In general, Machine Gun Kelly has two types of fans: Those who wish he’d stop with his pop-punk experiment and start rapping again, and those who don’t. For a while there, it seemed like that first camp wouldn’t see the day they got their wish.
But alas, their hopes are coming true. After making two commercially successful pop-punk albums — Tickets to my Downfall and Mainstream Sellout — with Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, the 32-year-old artist has shared that he plans to return to his original form. Born Colson Baker, the genre-hopping musician revealed in a recent interview on Audacy Check In with Kevan Kenney that his next record will be a rap album akin to his first four full-length projects: 2012’s Lace Up, 2015’s General Admission, 2017’s Bloom and 2019’s Hotel Diablo.
“I’m going to make a rap album for myself,” he said. “For no other reason, no point to prove, no chip on my shoulder. If I keep doing things to prove things to people, I’m going to one, drive myself crazy and two, not make a good product.”
That doesn’t mean, though, that he’s fully saying goodbye to the model of modern punk rock he’s helped to carve out these past few years. “I made Tickets and Mainstream Sellout because I wanted to make them,” Baker continued. “I need to now also make people miss that sound. I’m going to do this tour and I’m gonna step into where I left Hotel Diablo and expand on my storytelling as a rapper and find a new innovative sound for the hip-hop Machine Gun Kelly. That’s where my excitement is and where me as a music archaeologist wants to explore.”
His departure from his current genre may upset fans who reside in the second aforementioned MGK camp — the one that really digs his punk rocker persona. That includes none other than Mick Jagger, who recently said he thinks Baker and English rocker Yungblud possess a “kind of post-punk vibe” that “makes me think there is still a bit of life in rock ‘n’ roll.” But as the “Emo Girl” singer pointed out, even his rap albums had their own punk-rock spunk to them.
“Take Travis [Barker],” he explained. “I love Blink, I was always such a fan of the band and kind of came into my own balance between the hip-hop that I grew up loving and that I was making. When I decided to sonically incorporate [rock] into my album sounds, I tried on my third album called Bloom. I was singing and playing guitar on, and it was almost there.”
Then came his Hotel Diablo collaboration with Barker and Yungblud, “I Think I’m OKAY.” “When that happened and I listened to it I was like, ‘Aw this is what I’ve been trying to do for years.”
Watch a snippet of his Audacy chat below, or listen to the entire interview.