You can't fault MGK being as stoked as he is to have ended his European tour in London. Ralph Hardy catches up on the Bad Boy rapper about going to the Pole-lympics, trippy contraband consumption stories and the release of his debut album, Lace Up! The Denver and Cleveland raised Machine Gun Kelly is on cloud 9… Where the 9 resembles a cloud of smoke of course...How are you finding your time in London?
Man, I’ve been here for an hour. First time here ever. I like the vibe a lot more – We just came from Germany, know what I’m saying? Never been to Europe before, not on no rap s*%t or even conscious of knowing I was here. It’s the best vibe so far.
You haven’t seen anything as of yet, are you going to go out later?
Where do you plan on going?
To the weed man… Wherever he is.
Camden would be a good place to start.
THAT’S where they told me the best place for shopping is too. Camden is like an hour away though.
If you’re driving, it’s not that far.
We don’t have cars.
You’re going to take TFL?
What the f*%k is that?!
Are you going to take the train Mr. Kelly?!
Man we took a train to Paris the other day – That sucks man!
You don’t like public transport!?
I used to. I used to take public transport all the time but I’m over that now. When you have schedules and stuff, you have to be back for sound check and stuff… It just sucks.
So how are you going to get to Camden to shop and see the weed man?
I'ma f*%king call Aladdin up and make him bring that magic carpet….
Yeah, I hope that works that out for you.
I'ma call Harry Potter – He’s over here! I'ma call the homie. Tell him bring the broom
The broom and the owl for company.
The owl is optional, but DEFINTELY the broom.
I think the owl is mandatory. Considering you’re coming to London for the first time, you might as well get the full experience.
F*%k it, Ralph says bring the owl.
How is your relationship with music?
Dependant. Music is like blood.
Is it different from before and after you’ve been signed?
Yeah, before I was signed, it was the blue blood, like in the veins, and then when I signed, it’s like I cut my wrist and the blood is red and ‘Oh, I can really see what it is now.’ It was always blue - ‘Damn… it’s blue, it’s really blue.’ I saw it for what I thought it was, then after I got signed, I saw it for what it really is.
I really see that music can change people’s lives, in a bad way and in a great way. For fans, it changes their lives in a beautiful way, getting them through their day. In my case, the artist making the music, it depletes them.
Do you listen to your own music?
How often do you listen to your own music?
And the other 80...?
I really dig it. I’ve been recently listening to this band I was on tour with called Sleeping With Sirens. They just released this great acoustic EP.
When traveling, for some reason, Wiz makes for good music. I can’t wait to listen to my own album. I don’t have a copy but it has a lot of soundtracks for different situations.
Speaking about Wiz, how is your relationship with him?
Yeah, he’s the man! Me and him have a good relationship – we’re both Midwest boys, we saw each other come up. Obviously, he was two steps ahead of me. He saw me come up as a young guy, like, we use to open for him in 2009/10 and we would always see each other. It’s cool now because I’m at a bit of a bigger level now. We were just in LA… It was sick! He walked in the club and saw me and sent a bottle of Cristal and it was my first bottle of Cristal ever! You know if you’ve bought Cristal, you’ve made it. So he sent that and a J!
I’m tryna tell you man, I’ve smoked with Wiz two times bro… Two times. Once in SXSW with Big Sean... I was in IHOP on my f*%king ass, and don’t get me wrong because I’m a smoker, so this was some ill s*%t, and the second time was when he sent the J over in LA outside of Mel’s diner - which is a famous diner in LA - and I kept thinking everyone was dressed like it was Men In Black.
Was it very apparent…
YOO DAWWWG! YES! I was moving like a noodle! I don’t know what he smokes, or how he smokes it…
... Because more time he seems very calm.
Yes man, but this s*%t… Whatever he smokes… The best stuff I can find doesn’t compare. You know how we were talking about Aladdin? He could probably call Aladdin. The stuff he gets is insane… It's probably being flown in from Vietnam.
Recently you featured on the XXL Freshman cover, how was that for you?
It was sick man! At first, I was very spiteful of sharing which is so childish, but now I’ve come to appreciate it and think if I worked harder, I can get a cover of my own.
Have you talked music with anyone else on the cover?
Yeah me and Kid Ink are pretty close. That mother f*%ker Roscoe Dash’s making Sony industry beef [laughs] that’s my man too...I made people eat weed brownies at the shoot, kinda funny. I took a nap on the floor. Course I let them all know what it was.
You ever give someone a weed brownie without telling them?
Oh yeah [chuckles] we took our DJ to Amsterdam a couple days ago and made him do what he never does [laughs] he panicked in the middle of the street and it was with the crazy Amsterdam s*%t – The security had to carry him. We went to watch a sex show whilst he was spazzing out.
You're a bad man MGK. Explain to me your style – is it where you come from or a personal style? Clothes, hair, music – they all usually reflect each other.
Well, its weird because I come from the east side of Cleveland, neighborhoods are mostly black, and very hip hop orientated, but before I moved there, I grew up in Denver for the first couple years of my teenage life. I was a huge punker when I was in Denver. We were very rebellious and took the whole style and kept it with me and when I reached 20/21 and realsied it's ok to be yourself, I went back to that whole thing, trying to mesh it, which is why I think I’m very misunderstood right now because people are like ‘he spits heavy’. A lot of people don’t even know I’m white. I’d say my style is grungy, clean grungy.
Explain to me what the pole-lympics is?
Oh that’s… Did you… wait… that’s… did you get that from my Instagram? That’s cool man. Its champion ass shaking – who’s going to take home the gold?
How did you find it?
Driving down the street. Pole-lympics and pussy rides on Sunset Boulevard, very appropriate. Sunset is very clean now, but the free pussy rides and pole-lympics is excellent.
I can only assume. I haven’t had the pleasure of doing such things yet. You’re in London for two days. You’re performing in London. What are you expecting from a London crowd?
We sold out Paris and that was one of the only shows we sold out in Europe and I’m hoping we go out with a bang… You know what? F*%k that. I have high expectations for London because they lead the whole movement of where I learned how to perform from, which is basically the punk thing and the riots and the crazy stuff – it all stems from here.
What British acts do you listen to or are familiar with?
You know what, America do a really poor job of culturing us. That’s the one thing we don’t really have – a worldwide culture. America concentrates on centering itself so much, it doesn’t give us an opportunity to branch out and hear other music without actually coming over here. The one time I remember coming to Europe was when electronic music was huge, and that was years and years ago, before that was big in America.
I’m familiar with Tinie Tempah but I’m more into the gritty stuff, like if you had a British Young Jeezy. I just want some shit that doesn’t have a scratchy voice. Outside of rap, Florence & The Machine’s music is beautiful. When labels were tryna sign me, they hooked me with a lot of promos and hooked me on the Lungs CD.
Your album is coming out early October. What are we going to expect.
The beauty of it is that it sounds like the mixtapes. It doesn’t veer from the sound. It's what that fans want to hear. The only thing that’s changed is the sound in terms of the actual mix and mastering of the product with the major label budget we had. It's not like I’m in my friend’s basement.
Even though some people prefer that...
Yeah some were recorded there but the mix and mastering… you’ll still get the gritty feel but the sound is nice! Tech9, Immortal Technique, Twista, DMX, Lil John… Laced up!!