When I was in middle school, all my friends were obsessed with salt and vinegar chips, so naturally, I got into them too. We’d argue over which brand was best and complain when our moms didn’t restock in time. We snacked on them during lunch, birthday parties, sports practice recovery, really any situation. Recently, I realized though, I hate salt and vinegar chips. They’re painful to eat and make a mess, but I always thought I liked them; I never thought twice when everyone around me was chowing down. I think this is what happens when people hate on Machine Gun Kelly.
Colson Baker, or Machine Gun Kelly, gets more hate than just about any other artist. Disliking him is the cool thing to do... the salt and vinegar chip. But just as my friends had good reason to like those chips, there are plenty of reasons to clown MGK. I mean, the 32-year-old talks about high school like it’s something he’s currently experiencing. Corny lyrics are scattered throughout his discography, and I actually included his last album, mainstream sellout, in Sheesh’s Most Underwhelming Songs and Projects of 2022. I think about him in the same way I think about Russ: talented but annoying.
His beef with Eminem in 2018 originally made him a topic of conversation. The two exchanged diss tracks, and my takeaway was that Eminem is a better rapper than MGK. Which, of course he is. Eminem is a better rapper than almost every rapper. After things mellowed out, it seemed like MGK had lost respect from fans and the industry, but his comeback was almost as impressive as Kanye’s in 2010.
Kanye West bounced back from the Taylor Swift incident at the 2009 VMAs with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, a legendary album that propelled him to the highest level of celebrity. Machine Gun Kelly got embarrassed, locked in with Travis Barker, and came back with a pop punk album that made him a household name. The project was a complete left turn from his previous sound, but it felt nostalgic, raw, and emotional all at the same time. It kinda just worked.
His 2020 rock album, Tickets To My Downfall, paved the way for the next generation of pop stars like Olivia Rodrigo and jxdn. At this point, MGK has money, fame, and a name that’s synonymous with the rebirth of pop punk. He also was (recently broken up now) dating Megan Fox, so that’s another dub.
Hate him all you want, but you can’t deny his impact. Without Machine Gun Kelly, rock music may not have made such a comeback, and the scene wouldn’t be where it is today. If the new pop punk wave were the 2016 New England Patriots, Machine Gun Kelly would be their Tom Brady.
If you’ve made it through this article, you know I have no problem making fun of Machine Gun Kelly. He’s an easy target, and I don’t need you to become an MGK stan or anything. I’m just saying he single-handedly changed the direction of pop music, and even his haters probably listen to his music. I put a couple songs I like below, and you have to admit, he’s not THAT bad.