lace up …