Truth be told, Machine Gun Kelly is a hard sell to many. He’s a white dude from Cleveland who raps fast and appeals mainly to teenagers. Cynical rap fans could easily get a couple laughs comparing him to your friendly neighborhood gas station attendant, or even a kid who could swiftly turn a bunch of household products into methamphetamine. However, those who make fun of MGK do so at their own risk. One, the dude can rap better than 95% of every rapper in existence. Two, if you ever meet him, he’s one of the most personable, funny and downright smart people you’ll ever have the privilege of having a conversation with. Three, he loves Disc Two of Dipset’s Diplomatic Immunity. In my world, there are two types of people: those who love Disc Two of Dipset’s Diplomatic Immunity, and those who I have no interest in hanging out with. Anyways, Machine Gun Kelly and I talked about everything under the sun, from why he hates New York City to growing up in Cleveland, to rapping for some .
How long are you in New York for?
Fucking eight hours or some shit. Thank God.
No it’s not, dude. It’s beautiful. All I ever experience in this city is just press, man. That’s awesome and shit, and I really appreciate what it does for your career and shit like that, but it’s not like you’re dealing with fans. Half the journalists don’t even fuckin’ know what a smile is. It’s like, “Fuck you, dude.” This should be mutual. You should be just as appreciative of me doing this interview as I am of you doing this shit. It’s more of a heartless place. I’m a Midwest boy. Sometimes I get tired of this place.
What was it like growing up in Cleveland?
It’s blue collar, man. You work for everything you get. You say “please” and “thank you,” call people “Sir” or “Ma’am.” You fuck people up if they get out of line. I’m sorry, man. I’m jetlagged, I’ve hardly slept, I’m not fucking Kanye. I don’t need people kissing my ass. It’s so annoying. I hate that, I don’t need people to do shit for me. I’m a grown-ass motherfucking man. Let’s get high.
Tell me how you learned to rap so fast.
I tried writing a fast verse when I was working at an airbrush shop, and I was like, “Yeah man, I’m gonna try to rap like Bone Thugz,” and everyone was like, “Dude. Never do that again.” This was before I was named Machine Gun Kelly. I was just like, “Uh, how about you fuck yourself?” I just kept doing it and kept doing it, and now I’m infamous for it.
It’s the “Ten Thousand Hours” theory.
What’s that? Drop some knowledge on me.
It’s Malcolm Gladwell’s theory. He says in order for geniuses to realize their potential they have to spend ten thousand hours practicing a thing.
I heard that if you wanna be good at something you have to do it 64 times in a row and you’ll be great or some shit. Questlove said that.
Tell me about how being on a certain trajectory changed once you signed with Diddy.
You think shit changed? You better lower that incline, mafucka. I signed with Diddy and shit kept going straight. I been signed with Diddy for a year, man. What people fail to realize is that Diddy came in to mentor me. He didn’t come in to babysit me or pat me on the ass. I still had to stumble. People think Puff was in the studio with me. It’s not like that. I’m still recording the album in the basement that I was recording all the mixtapes in. I started out this year on Tech N9ne’s tour. I’m just now working up to doing arenas. I did the Warped Tour. I earned my stripes this year, mafucka.
Do you think performing for so many different audiences has helped you?
Hell fucking yeah, dude. Go to fucking Flagstaff, Arizona and perform in front of a bunch of gangster-ass Navajo Indians on a reservation. They were souped-up on heroin or whatever other fucked-up shit they’re doing, and they didn’t know shit about me because they weren’t on the internet. Try going out in front of them motherfuckers looking at you being like, “Where’s Tech Nine?” Try to win them mafuckas over. That’s not easy. Or go out after a metal band gets done rippin’ that shit up. They did every time. I never let them walk away.
I know you love your fans.
Where is your audience mostly?
Originally, I’d say Midwest. Now I’d say everywhere. When we sold out in Belgium, I was kinda like, “Alright!” We sold out Belgium, Paris and London. We sold out New York, we sold out L.A., we did four shows in Idaho that were fucking ridiculous.
Who are you working with on the album?
DMX and I have a really haunting track on there. Keep in mind when I tell you about these features, I did them in the studio with these guys. Me and Lil’ Jon, some Eastside Boyz shit. He has a verse, does the hook. When you hear the album you’re gonna be like, “What?” It’s a beautiful fucking thing. Me and Avenged Sevenfold open up the album. It’s a beautiful fucking thing. Me, Twista and Tech N9ne are on one song, which is like a fucking eargasm for people who like fast rap. We did it with like a message. It’s called “Fuck The World.” I have a lot of underground artists on there. It’s not concurrent with what’s going on now. It’s timeless.
How old are you now?
Eighty. In my mine. But twenty-two in real life.
What were you listening to when you were making the album?
I listened to Rage Against The Machine. A lot of metal. I was listening to Avenged, Disturbed, System Of A Down…then I went into a super rap phase. Dipset, Dr. Dre’s 2001.
You fuck with Diplomatic Immunity?
Yo, I love it.
Hell yeah! I actually only have Disc Two on my iPod for some reason. I fuck with that.
Do you own a dog?
Any other animals?
I own this one. It’s called a cock.