Machine Gun Kelly inspires through rap


Machine Gun Kelly. Photo via MGK’s Twitter profile.

In the era we live in, rap music is heavily dominated by bland lyrics and tough guy attitudes.

When a rapper breaks that stereotype and tries to do something more with his music, people often laugh and call them an outcast.

But when it works and the message that a rapper is sharing in his music hits home with thousands of people, it’s truly awe-inspiring.

On Friday, Machine Gun Kelly performed at the Chester Fritz Auditorium. His concerts have been known to be loud, reckless and moving all at the same time.

MGK knows how to impress all types of people at his shows — from those who just want to hear music, those who want to watch him stage dive and to those who see him as their idol. He knows that people take his music to heart, and that is something that keeps him going.

Machine Gun Kelly, born Richard Colson Baker, is referred by his fans as MGK. He is known for his rapid-fire lyrics and wild boy antics on and off stage. Only when you take the time to learn more about the 24-year-old do you see beyond the tattoos.

MGK has created a movement he has stood by from day one of his rap career.

A tattoo of his reads, EST 19XX, this is how he connects with everyone born in the 90’s and inspires them to never stop working towards their dreams. He coined the phrase “Lace Up” as a call to arms for his fans. It means to get to work.

By the time MGK had released his first studio album he had already established a solid fan base in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. His album took off with the hit single “Wild Boy,” which attracted more fans to his following.

MGK is unlike other rappers in the way he handles his fame. He often speaks about how he dislikes the spotlight and how people look up to him because he would rather have them stand next to him and fight for the same thing.

He raps about this often to let his fans know he is just like them. In his song “Halo,” he says, “Because I don’t ever wanna become a celebrity. I don’t ever want someone to feel less than me, so put your camera down and stand next to me, EST Everyone Stand Together and if I, ever R-I-P then I know everything I stand for is forever Lace Up!”

The messages and stories that MGK tells through his music have brought together thousands of people who stand with MGK and continue to share his message.

For many people MGK is someone to look to for motivation, for others they say they wouldn’t be alive without his music.

Earlier in the week on his twitter, @machinegunkelly, he tweets “[I] like falling asleep knowing that tomorrow we’re going to perform in front of somebody that see’s our show as an escape. happy happy happy.”

The show at UND was both exciting and inspiring. From new music to old, MGK impressed the crowd at the Fritz with another stop on his tour completed.

After the concert there was a party planned at the Canad Inn in Grand Forks hosted by MGK’s producer and best friend Slim Gudz.

There we around 100 people there relaxing and having a good time when MGK arrived. He was hanging out in the corner with a few of his band mates but also talking to fans standing nearby.

Slim Gudz was away from the star rapper in the DJ booth when he looked up and noticed my “Black Flag” tee shirt, MGK’s last mixtape, a nod followed by the “Lace Up” hand sign from Slim made me smile from ear to ear.

I was able to speak with Slim Gudz and told him how much people appreciate the music they make and thanked him, he smiled and said “Absolutely.”

MGK had moved away from the corner and was talking to Slim Gudz by the DJ booth as they both laughed and relaxed after the concert.

Right before we left the after party I walked over to MGK and tapped him on the arm. He glanced at me as if he was thinking who I was and what did I want. Like thousands of fans before me, I leaned in and told him how much his music means to me and how much of an inspiration he is.

He looked at me with a smile on his face and nodded and then turned back towards the party.

That simple smile and nod is something I will never forget because it came from a rapper who’s music has helped me and thousands of kids before through tough times.

At first glance, MGK may seem like another degenerate rapper who is only looking to make money. The message that he continues to support eight years into his career shows he is something different and someone to stand with. His concerts allow fans to hear their favorite songs and MGK allows people to connect with him before and after shows. I give the show at UND five out of five stars for the great music and the amazing experience of meeting MGK.

Parker Payne is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].