Article by Ray Sims (Photography provided by Giuseppe Palumbo at the time of release)
(First Released March 2010)
It’s 2am on the dot when Machine Gun Kelly [MGK] arrives in New York – by chance it’s the coldest day of the year. On sheer impulse, MGK left his warm adobe in Cleveland and headed for the Big Apple for a chance to audition for the Apollo. MGK is a rapper, he’s white, and in the history of the Apollo a rapper has never won. For 11 agonizing hours, he waits outside in sub-zero temperatures. As if the deck wasn’t already stacked against him, his jaw freezes shut. The time is now 1pm, his wait is up.
He stands before a panel of judges and introduces himself. Tense from the cold, he mispronounces his own name. Not allowing himself to fail, he works through his nerves and raps for about 10 seconds until the judges stop him. The trial by ice MGK endured decides to bear fruit. MGK was granted the opportunity to participate in the Apollo’s showcase. He shows, he proves, he wins.
If you’ve never seen an Apollo showcase, imagine President Obama walking into a room full of booing Republicans to give a speech about healthcare reform. Every speaker who attempted to do what President Obama is doing was booed off stage in 10 seconds or less. Now imagine President Obama winning over the Republicans and his healthcare bill being passed. This is the exact equivalent of what MGK accomplished, and all on an impromptu trip to the “frozen” Big Apple.
At first glance, the uninformed can be quick to pigeon whole MGK, placing him in the same category of the John Brown’s and Asher Roth’s of the game. Though he respects both men’s position in the industry, his talent deserves more than a cookie-cutter’s glimpse.
On a foundation of Hip-Hop, Soul, and Techno, MGK composes lyrics that truly convey the inner workings of his being. He prides himself on not releasing anything to his fans that he doesn’t truly feel. MGK invests a lot of emotion into his records purposely – he demands honesty from himself because without honesty, how can he expect his listeners to be able to relate to what he has to say?
Thanks to his nomadic father relocating him 10 times, MGK has experienced the likes of Egypt, St. Louis, Los Angeles, and France to name a few. MGK is worldly, so it isn’t by chance that his music is able to be related to by people from many different backgrounds. Through his travels he’s acquired the ability to communicate with all people, all nationalities through the world’s one true common language – music.
Armed with a rapid-fire delivery and an undying desire for success, MGK is making his presence known among the elite in the music industry. This past year, MGK’s stage presence earned him an Ohio Hip Hop Award for “Best Live Performance” as well as a feature performance on “MTV’s My Super Sweet 16″.
He has been featured on numerous mixtapes – DJ EV’s “Monsters vs. Aliens 2”, Rock City’s “Lost Files”, DJ Soulless’ “Vendetta 10”. His premiere accomplishment can be noted by a collaboration with Grammy Award winning artist Rock City on a record titled “Leave Me Alone”.
Currently, MGK is working alongside Shadyville’s Mr. Peter Parker on a mixtape titled “100 Words and Running”. This project will be followed up by MGK’s independent project titled “KellyVision”.