Why is everyone always picking on Machine Gun Kelly? It keeps happening, in ways big and small. Like right now, in New York, where he can’t even strut the quarter-block between his chauffeured SUV and the entrance to the glittery downtown sushi-nightclub Tao without getting hassled. Twice. On his way in, a homeless dude shouts “New Kids on the Block!” at him. When MGK emerges a couple of hours later, stuffed full of tequila and yellowtail, a drunk frat boy gets right in his face, asking if he’s Justin Bieber.
“Dude,” MGK says, “everything is my fault when you’re me. I don’t know why.” And if so much success wasn’t finally coming his way, if he weren’t quite so high most of the time, it might really bother him.
Truth is, even if he were still just Colson Baker, Cleveland-raised former juvenile offender, Chipotle employee and teenage dad, the same stuff would probably be happening. He just looks like trouble, somehow; the air moves in weird ways around him. Even though he’s actually the kind of guy who drives three hours out of his way on a show day to visit an injured fan in the hospital, the kind of guy who calls his look-alike drummer, Rook, his “little brother,” and treats him as such – though it turns out they’re not related and didn’t grow up together. (Rook was a local fan until he won his gig, and honorary sibling status, by sending MGK videos of himself playing.)
After nearly a decade of slugging away as a cult-y, rock-worshipping, guitar-playing, live-band-leading hip-hop artist, MGK has broken through with a real hit, cracking the Top Five earlier this year with the dark but poppy “Bad Things,” a duet with Camila Cabello that evokes the Eminem-Rihanna collaborations of yore. It’s a sharp turnaround for a rapper (he prefers…