After releasing several mixtapes as a teenager, Machine Gun Kelly (MGK) scored a major label contract with Diddy’s Bad Boy Records in 2011. A year later, he dropped his freshman studio album, Lace Up, that debuted at #4 on the Billboard charts. With a hot record and its infectious single, "Wild Boy," MGK scored a rabid fanbase and looked to be rap’s newest star on the rise. Although he has yet to reach the critical or commercial heights of his musical peers, his life since hitting the big time has had its share of highs and lows.
So what makes the rapper, born Richard Colson Baker, from the streets of Cleveland such a lightning rod for controversy? Well, look no further, friends. From his proficiency with avocado-based dips and chicken, to his burgeoning film career, to his highly-publicized feud with an all-time rap great, let’s take a look at the untold truth of Machine Gun Kelly.
Don’t ask him to make you a burrito
Before he was known as Machine Gun Kelly, the "Mind of a Stoner" rapper was a regular dude who lived in Cleveland, Ohio. And that regular dude worked at Chipotle. In an interview with Rolling Stone, he said the best part of the gig was "the free meal they gave me every day," and the compliments he received for his guacamole skills. "Everybody was always like, ‘Damn, the guac is banging today!’ I’d be like, ‘Oh, yeah. I made that sh*t!’"
And if you happened to be one of the lucky people who went through his line, he was apparently the Oprah of Chipotle chicken. He explained, "When people said, ‘Yo, let me get a little more chicken,’ and the person next to me didn’t want to give it to them, I’d tap them on the shoulder and say, ‘Bro, this is not our chicken. None of our family owns Chipotle. Give everyone as much chicken as they f***ing want!’"
However, your best bet would be sticking with his signature chicken bowl, and leave the burritos to someone else. "They never let me roll the burritos because I always f***ed the burritos up," he said. "They’d burst every time."
Don’t ask him to vote either
The fight between the Democratic nominee, President Barack Obama, and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, to become the leader of the free world grew contentious in 2012. With the country still struggling through a recession and a war in Iraq, the American people were sharply divided on how to move forward. Everyone except Machine Gun Kelly, who proudly claimed he would not be exercising his right to vote.
"First off, I’m an anarchist. I believe in social reform, you know what I’m saying?" he told This Is 50 when asked how he’d be casting his ballot for the next President of the United States. "They can all kiss my a** and get the f**k outta office. None of them are doing sh*t — they promised us sh*t and don’t deliver."
"It’s been going on since, I mean, when was the first president?" MGK asked rhetorically before adding, "Exactly." Well, that settles that.
Of course, the American people re-elected Obama to a second term. We assume he didn’t send Kelly a thank you card.
He doesn’t want you to do drugs
Although his 2011 hit "Wild Boy" seemingly advocated drug use with lyrics that glorified drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana, he told HipHopDX in 2013 that he wishes the track "wasn’t the focal point of Machine Gun Kelly." He also called it "a piece to a much broader puzzle." Kelly went on to reveal that he’s had "addiction problems" and doesn’t want his fans to think he’s encouraging or promoting drug use by rapping about his experiences.
"Why would you wish those demons on anyone? They’re not fun at all," Kelly explained. "Heat flashes at 7 a.m. in the morning aren’t fun. Scratching at your skin until you bleed is not fun. All that sh*t … why would you wish that on anybody? Why do people promote molly? You won’t hear me rap about that sh*t."
He further elaborated by saying, drugs "don’t make you a pleasant person," and "I would never wish my negatives on anybody else, and a negative to me is drugs, dude."
Don’t ask him too many questions
While on a press tour, Machine Gun Kelly sat down for an interview at the 2018 Billboard Hot 100 Fest. He appeared to be a little off right from the jump, but he slowly settled in seemed to enjoy responding to the questions — until he didn’t. When the interviewer asked how being a father has influenced him as an artist, Kelly sat silently for a moment to consider his reply. His answer turned into a tirade about the fake veneer of music and celebrity before he abruptly cut the interview short with an with an expletive-laden rant.
"I don’t wanna talk about this. I’ve done this so many times, dude, I don’t wanna do an interview, man," he said. "I wanna let my music speak for me. I don’t have sh*t to say. I’ve been saying sh*t for years, dude. Listen to my f***ing songs." While standing up to leave, he added, "I’m coming. And [a] message to my enemies, I’m coming." While we admit the question was a bit banal, his response seemed unwarranted. Maybe he didn’t get enough chicken at Chipotle that day.
He took his shot with Nicki Minaj
The social media honeymoon phase between Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson is still going strong as of this writing, and as is their custom, Grande posted a pic of her fiancé on Instagram just because. Ah, young love. Per Hot New Hip Hop, the photo caught the attention of a swooning Nicki Minaj, who jumped in Grande’s comments with, "Omg @ the most perfect man on the planet. Wtf does he have a brother b***h??!"
Unfortunately for Minaj, Davidson only has a sister. Grande replied, "No, but I’m the luckiest b***h in the [galaxy] ill tell u dat." But your family doesn’t necessarily have to be related to you, right? That’s what Machine Gun Kelly thought when he replied to Minaj with, "yeah. me." (Kelly are Davidson are good pals).
Grande disabled her IG comments shortly after that for different reasons, so we don’t know if Minaj took Kelly up on his offer or not.
He’s playing a legendary 80s rockstar
With 100 million albums sold, Mötley Crüe epitomized the hedonistic lifestyle and larger-than-life personas of the 80s glam metal era. Netflix chose to immortalize them on film with Kelly cast as Crüe drummer Tommy Lee. Per Variety, the movie is based on the band’s 2001 autobiography, The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band, and details "the group’s rise during the ’80s ‘hair band’ rock scene on the Sunset Strip and pulls no punches as it dives into the band’s highs and lows along the way."
To research his character, Kelly went to the source himself. "I remember throwing the script in [Lee’s] lap one time and was like, ‘Dude, this is such a weird … this couldn’t have gone down like this,’" he told Billboard. "He was like, ‘Nah dude, it was just like this."
Was Kelly excited to join the cast? You tell us. He tweeted, "and it’s finally announced. excuse me for being crass but….HOLY F***ING SH***********T!!!!!!!"
So about those Halsey rumors…
"G-Eazy and I are taking some time apart. I’m eager to continue the upcoming passage of time dedicating myself to my art and career, and the duration of my tour," Halsey announced on Instagram (per E! News) in July 2018. "I wish him the best."
Soon after, fans speculated that the singer had a new man in life — Machine Gun Kelly. According to E! News, the rumors began after the pair was "seen hanging outside Poppy nightclub in West Hollywood as they enjoyed a cigarette break."
But once a fan posted a now-deleted photo of the "Bad At Love" singer and the rapper at the beach, Halsey was quick to shoot the rumors down. "I’m not at the beach, she tweeted. "I’m on tour. Alone. Slow news week I guess." And in case that wasn’t clear enough, she added, "I’m not with anybody. That photo is 2 years old. Everyone mind they damn business."
A month later, Halsey and G-Eazy were back together. She’s not so bad at love as it turns out.
A rap feud years in the making
Eminem was Machine Gun Kelly’s rap idol growing up, but a tweet he dropped in 2012 about the legendary rapper’s daughter started a feud that’s been going on for years. "Ok so I just saw a picture of Eminem’s daughter," MGK said in the now-deleted tweet, per Vibe. "and i have to say, she’s hot as f**k, in the most respectful way possible cuz Em is king." Uh oh.
In a 2015 interview with Peter Rosenberg, Laura Stylez, and Ebro, MGK claimed Eminem took the tweet the wrong way. "Pictures of [Hailie] had come out and I’m like, what, 20 years old, 21 at the time? I said ‘She’s beautiful, but all respect due. Eminem is king.’ What’s wrong with that?" He went on to reveal that the misunderstanding resulted in the music industry blackballing him.
Three years later, Eminem dropped his 10th studio album, Kamikaze, and no perceived enemy was spared, including Cleveland’s own, Machine Gun Kelly. MGK responded with "Rap Devil," where he called his idol a "f***ing dweeb" and "the big bad bully of the rap game can’t take a f***ing joke."
"This is not a battle between Michigan and Ohio," MGK said before performing the diss track for a crowd at Grand Rapids’ Van Andel Arena (via Complex). "This is a battle between the past and the m*********in’ future. Knees weak of old age, the real Slim Shady can’t stand up." Which leads us to….
We all knew this was coming. Machine Gun Kelly should have known this was coming. In response to "Rap Devil," Eminem dropped "Killshot." By employing his usual mastery of the English language, Eminem shredded the young man with lines like, "This is it, as big as you’re gonna get, so enjoy it / Had to give you a career to destroy it," and "I’m 45 and I’m still outselling you. By 29, I had three albums that had blew … I’d rather be 80 year old me than 20 year old you." The reactions came in fast and hot.
"Eminem killed that young man, producer Curtis King tweeted. "I don’t see how anyone could possibly see these records as close competition." NBA player Nick Young added, "Why Eminem do him like that !!!"
"Don’t act like you didn’t know this would happen," 50 Cent tweeted. "Oh my what have you got yourself into. Get the strap."
This was the end of the beef, right? Not even close.
The reply that wasn’t
Machine Gun Kelly immediately took to Instagram to reply to Eminem’s diss track. "He missed," the Bad Boy Records rapper captioned a photo of himself wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with Eminem’s "Killshot" album art. With his middle finger raised and the crowd behind him joining in the rude salute, the photo seemingly proved the swell of fan support for MGK. Well, not quite.
Concertgoers who were supposedly at the Fall Out Boy show (which MGK was opening) accused him of tricking the crowd into taking this photo, according to Billboard, who cited several IG comments that alleged MGK concealed the t-shirt with a jacket when he asked fans to flip the bird. The reports differed from there, with commenters claiming when Kelly turned around to reveal the shirt he was either "boo’d off stage," or met with indifference from Fall Out Boy fans who didn’t even know what the shirt meant. Either way, it was no clear victory over Slim Shady.
As of this writing, it’s not clear how this battle royale ends up, but rapper OverTime proposed a theory: it was all staged. In a Facebook post, he laid out compelling evidence on why he believes "the Eminem/MGK beef was fake." Citing that both artists are with "sub labels" under Interscope, "means [Interscope founder] Jimmy Iovine is involved with both of their careers." He adds, "We’re talking about some superior industry professionals releasing an album here….everything is carefully calculated."