Cleveland’s Own Wild Boy
Colson Baker was born in Houston on the 22nd of April 1990, and was continously moved around the world during his pre-pubescent years with his parents. His first words were spoken in Arabic, after spending his first four years of life residing in Egypt yet this doesn’t hinder his natural affinity to manipulate the English language. Baker’s early years were quite unsettled with his long list of addresses and his perturbed home life, with his mother abandoning him when he was nine leaving the young misfit to be raised by his father. The relationship Baker shared with his father wasn’t of much better quality, often speaking about his father throughout his songs. In “The Return”, he raps “..its no wonder growing up under the roof of a tyrant, that I would be the poster boy for defiance..”.
At the age of 14, Baker and his father settled down roots in Cleveland’s east-side. Here, he attended Cleveland’s own Shaker Heights high school where he was an awkward lanky and anti-social white boy trying to fit in at a pre-dominantly black school. This made him an easy target for the other kids and ensued in years of bullying and taunts, ultimately leading him into his current lifestyle of rebellion. It was around this age the teen began skipping classes and dabbling in drugs. However, things came to a turning point right after his skimmed graduation from Shaker Heights. After years of a turbulent and often violent co-habitance with his father, the young MC’s was kicked out of his home forcing him to take to the streets and also to heavier drugs.
Sleeping in a friends basement with barely enough food to supply the household, Baker was forced to take his rap game more seriously. It was no obvious that he had talent, with many people coming to see his (free) shows. He was starting to make a name for himself locally at least, as the white boy that could spit. He gained his now infamous stage name of Machine Gun Kelly, while working at a Chipotle restaurant for spitting rounds quicker than a machine gun. His eclectical taste in music is what set him apart from others at the time who were also testing the waters of the rap game. However, the struggling artist had a problem with dedication to the music at his young age, with losing jobs, sleeping on couches and constant drug relapses. He speakes about his difficulty with heroin and his relapses in one of his most powerful songs “Lead You On”. The young Baker rhymes “Tell ’em drain the pool, I’m sinking fast. Come and save my life before its past, scratching at the surface but the bottoms where I’m at, only place my addiction will tell me that I’m free at last.” The salvation and immense motivation came in the form of his then girlfriend falling pregnant for his now daughter, Casie.
Machine Gun Kelly in 2006 had released his first mixtape “State of Approval” and his second “Homecoming” in 2008, both never made it big enough to make an impact on the rap scene. However after the birth of his daughter, 2010 became an immensely productive year for the MC. He released two mixtapes “100 Words and Running” and “Lace Up” which grabbed the underground hip-hop scene by the throat, the hard work paid off with his video for “Chip Off The Block” going viral (to date it has just under 15 million views on YouTube), proving that this MC was serious and he was here to stay.
Between 2010 and 2011, MGK recorded his most noted piece of work, his album “Lace Up”. The album is full of rage-filled lyrics, heart-breaking confessions and hilarious double entendres. The album really made MGK a household name in Cleveland and he gained a very tight-knit fan base due to its success. Regardless for his success, it is still difficult for MGK to be recognised as a mainstream artist and remains very much so underground. Aside from his raps, the artist is anything but asthetically conventional. The majority of his body covered in tattoos and a very original taste in clothing puts him in a genre on his own, he is a modern rapper that is more rock than rap, collaborating with artists such as Avenged Sevenfold and Sleeping with Sirens. MGK is more than a visual reference to punk, bringing a whole new feel to Bad Boy Records since he signed in 2011.
Upon signing to Bad Boy, the rapper still has not recieved the credit he is due. For example, no major festivals in America would sign the artist to perform at their gigs, forcing the artist to create his own festival “EST Festival” in August this year which proved to be a major success and is planned to be an annual event. After the release of Black Flag, his free mixtape as a thank you the fans, MGK is currently filming his first feature lenght film and details are yet to be announced. The young rebel from Cleveland has come through all challenges his way and will continue to take the music industry to the next level.