Machine Gun Kelly used to sulk through the hallways of Shaker Heights High School. “I walked around wearing shitty old yellow headphones. I got laughed at, I got beat up,” says the 26-year-old rapper whose real name is Colson Baker. “It wasn’t cool for white boys to be rapping. I was definitely the f-----g outcast.” Times have certainly changed for MGK, who has roles in two upcoming films: Nerve (July 27), a thriller starring Emma Roberts and Dave Franco, and The Land (Aug. 5), which was filmed in Cleveland. He also has a recurring role as a guitar tech in Cameron Crowe’s backstage concert antics TV series Roadies (airing now on Showtime), recently inked a Wilhelmina International modeling deal and is working on a new album. “I’m trying to show people there are no limits,” he says. “You can be the young, crazy nutcase from the East Side of Cleveland and still get people to appreciate what you’re doing.” We talk with the rapper about his roots, acting and his music.
I used to catch the train and walk around downtown. I met all types of people, and I would rap on the spot. For The Land, I suggested some of the places where we shot. Cleveland’s like my father.
I was always re-creating Jackass stunts in school. My approach to acting is natural. I don’t think you can teach that kind of shit — you’re a natural or you’re not.
I heard they were looking for A-list actors, but I thought it might be cool to bring some authenticity to it. This show is very authentic. All of the cast members are obsessed with music. It’s a music world on the set.
ON HIS NO.1 ALBUM GENERAL ADMISSION
It was me at my truest form, three years of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I happen to be an angry person. I have a lot to scream and shout about. Look around — it’s a scary time for everybody.