He spends his free time playing surprise shows in Cleveland and visiting local high schools as a way of connecting with his fan base.
But a rapid style of delivery reminiscent of gunfire and witty lyrics are just parts of what Cleveland-based rapper Machine Gun Kelly, 20, aspires to become known for doing.
Born Colson “Kelly” Baker, he spent much of his childhood moving to different places around the world and used rhyming as a way to fit in.
“I was never the cool kid,” MGK said in an interview via Skype. “Rhyming just basically saved me.”
This would prove to be true more than once in Baker’s life, at one point leading to a trip to New York for a tryout at the Apollo. He was asked to return, and when he did he became the only rapper to ever win at the Apollo.
Standing at 6-foot-3 with blonde hair and plastered in tattoos, MGK might not appear at first glance to be known for his rhyming abilities.
He said that although this presents challenge, it has been the greatest thing that could have happened to him. It seemingly puts him in the role of underdog at first sight. However, when he begins delivering lyrics like gun fire, doubters soon turn to supporters.
YouTube videos featuring impromptu freestyles and hard-hitting mix tapes have helped to spread the MGK name beyond Cleveland city limits, and he is not looking to stop soon.
He recently released a new video for a single titled “Chip off the Block” from his new project “Lace Up” which features Travis Porter and B.O.B.
The new project will feature original beats as opposed to the mix tapes he currently has out, and will also feature new styles and elements of his song writing.
The video involves footage from his recent trip to Atlanta, where he said doors to established hip hop producers were practically opened for him, unlike anything he is used to in Cleveland.
“If you can make it in Cleveland, you can make it anywhere,” MGK said. “Nobody wants to see you succeed in this city, and I think that makes our style a lot hungrier, we have to be that way.”
Not a fan of major record labels, MGK said that he feels with the support of loyal fans, there is nothing a major label could accomplish for him that he cannot achieve himself.
He said that he will probably sign an independent deal within the next six months, and if all goes well, he hopes to be on a national level in within a year.
When asked what he thought about Lebron James, MGK said “Thanks for stepping down Lebron, I’m happy to take the crown.”