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Train of Thought: Machine Gun Kelly “Warning Shot”

After making noise by grinding independently for five years and dropping well-received mixtapes like 2010’s Lace Up, Machine Gun Kelly was rewarded when he signed a reported $1 million deal with Sean “Diddy” Combs’s Bad Boy Records last month. Since then, MGK caused a stir by creating a flash mob with his enthusiastic fans, and dropped a couple of new tracks. The first was “Wild Boy (Remix),” a rowdy anthem alongside Waka Flocka Flame. Then, earlier this month, the up-and-comer released “Warning Shot,” featuring Livvi Franc that was included on Diddy’s Bad Boy: The Preview—a mixtape the Puffster dropped to showcase the label’s current roster.

MGK recently broke down the first verse of “Warning Shot” with, explaining who he’s firing at, working with Diddy, who had the best verse on “Renegade,” what made DMX great and more. —Adam Fleischer

“Okay I came in, no clout/Small bank, and my big mouth/Small name but these big shots/Know just what this kid’s ’bout/I said shit, then I meant shit/Coroner, I dead shit/I treat hoes, just like hoes/That throw bones go fetch shit/I’m pitbull, that ‘X’ shit/That ‘goin in at they neck’ shit/That ‘we gonna have a problem if I am not on they next shit’/’Cause I wreck shit, can’t tame me/I’m Eminem and I’m Jay-Z/I’m the renegade of this rap shit, me and all my boys like A Team/Fuck’s wrong wit y’all? This is my warning shot I better see you get ghost/Because I will treat competition like hoes, skip conversation and cum at they throats/Boy I’m from the C-L-E-V-E-L-A-N-D and I will be reppin that until I die/And you either with me or riding against me so let me know put them L’s in the sky, lace up!” Who is this a warning shot for?

Machine Gun Kelly: When I came in—well, to this day, I don’t really have any cosigns at all. No one’s really wanted to make friends with me in the rap game. I’ve been around muthafuckas for a while, and I’ve never really been the one that people have reached out to. I don’t view it as I’m not wanted. I view it as I’m a fuckin’ problem. So I pretty much just made a warning shot to everybody. Like, Yo, I’m not here to be friends.

And everything is connected to each other. “Okay I came in, no clout/Small bank, and my big mouth.” I always had the least amount of money out of all the rappers coming out, ‘cause I always did mine the slow way. I never had all this big show money, I never had the hype, I never had any of that shit. But I had the biggest mouth, like, “I don’t need that shit. Fuck y’all, I’m still gonna do it.” And then I ended up getting the biggest major record label deal [out of] everyone who was all hyped up. So that was a big “fuck you” to all the people that were getting all this hype, to all the blogs that were hyping the wrong people.

Is this your first song with Diddy talking shit on it?

No, Diddy’s not even talking shit—that’s just for the [Bad Boy] Preview [mixtape]. I’m gonna release the real song, and it’s just me. The real version doesn’t have Puff on it. That was a mixtape version.

His shit talk has been one of his trademarks. It’s kind of like an entrance into the Bad Boy family maybe?

I agree. But I think I gotta do it right. We weren’t in the studio together for this one.

But you’ve had that chance before right?

Fuck yeah.

And what’s that been like?

It’s always good. We have the same type of mentality, [sometimes] we butt heads, but we butt heads in a good way. That’s my homie, though. I don’t have to contain anything with him. I can just say it and there’s a big respect ‘cause of how we came in. There’s no walking and getting cheesecake.

You’re coming at some throats with this shot.

That’s one line I don’t feel like people are gonna get. “Fuck’s wrong with y’all? This is my warning shot I better see you get ghost/Because I will treat competition like hoes, skip conversation and cum at they throats.” You really gotta spell it. C-u-m. Not c-o-m-e. When you fuck with a hoe, and you’re disrespectful to ‘em, you cum on their face, cum down their mouth, shit like that. When you’re disrespectful to a hoe, you just fuck ‘em and abuse ‘em—not abuse them, but abuse your powers. When you meet a chick you really like, you probably can’t cum on their face right when you meet ‘em. But with a hoe you can do that. So it’s the same thing with all these cats. Everyone who wasn’t down, I don’t have shit to say to you. I’m just coming at your neck muthafucka. I’m biting that shit off.

You shout-out Eminem and Jay-Z and say you’re a “Renegade of this rap shit.” Who had a better verse on “Renegade”?

Em. It’s the only consensus.

Did he have an advantage ‘cause it was his own beat that he made?

No. I don’t think so. Because you listen to [my coming release] Rage Pack and I’m rapping over numerous types of beats, and you’ll be like, What the fuck is Machine Gun Kelly doing on this beat? And then you’ll hear me rap on it and you’ll be like, “Ah, this is what the fuck he’s doing on this beat.” I wouldn’t put it on my album if I didn’t know how the fuck to rap on it.

Makes sense.

And I made a bunch of artist references throughout the whole song. I said, “I’m Pitbull, that ‘X’ shit/That ‘goin in at they neck’ shit.” DMX is my favorite rapper, so I compared myself to DMX.

What drew you to DMX?

He was unpredictable. He was exactly who he said he was. He let the world see him for him. And he wasn’t a nice muthafucka. And he had a million dollar voice.

Is it hard at all for you to show vulnerability in your music? Because you do that a lot. Is there ever a hesitation?

Not at all. Well, now, because I see people try to take advantage of it—to take advantage of the vulnerability and think that they can say and do whatever to you because they know you so well—which is my goal, but I see it taken advantage of a lot. That’s the price you pay I guess. I’m sure that’s why people like X and them fight all those demons. But that’s what makes the greats great.

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