Machine Gun Kelly Is Quick with the Tongue

The rapper's rapid rhymes power his speedy ascent

Bad Boy Records on a summer's afternoon: A gangly, tattooed white kid from Cleveland who calls himself Machine Gun Kelly is flushed from having just signed a recording contract with Diddy's label. "I'm tweakin'," the 21-year-old rapper says, audibly geeked. With his close-cropped fair hair, a backstory that leans toward the trailer-trash side of the tracks, and a propensity for throwing up his middle fingers, Kelly exists in the post-Eminem zone, where white rappers—particularly ones who are fleet of tongue—are slapped with the tag of being the Next Great Pale-Skinned Hype.

When news broke earlier that day that Kelly—or Kelz, as he's fond of calling himself in rhyme—had signed with Diddy, the online reaction was swift and split: For every commentator who speculated that his talent could surpass Em's, another questioned the merits of signing with Bad Boy, pointing out that for rappers beyond Biggie, the label has been as much a dumping ground (or fast track to prison) as a pass to the platinum rap club. But Kelly is unperturbed. He talks about the decision with a steely-headed resolve: "There was a bidding war with all the labels; Puff and Jimmy were actually the latest to the table, but they came the hardest. They agreed not to touch my music—that was the most important thing for me, 'cause I'm so anti-sellout and anti-establishment." Quickly, he adds, "Puff doesn't micromanage me."

This isn't just a willful sound bite. Kelly says that his debut album—which, like his breakthrough mixtape, will be titled Lace Up—was already recorded before he signed. It will be released in the first quarter of next year, with the hit-making producers the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League providing the only creative contributions from outside of Kelly's Cleveland-based camp, EST 19XX. Kelly openly pitches himself and Diddy as opposite personalities, with his own "wild and unpredictable" demeanor contrasting with his label boss's need to be "calm, in control, and wanting to plan everything out." So there are no schemes to collaborate; there will be no quirky odd-couple moment in the studio, no fallback plan of a Bad Boy remix to rescue an ailing attempt at a single. Kelly's motivation for signing with Bad Boy rests in his desire to have his "movement"—Diddy's plaudit—to spread as widely as possible. He wants to take the hype that he's mustered through mixtapes and increasingly blitzkrieg live performances to "stadium status." The copious boasts about being "independent," which pepper his rhymes, have been humbled in the hope of the creaky, old-fashioned music machine working its commercial magic.

Crossing the tracks: Machine Gun Kelly
Shareif Ziyadat
Crossing the tracks: Machine Gun Kelly

Kelly's work to date, which showcases his ability to rap at something verging on warp speed, suggests he's a smart foil for Bad Boy. (His inspirations include fellow Clevelanders Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.) Lace Up and Kelly's other recent mixtape, 100 Words and Rhyming, comprise his calling card; the songs excite and don't engage in lyrical acrobatics just for the thrill of the sport. Kelly says it's easy enough to recite certain words quickly, but what he really strives to do is "tell stories in fast mode." Biographical details come nestled in his rhymes, which focus on a concentrated three-year period when he went from a buttoned-down "loner at school" to an aspiring rapper who was "getting my ass beat every day." During this time, he also experienced a brief period of homelessness; a stint in the hospital after a car accident; fatherhood; and success at the rap game, which came with attendant jealousy from fellow Clevelanders.

This hurried, concentrated growing-up period mirrors the way up-and-comers are now forced to announce themselves to the hip-hop community. One superlative guest verse on an established MC's song used to be enough to give you a shot at a solo career, but now rappers must scatter at least 50 tracks over a number of mixtapes—more songs than are in many classic artists' discographies—in order to get even passing notice. It leaves little room for reflection, and by the time the artist's debut album actually gets released, the whole cycle could result in him believing his own hype.

Kelly is aware of these speed traps. To avoid lyrical burnout, he's already putting the brakes on the mixtape circuit, vowing that the only music he'll release before his debut album is a series of "rage packs"—six or seven singles aimed at promoting his live shows. Having scored an invite into the Bad Boy kingdom, he's now slowing things down so he can savor his journey inside.

Machine Gun Kelly plays S.O.B.'s on Sunday

 
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5 comments
Nikodisias Papalapsuslos
Nikodisias Papalapsuslos

YES , WE CAN...YES , WE CAN...WE WILL WIN IN WAR ON TERROR (30 whities or what are terrorists will never come back alive...thank you lord....aaamen).

What do you mean tragedy! It was just a birthday present for planet apes president !!! That's all ! Feels great to flip hamburgers and hip hop atop of good news...makes you feel vibrant and energized !!!

ARIZONA = UTOYA = GOVERNMENT‘S "AFTERLIFE" CASH & $$ FLASH MOB (there was no shooting in Utoya or Arizona, but tear gas and theater instead on faces of multiculturalism maniacs..your guilt or blame and shame weapon against us and our families in our own countries atop of forceful unemployment during so called "ECONOMIC CRISES" during which third world foreigners are allowed to rape, kill, and still is nothing else but fast way to early retirements for government related criminals/ terrorists...$$$ extra bonuses, and newly issued state identities while calling you a terrorists) !!! http://stateofterror.blogspot.... or http://stateofterror.wordpress...

OBAMA = STALIN = BUSH or USA = SOVIET UNION http://avsecbostjan.blogspot.c... or http://avsecbostjan.wordpress.... Whitie is fighting war on terrorism just to come home and be pronounced as terrorist...turned in Timothy, jobless, homeless ...YESSS, WE CAN...YESSS, WE CAN...GABBY OPENED HER EYES (Obaminator’s psychotic speech in Tucson = failed “Apocalypse Now“)

WAKE-UP !!! WAKE UP PEOPLE BEFORE IT GETS ALL TO LATE ON PLANET APES !!! TEARS WON'T DO YOU ANY GOOD !!! AS BUSH STATED "THAT'S WHAT THEY ARE PAID FOR"(to die ) !!

EVEN IF IRAQ WOULD HAVE BEEN WAR FOR OIL ONLY, VETERANS WOULDN'T NEVER EVER HAVE TO BE HOMELESS PEOPLE THE WAY THEY ARE AND NOR WOULD OUR PEOPLE HAVE TO DIE ALLOVER THE PLACE THE WAY THEY DO TO VERY TODAY(never ending “war on terror” story). BECAUSE EVEN IF WAR WAS FOR THE SAKE OF MONEY, MONEY SHOULD BE USED FOR AMERICAN CITIZENS AND NOT WHAT THE CASE IS OR AGAINST WHITES(to destroy us allover the world) !!! You don't really proof for 911, just put your sht together in your heads...THIS IS PLENTY ENOUGH TO HAVE O(B)SAMA INDICTED FOR CRIMES COMMITTED AGAINST WHITE AMERICAN HUMANITY TOGETHER WITH HIS ZIONIST MASTERS) !!!

Don't worry O(s)bama, you have just saved USA what is lots of Dollars in your DEBT DEALS as those best of America or Navy Seals would also grew older and then you already know how it goes...DEAD & ILL = DEBT DEAL !!!

HOW MUCH FURTHER ARE WE WILLING TO GO IN ORDER TO PLEASE VERY SAME PEOPLE WHO DENY US EVEN THE RIGHT TO EXISTENCE(what is to you country without laws or lawless country in respect to your personal rights, but the one that in contrast to your denied basic human rights recognizes you extremely liable when payments are due) !!?

IS IT INDEPENDENCE THAT WE CELEBRATE OR DEPENDENCE (what are your credit card bills or alimony saying about it) !!? HOW IS YOUR DIABETES AND LOST MARRIAGES !!? FORECLOSURES AND JOB SEARCH !!? THAT IS THE QUESTION TO BE OR NOT TO BE !!! IS IT LAND OF THE FREE OR STATE OF TERROR AGAINST OWN POPULATION !!? IT IS TIME TO LET THEM KNOW WHAT COLOR ARE THE STRIPES ON OUR STAR SPANGLED BANNER !!! TIME TO DETERMINE WHOSE INDEPENDENCE/AMERICA, WE CELEBRATE TODAY(who wants to erase us and denies us the right to exist) !!! IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW WHOM WE ADDRESS WITH "PRESIDENT" (STOP HUMILIATING YOURSELF) !!!

VOTING POLL:

DO WE NEED MORE PROOFS TO INDICT OBAMA AND BUSH ADMINISTRATION FOR CRIMES COMMITTED AGAINST WHITE HUMANITY !!?

1)NO, THEY ARE CLEARLY GUILTY AS OIL WAR NEVER EVER WAS REAL ISSUE IN GENOCIDE AGAINST WHITES. REAL ISSUE ARE FACTS OR WHAT WE WITNESS TODAY WHEN VETERANS ARE HOMELESS, JOBLESS, KILLED, ETC.

2)NO, AS 911 ALONE AS WELL AS ACTIONS IMPOSED AGAINST WHITES IN USA (as well worldwide) ARE CLEARLY INDICATING ACTS OF GENOCIDE AGAINST WHITE HUMANITY

3)YESS AS JUST YESTERDAY(for over 15 years to very yesterday), WE (news/media = vacuum world of lies) WERE TELLING YOU THAT UNEMPLOYMENT WAS AT 10% WHILE TODAY ONE IS AT 50% (HOW COME NO ONE QUESTION JOURNALISM LIKE THIS OR WHAT IS WORLD OF LIES AND DEMENTIA)!

4)I AGREE WITH FIRST TWO ANSWERS ABOVE. IT IS TIME TO PRESS CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST BOTH ADMINISTRATIONS DUE TO ACTS OF GENOCIDE AGAINST WHITE HUMANITY FOR THE SAKE(SAFETY) OF US AND OUR CHILDREN(DO NOT TURN THEM IN WHITE REFUGEES ON PLANET APES OR WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO SEE WHEN VISITING ABOVE PAGES) !!!

bob
bob

Ho Hum...Who cares...

Gerardbarnes
Gerardbarnes

I'm 50 yrs old and I'm still a hip hop fan I've become less of a rapper fan due to the majority of them believing their own hype. Machine Gun Kelly is one helluva rappa period

Gerardbarnes
Gerardbarnes

Machine Gun Kelly, Hawaii's got Love for ya

 
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