Cleveland-native Machine Gun Kelly features in a new Hulu documentary about his life since 2019’s Hotel Diablo. Life in Pink discusses everything from his genre switch to his struggles with fatherhood to his whirlwind relationship with Megan Fox, all from the superstar’s point of view. Released late last month, Life in Pink is half intimate biography, half concert film, covering his last three tours, including the still-running Mainstream Sellout tour, coming to FirstEnergy Stadium on Aug. 13.
MGK hasn’t forgotten where he came from. Raised in East Cleveland, MGK revisits his daughter’s childhood home on E. 112th and Dove and his early music video-recording spots whenever he’s in town. He recalls his performance at the Buckeye Festival, using only two steps as a stage. His favorite shows are those he plays in Cleveland. Whether it’s NBA All-Star weekend or the Tickets to My Downfall tour, he loves playing to his hometown fans.
Drugs and Criticism
The rapper-turned-rocker struggled with drug abuse after the poor critical reception to “Hotel Diablo.” He didn’t get why critics didn’t understand what he was doing with it, he felt like it was the best thing he’d ever released. So, Kelly started taking mushrooms, ecstasy and many other drugs, on top of his marijuana use, to quell the mental and physical toll on his body from the stress of constant touring and criticism.
MGK often feels undeserving of people’s love. Because of this, he self-sabotages, even with his daughter. He credits his father for passing the toxic trait down, as his grandfather did before him. According to the superstar, the “wounds are too deep to heal,” and he hated who he was before his recent punk-rock shift, saying, “I played a role for 16 years.”
Quarantine is what pushed MGK to switch genres. He realized — once he couldn’t self-medicate with his stage-life and the drugs that came with it — that he needed something else to keep him going. The guitar brought him back from the brink, pushing him to completely reinvent himself and the music he created.
Cleveland is key to his identity and current success. MGK first met and collaborated with Blink-182’s Travis Barker after a Blink concert in Cleveland in the early 2010s. Their relationship grew and blossomed into Kelly’s last two records, Tickets to My Downfall and Mainstream Sellout, both produced by Barker.