Covered in tattoos, perpetually rocking Chuck Taylors, a black bandana tied around his head and tight pair of jeans, Machine Gun Kelly looks like a punk poster boy at first glance. Digging deeper, it becomes clear that pinpointing his style isn’t as easy as it seems. The 25-year-old Cleveland native has tapped into vastly different avenues of influence to create his own unique identity. A hardcore rapper trapped in a rockstar’s body, MGK exists amongst a new wave of musicians taking center stage in today’s social media-driven entertainment world. His look, and the visuals that accompany his music play a vital role in his artistry. As his decade-long foray into the hip-hop scene continues to thrust him further into the spotlight, he is expanding his creative reach by stepping onto the big screen. This year, in addition to releasing his long-awaited sophomore album General Admission, MGK is set to make an appearance in Punk’s Dead—an upcoming dramatic comedy.
We recently had a chance to catch up with MGK to discuss his transition from the recording studio to the movie set, as well as how he plans to take his career to the next level.
How did your rap career evolve into acting?
An entertainer uses multiple outlets to put on a show, so acting felt like the next step. Just like I idolized certain rappers and rockers growing up, I found a special connection with characters like Gilbert Grape (Johnny Depp) or the Joker (Heath Ledger).
What artists would you like to collaborate with that you haven’t yet?
Big Gu-wop a.k.a. Gucci Mane.
If you could write a toast to your future, what would you say?
This toast is to letting my life speak louder then my lips. Your time will come young gunner.
In one word describe a MGK concert.
What has been your single biggest accomplishment in your career to date?
Mastering the art of "not giving a f***." There are also those nights where we did things like performed in front of 85,000 people at WrestleMania, or won the biggest MTV award of the night at the Woodies, or performed on Jay Leno before he retired, or built a family within a fan base and created our own festival in Ohio.
Tell us the story behind your headband.
Everyone in our clique rocks a black bandana with the print "EST 19XX" on them 24/7. As the underdog, you are expected to lose or give up and “wave the white towel” so that is why our flag is black. We never give up—never surrender. EST means “Everyone Stands Together.” The "19XX" is to represent any age.
What is the next level for MGK?
Gaining diplomatic immunity or becoming the cowbell player for the world's greatest undiscovered rock band.