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 MTV Breaking Woodie award.
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 ReZoundas 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 was titled “Peso”, and featured Pusha T and Meek Mill. Kelly also said 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 June 26, 2013 Kelly released Black Flag without prior announcement. The mixtape featured guest appearances from Wiz Khalifa, French Montana, Kellin Quinn, Dub-O, Sean McGee and Tezo.