Machine Gun Kelly is an American rapper and actor from Cleveland, Ohio. He was born Richard Colson Baker in Houston on April 22, 1990 to missionary parents. He and his family moved all around the world and had lived everywhere from Egypt to Germany to multiple cities in the United States before he settled in Denver along with his father. His mother left him and his dad when he was still young. Due to his dad's depression and unemployment, young MGK had to endure bullying from other children in the neighborhood.
He then turned to rap music, starting to listen to it in the sixth grade when he was attending Hamilton Middle School, a school with an ethnically diverse student body in Denver, Colorado. The first three rappers that influenced him were Ludacris, Eminem and DMX. He only became more and more interested in the genre after listening to DMX's "We Right Here" from the album "The Great Depression".
MGK's home life was unstable when he was younger as he would regularly fight with his father. When he attended Denver's Thomas Jefferson High School, his father moved to Kuwait to work for the army and left him behind to live in his aunt's basement. During the course of living in the basement, MGK began experimenting with drugs and recorded his first amateur demo tape, "Stamp of Approval".
Following his father's departure to Kuwait, MGK stopped attending school. In 2005, his dad came back to the U.S. to take his son to Kuwait. But they eventually were forced to return stateside and live in Cleveland, where MGK attended Shaker Heights High School. He later earned his moniker Machine Gun Kelly due to his rapid fire delivery and then released his "Stamp of Approval" mixtape in 2006.
The release of the mixtape allowed for his reputation and profile to grow, which allowed MGK to begin performing at local Cleveland venues. The rapper went on to release four other mixtapes before he secured a recording contract with Bad Boy and Interscope Records in 2011.
His major label debut album, "Lace Up", was released in October 2012 to positive response from critics. The record, which contained the singles "Wild Boy", "Invincible", "Stereo" and "Hold On (Shut Up)", debuted at No. 4 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. In early 2015, he released the singles "Till I Die" and "A Little More" for his second studio album, "General Admission", which came out in October 2015 and also debuted at No. 4 on the albums chart.
MGK scored his biggest single yet in late 2016, after he and Fifth Harmony's Camila Cabello released their collaboration, "Bad Things". The song debuted at No. 80 on Billboard Hot 100 but has been slowly climbing up the chart. It has so far peaked at No. 10, giving both singers their first top 10 hit as solo artists.