If you had to desrcibe Machine Gun Kelly in one sentence, it would be the first line off his mixtape Lace Up, “the return of the underdog, the voice of the people.” The 22 year old rapper from Cleavland, Ohio is an underdog. Being a white rapper, covered in tattoos, people readily compare him to Eminem and Yelawolf. But the fact is, Machine Gun Kelly is so much more than just another white rapper. There has to be a reason why the fast-spitting rapper has thousands of fans backing, a reason why thousands of fans are getting the rapper’s motto “Lace Up” tattooed all over them, right?
If you’ve ever heard of Machine Gun Kelly, you probably know him from last year’s hit song, “Wild Boy” featuring Waka Flacka. In the song, Kelly boast about being an, “Eastside Cleaveland wildboy”. The rapper is known for his crazy antics. At his shows, he can be found hanging off of the ceiling upside, making out with inflatable sex dolls, spitting tequila into girls mouths, and running around stage in nothing but his boxers singing along to Blink-182’s “Whats My Age Again?”. Off stage he known for being just as wild. His youtube has videos of him and his friends taking drugs, smoking insane amounts of weed, and drunkingly destroying hotel rooms. But, under all of these wild antics is a man trying to spread a message.
Machine Gun Kelly was abandoned by his mom at a young age, and had a father who never approved of his antics. A father who disowned him when he decided to become a rapper. He has faced a hard road, growing up as an outsider without many friends. Next to songs about raging and getting girls are songs about pain, and making it through lifes struggles. It are these things that Machine Gun Kelly ties together in his motto, “Lace Up!” and the motto that so many people seem to be clinging on to. In the simplest words possible, “Lace Up” means waking up in the morning, and no matter what the world is throwing at you, to lace up your shoes and keep pushing forward. On his debut album Lace Up(named after his mixtape, and his movement) Machine Gun Kelly features songs such as “End of the Road” ft. Blackbear where he talks about never fitting in and moving from the bottom to the top. This is a message that so many take to heart, a message that many fans believe in so deeply that they not only get Lace Up tatted on them, but use the music to inspire them to get clean, and even inspired one fan to walk.
Machine Gun Kelly has always taken time out to reach out to his fans, its his fans tattoos that cover the front of his album, its his fans who he constantly thanks on his twitter page, its who he always says he does it for, to give them a voice, but I don’t think anyone would have thought that his music would inspire a guy to walk. A wheelchair bound boy named Ryan once told Machine Gun Kelly that he could relate to his music because like Machine Gun Kelly, he too came from nothing and was working toward something. Ryan then tells Kelly, that because of him, he was going to walk one day (a moment that was caught on camera by Kelly’s constant camera man). Months later, the same kid showed up to a Machine Gun Kelly Show and took some of his first steps on his stage, all because of inspiration from Machine Gun Kelly’s music.
There are two sides to the Machine Gun Kelly persona, the wild, rager, and the inspiring rapper giving a voice to the voiceless. His struggle and wild-boy sides can both be heard on his debut album Lace Up. For his party songs, check out the songs, “Wild Boy”, “Lace Up”, and “Stereo”. But to start to hear the message behind the movement, and hear his own struggle, check out “End of the Road,” “See My Tears” or “Invincible”. Check out the video for the video of Ryan walking at his show. Also if you want to witness the craziness of Machine Gun Kelly Show in person, he’ll be performing at the Wilbur Theatre on February 28th.