There’s a Facebook group I’m a part of called Everlasting Souls, and in it we all post things about or related to Hip-Hop. (Feel free to join). Being a fan of Machine Gun Kelly, naturally I posted a link to his Black Flag mixtape back when it first dropped. I remember someone in the group commented, saying something along the lines accusing him of being fake and questioning his credibility as an artist. Of course, the fact that he was white was thrown into the mix somewhere, as well as other pointless accusations regarding his image more than his music itself.
I remember arguing with the guy about it and getting extremely angry. I felt that if you were going to dislike an artist, why not dislike them for their ART and not his/her appearance or who they associate with? I listed a number of reasons why MGK was a rapper worth listening to and why I supported him, and the other commenter didn’t or couldn’t bring up anything viable about his music. Just a bunch of misguided opinions rooted in imagery and perception rather than artistry.
For an artist with one of the last few fan bases that could be called a “cult following,” MGK still hasn’t reached a level of respect seen by many of his peers over the last couple years. Major label deal aside, MGK has anchored his career with nonstop touring, energetic performances and a keen sense of creative direction. He’s an artist who knows exactly what he wants and what he stands for. Consistency is key when it comes to longevity as a rapper, and MGK has demonstrated that time and time again with every project he’s released. His mixtapes and his Lace Up album all have a healthy dose of fast flows, emotional self-reflection, motivation, and high-level energy.
DMX has said on record that he thinks MGK is better than “80 percent of rappers out” and I agreed with him totally. Lyrically he’s rarely ever lazy. The sheer precision that he uses to execute complex flows without even breathing is shocking. His songwriting has been his calling card in terms of skills that set him apart. He’s able to project emotion vividly, and it’s the very reason his fans are so connected to him. Even outside of rap, MGK’s always been known to put his fans first.
With all the sub-par rappers that gain notoriety nowadays, it pains me as a fan of music when people constantly overlook all the talented ones, especially if it’s just because they might look or sound different than what they’re used to. I know a big part of why MGK hasn’t gained as much notoriety is probably because he looks like he should be in a punk band instead of spitting rapid-fire lyrics about East Cleveland. By all modern standards, he’s pretty much a weirdo in rap. But that’s exactly why now is a great time for him to be taken seriously.
Now more than ever, there are so many lanes open for rappers to do their thing. Just in the last two years alone, Hip-Hop has had somewhat of a rapid evolution. There’s been an explosion of rappers to emerge that thrive on “weirdo” creativity or left-field ideas that have caught the attention of the mainstream. (Atlanta is reigning supreme in this right now.) With that said, there really shouldn’t be a reason, at least aesthetically, why MGK doesn’t deserve mention over some of the less skilled rappers that run radio. Contrary to popular belief, there is a lot of great Hip-Hop that’s out. People need to just be more open to it.