Richard Colson Baker (born April 22, 1990), better known by his stage names Machine Gun Kelly and MGK, is an American rapper from Cleveland, Ohio, signed to Bad Boy and Interscope Records. His stage name was given for his rapid-fire lyrical flow and is a reference to notorious criminal George "Machine Gun Kelly" Barnes. He rose to fame after releasing his first four mixtapes, Stamp Of Approval (2006), Homecoming (2008), 100 Words and Running (2010), and Lace Up (2010). He also has been featured in XXL. In mid-2011 MGK signed a deal with Young and Reckless Clothing. On December 14, 2011, Machine Gun Kelly was named the Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2011 by MTV. On March 18, 2012, Machine Gun Kelly won the MTVu Breaking Woodie award.
Life and career:
Baker was born on April 22, 1990 in Houston, Texas to missionary parents. Baker and his family moved all around the globe and took up residence abroad in Egypt and Germany, as well as throughout the United States in Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver, and Cleveland. Since he lived the first four years of his life in Egypt, he spoke Arabic before English. He started listening to rap in the sixth and seventh grade when he went to Hamilton Middle School, a school with an ethnically diverse student body in Denver, Colorado. The first two rappers that got him into the genre as a child were Ludacris and DMX. At the age of fourteen, Baker moved to Cleveland, where he attended Shaker Heights High School.
On the verge of getting evicted, Baker went to Harlem's Apollo Theater in March 2009 where he had consecutive victories, making him the first ever white rapper to win at the Apollo Theater. He records music in his home studio which he refers to as the "Rage Cage". Baker first started to gain exposure when he was featured on MTV2's Sucker Free Freestyle, where he freestyled numerous verses from his "Chip Off The Block" single. In February 2010, he released his debut mixtape 100 Words and Running. In May 2010, he made his national debut with the single and video for "Alice In Wonderland" from the Midwest Block Starz compilation released by Block Starz Music. He released his second mixtape in November 2010 titled Lace Up which featured the hometown anthem "Cleveland" which is played at Cleveland Cavaliers home games and is on rotation on Z107.9 in Cleveland.Lace Up was recorded in three months in 2010 during a creative burst.
2011-2012: Recording contract and Lace Up:
He has forged a friendship with Three 6 Mafia's Juicy J who tapped Kelly to appear on his track "Inhale" in January 2011 which was produced by Lex Luger and featured Steve-O from Jackass in the music video.
In March 2011 he participated in his first SXSW show in Austin, Texas. At the SXSW show he was approached by Sean Combs and since then has gained massive exposure throughout the music scene. In 2011 Machine Gun Kelly signed with Bad Boy Records which is associated with Interscope He was featured on the XV song "Finally Home". On November 15, Machine Gun Kelly released a music video for the song "Wild Boy" featuring American rapper Waka Flocka Flame. On December 8, 2011, Machine Gun Kelly appeared on BET's 106 & Park alongside Waka Flocka Flame to premiere the video. In February 2012 Machine Gun Kelly hinted on Twitter that his long awaited album Half Naked & Almost Famous would be released in March 2012. Machine Gun Kelly tweeted from his Twitter page @machinegunkelly "Once March hits ... it's gonna be a wild ride for all of us. We're gonna watch something we've seen come from the bottom rise way up. LTFU".
MGK was signed by Jimmy Iovine and Diddy to Interscope and Bad Boy Records on August 3, 2011. In official statement given, Kelly's debut album is titled Lace Up due October 9, 2012. The first single of the album, "Wild Boy" featuring rapper Waka Flocka Flame was released on September 27, 2011. On the week of January 28, 2012, The song debuted on the US Billboard Hot 100 on at number ninety-eight. His song "Invincible" is featured in a commercial for the HTC ReZound as well as the official theme song of WrestleMania XXVIII and WWE also used the song to highlight John Cena in his match with The Rock at the event. It is currently the theme for Thursday Night Football on NFL network. The song was released on iTunes December 16, 2011 featuring co-writer and singer Ester Dean as the second single of the album. In 2012, Machine Gun Kelly was featured on the cover of XXL as part of their annual "Top 10 Freshmen list" along with fellow rappers Macklemore, French Montana, Hopsin, Danny Brown, Iggy Azalea, Roscoe Dash, Future, Don Trip and Kid Ink. On August 13, 2012, MGK released a mixtape titled EST 4 Life, which contained both old and recently recorded material.
His debut album Lace Up was released on October 9, 2012. The album features guest appearances from Bun B, Cassie, DMX, Dubo, Ester Dean, Lil Jon, Tech N9ne, Twista, Waka Flocka Flame, Young Jeezy and Avenged Sevenfold among others. The album debuted at number 4 on the US Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 57,000 copies. It slid down to #22 in its second week, giving it a total of 65,000 copies. As of January 2013, the album has sold 128,000 copies.
2013-present: Black Flag:
On January 28, 2013 MGK announced that he will be reverting to his previous stage name "Machine Gun Kelly". He went on to say that he will release a new mixtape soon. The first single will being titled "Peso", and feature Pusha T and Meek Mill. Kelly also said would Wiz Khalifa will be featured on the mixtape. On February 18, 2013 Kelly announced the name of the mixtape as, "Black Flag" and revealed the cover. He also released a music video for "Champions" which features Diddy and samples The Diplomats song "We are Champions". On April 5 he also announced features from French Montana and Kellin Quinn. He later confirmed that the mixtape would be released in late April 2013.