Earlier today, the news broke that rapper Machine Gun Kelly was banned from performing tomorrow night at Highline Ballroom in Manhattan. The ban comes in the wake of a recent TMZ report stating that MGK is being sued for allegedly slicing a bouncer's hand open in Florida earlier this year. It also seems to be connected to this past week's Chris Brown and Drake club fight, which has done some damage to hip-hop's image, especially in New York City. It should also be noted that this is the second time MGK has been banned from performing on this tour, though there have been no "publicized" incidents in 78 straight show dates.
Earlier today, we called Highline Ballroom to get an official statement from them about the ban, and though there was not a manager on the premises to speak to us, we were told that tickets for the show would not be refunded for MGK fans, but the other acts, including headliner Tech N9ne, would still be performing.
Afterward, we got on the horn with MGK to get his reaction to the ban and the "no refund" policy for the show, see if he had been in contact with his Bad Boy boss Diddy, find out his feelings concerning the recent Chris Brown and Drake club fight and how it's connected to the ban, and also ask him about his plans to move forward. Here's what he had to say:
As told to Daniel Isenberg (@StanIpcus)
MGK On Getting Banned From Highline Ballroom
“The normal MGK reaction that everyone expects is for me to be angry and go off, because my history shows that’s the type of attitude I’m bringing to the table. But I think that after this being the second time on tour that this has happened, I’m more just bummed for the fans. I don’t care about [me]. My fans are kids that don’t have [much].
"There are kids who are spending their last amount of dollars [to buy a ticket to come see my show]. They are waiters and waitresses, you know, minimum wage working kids that are spending their last money to come see one of their idols. This is the second time it has happened on this tour, and it’s because of this same stereotype that I’ve been put under. I’m more lost for words. I feel like a victim.
“Yes, it’s one hundred percent [unfair that they are not refunding the tickets for tomorrow night’s show]. Hell motherfuckin’ yeah. Shit is ridiculous. I’m not one of those acts where it’s like this mainstream person where the average white kid at Harvard University is like, ‘It’s educational tonight. Let’s all go out there and spend Dad’s money.’
Puff is more of a mentor, rather than someone who’s directly involved in my movement or helping me put my album together. It’s not like me and him party together.
"These are kids out there that I know personally, because it’s such a cult fan base, and an intimate fan base, that I know these kids are coming to see me, because they come see me every time I come [to New York].
"I’ve graced almost every stage in NY, from Webster Hall to Gramercy Theater to Best Buy. And I’ve done Highline Ballroom before. [Tech N9ne and I] happen to have a big fan base here. We’ve sold out the last three or four times. Tap into your heart and see that these kids spent money that they don’t have to spend to see an artist that you just banned for false accusations and weak reasoning.
“I’ve been more scared to look at my Twitter than anything. I know my ride or die fans will roll with me, even if I was like, ‘Yo, I don’t feel like doing this concert tonight,’ which I would never do. But if I pulled some bullshit like that, they’d still be like, ‘Fuck it, you’re still my favorite artist. I’ll still ride with you no matter what.’
"But this is also a bigger stage for me, because Tech brought me on this tour, and I have a lot of new fans that wanted to come out and see me, and they heard the hype about how crazy my show is. I haven’t looked at Twitter, because I don’t want to go on and see negativity. I hope everyone is feeling for me, rather than thinking I just ditched them. When the police step in, I can’t really do shit.
I’ve graced almost every stage in NY, from Webster Hall to Gramercy Theater to Best Buy. And I’ve done Highline Ballroom before. [Tech N9ne and I] happen to have a big fan base here. We’ve sold out the last three or four times. Tap into your heart and see that these kids spent money that they don’t have to spend to see an artist that you just banned for false accusations and weak reasoning.
“Puff is more of a mentor, rather than someone who’s directly involved in my movement or helping me put my album together. It’s not like me and him party together. He’s definitely more of like a mentor. I tend to be known as a hothead, and I’m trying to get that label away from me, especially because of situations like this, and he’ll step in and give me advice. But I haven’t talked to him. I think we tried to get him to pull some strings, but they’re just not fucking having it, which sucks.
“It also sucks because because my album is coming out in August, and the one [group of] people I don’t have are the critics. I have the people. I’ve sold out 4,000 people out in Lewiston, Idaho before. I’ve sold out in places that [critically acclaimed] rappers could go, and people wouldn’t know who the fuck they were. I was looking forward to this show, because this is kind of like my last chance with critics, because they don’t give me a chance.
“Even with you guys. In Complex, I was rated 21 out of 25 [in the 25 Best Rappers 25 and Under], and I tweeted yesterday that I respect everyone’s opinion. But I think if my wild antics weren’t as focused on as my lyrics, then I would’ve been higher up on the list.
"I’m a huge lyricist, but I think people pay attention to me cutting myself on stage, or getting in fights, or climbing up on a balcony and hanging upside down and shit like that, instead of focusing on me standing on top of people rapping every single word perfectly, [rapidly], and clearly.
"People aren’t focusing on the fact that kids are coming up to me like, ‘Yo, you just saved me from my heroin addiction.’ Or, ‘Damn, this kid may be a whole new thing.’ People are more focusing on the wild side of MGK, rather than the fact that I’m sparking something brand new.
I’m a huge lyricist, but I think people pay attention to me cutting myself on stage, or getting in fights, or climbing up on a balcony and hanging upside down and things like that, instead of focusing on me standing on top of people rapping every single word perfectly, [rapidly], and clearly.
“My shows are always dangerous, but in a fun way. That’s what I’m infamous for. But I think [the Chris Brown and Drake fight] on top of my image definitely affected [me being able to perform tomorrow night at] this show.
"But from a true, hip-hop fans perspective, isn’t that what beef’s all about? Isn’t that what was so funny about Ja Rule and 50, was that it got taken to that point? Isn’t that what was so beautiful about it? There’s the beauty, and the beast. But right now, I’m catching the beast for something I didn’t even do.
“I think I’m gonna start releasing more content, and start focusing on how I’m a bad motherfucker when I’m on the microphone. I’m a bad motherfucker in real life too, but I’m gonna start focusing [more on my music] so it’s like, ‘Wow, this guys is doing more good than bad.’ I think I was caught up in not trying to over-saturate the market, and let people pay attention to the beauty in my songwriting.
"But now, for the people that don’t understand, it’s time to break out of this little shell, and say ‘fuck you’ via my content. Because I was coming out with so little content, people were paying attention to, ‘MGK gets arrested today,’ as opposed to, ‘MGK just ripped the fuck out of this track. Oh my god.’ For every tabloid I’m in, I’m gonna give them a song for that too. That’s what I’m about to start doing.
“I think I’m clear for the rest of the tour. This is my 78th show tonight, tomorrow was supposed to be 79. New York City’s a whole different beast too, so hopefully [the negativity] stops here.”