While Machine Gun Kelly has earned quite a degree of success in the pop-punk world in recent years, he wants it known that he’s still a rapper and that he never “departed from rap.” The topic came up during a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter, where MGK stopped down the discussion to make his clarification.
During the course of the discussion, the interviewer referred to Machine Gun Kelly’s “departure from rap heading toward pop-punk,” which led the musician to interject. “I got to stop you. I never ‘departed’ from rap,” he explained.
He then added, “I’m talented as fuck and I added on to my catalogue of four great rap albums. So what I did was I added on – never departed, left or switched. Because in the same year I was the most-viewed YouTube video putter-outer with all rap, which was my lockdown sessions, which gained more views than almost any of my other videos. And it was hundreds of millions of views of me rapping.”
MGK then showed some disdain for the idea from media outlets that he ever left the rap world where his career started out, adding, “So when they say ‘departed’ or when they say, ‘Oh, man, you switched’. Motherfucker, are you dumb?! Because you motherfuckers aren’t even listening to what the fuck they even have to say for them to even care to say anything deep enough because they don’t even trust that you’re going to dive deep enough to know what you’re saying.”
He then shared how that explanation of the trajectory of his career has made him feel, stating that he stopped doing interviews for a period because he got tired of the angle being portrayed. “I’ve just sat there and heard this, ‘Oh, he departed, oh, he switched, oh, he’ – Do you know how long? How much that kills me every day?”
Things took a significant shift for Machine Gun Kelly when his Tickets to My Downfall album came out. The rapper paired with Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker on the record, which became a huge release with a string of pop-punk hits including “Bloody Valentine,” “Concert for Aliens” and “My Ex’s Best Friend.” The album became MGK’s first chart-topping record and became one of the biggest rock releases of the year.
Earlier this year, Kelly took some time to reflect on his pop-punk success over the last couple of years, stating, “I know it kills certain bands in that community that I got the success that I got, but I earned that shit.” He then alluded to his success not being an overnight success, stating, “Dude, I was fucking loading up the van with our drums and amps in 2010, driving to Indiana and Chicago, playing Warped Tour. I can tell you the fucking Wi-Fi codes to venues in Blackfoot, Idaho. Can you say that shit as a band?”
After the success of Tickets to My Downfall, Machine Gun Kelly released Mainstream Sellout earlier this year, with the record being a more well-rounded representation that pulled from both pop-punk and his rap side and a wide array of collaborators including Willow, Bring Me the Horizon, Lil’ Wayne, Gunna and Young Thug among others.
Back in April, Machine Gun Kelly also declared that he was going to pursue a rap album next following the success of Mainstream Sellout. “I’m going to make a rap album for myself. For no other reason, no point to prove, no chip on my shoulder,” he explained. “If I keep doing things to prove things to people, I’m going to, one, drive myself crazy and, two, not make a good product.”
He added, “I made Tickets and Mainstream Sellout because I wanted to make them. I need to now also make people miss that sound because Tickets and Mainstream Sellout are companion albums, I don’t think making a third that’s so [sonically aligned with the last two albums] is going to be exciting unless it’s missed.”
Further divulging his plan for the next album, he stated, “I’m going to do this tour and I’m gonna step into where I left [off with 2019’s] Hotel Diablo and expand on my storytelling as a rapper and find a new innovative sound for the hip-hop Machine Gun Kelly. That’s where my excitement is and where me as a music archaeologist wants to explore.”