What Will I Learn?
Name: Richard Colson Baker
Nickname: Machine Gun Kelly (contracted as MGK)
Birth Date: April 22, 1990
Occupation: Rapper, Singer, Songwriter and actor
Net-Worth: $8 million
Spouse: Not Married
Children: Casie Colson Baker
Zodiac Sign: Taurus
Today, Success Titan presents to you the man who took the world by surprise after releasing the diss track Rap Devil aimed at his idol Eminem. He went from being a juvenile offender to being the first rapper to ever win the Apollo Theatre’s Amateur Night competition.
Thanks to his resilience, passion, and striking deal with the Bad Boy records of P. Diddy, he amassed an estimated fortune of $8 million. I’m Alor Luka from Success Titan, and this is Machine Gun Kelly’s story.
Richard Colson Baker, better known by his stage name Machine Gun Kelly or as abbreviated MGK was born on April 22, 1990, in Houston, Texas. The-30-year old American rapper developed an interest in music when he was 4. He spent much of his childhood travelling, seeing that he was born to missionary parents.
In an interview with Machine Gun Kelly, he revealed that his mother left their family to be with another man, supposedly a teacher, when he was only 9. He goes on to say that his father became depressed because of this event, amongst other things such as unemployment. This ultimately led to his lack of a proper upbringing. At the age of 14, he faced felony charges for crimes that he refrained from mentioning.,
MGK was left to live in his aunt’s basement when his father travelled to Kuwait to join the army. The young unsupervised MGK started experimenting with drugs and eventually stopped attending Thomas Jefferson High school, where he was studying. That is when he recorded his first mixtape, “Stamp of approval.”
His father later decided to take him to Kuwait, but they were asked to return to the United States, where they settled in Cleveland. On his return, MGK started attending Shaker Heights High School, where he later graduated from.
Career & Hustle
Machine Gun Kelly said he got his nickname from his swift style of rapping. After returning from Kuwait, MGK asked a local T-shirt shop owner to become his manager as he would benefit more from being an MC manager. The MC later went ahead to release his mixtape in 2006 – yes, the one he recorded while at his aunt’s basement a year earlier.
That is when the youngster started to garner a little bit of attention and built a local fan base. However, the ambitious teen saw that performing at venues such as HI-FI was not enough, that’s why he took a trip to Apollo Theatre in 2009 and that’s when the light at the end of his tunnel began to illuminate.
He became the first rapper to win the Apollo Theatre’s Amateur night competition, not just once but two consecutive times. At this point, it was clear that there was indeed a future for the young rapper in the music industry.
The Turning Point
Things began to look pretty rough for Kelly when his father evicted him from the house after graduating. The timing could not have been any worse as 18-year-old Kelly welcomed a daughter named Casie. It turns out it was not a bad thing; after all, as when his daughter was born, so was his new perspective on life.
Kelly started to work harder and released new mixtapes, 100 words and running, Lace-up, and Rage Pack. Among these mixtapes, MGK experienced the biggest spark with Lace-up.
His fan base grew even larger, and they even started getting tattoos of the word “Lace-up.” Just as things were looking good, yet another disappointment came through when he grew a polyp on his vocal chord.
This was not enough to keep the young rapper down, Kelly had no medical insurance, so he practised relentlessly to get his vocals fixed by exercising. In 2011 he went ahead and had a major signing with the renowned Bad Boy Label; he was signed by P-Diddy himself. The Gun was now International.
Success Knocks on MGK’s Door
After getting involved with the Bad Boy label, big things began to happen to Kelly. In 2012 he released his debut album, Lace-up, which included singles such as Invincible, wild boy, and stereo, among others.
He made his first appearance on the top 200 US Billboard charts with his album ranking at a solid 4th position. This album reportedly sold 178,000+ copies.
Lace-up was not the only album to reach high levels as his General Admission album was ranked number 4 in the US.  Putting albums aside, amongst MGK’s successes, we can not leave out “Bad Things,” his most substantial single so far.
It was a collaboration with the former Fifth Harmony member, Camila Cabello. This single entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 80 but shot up to rank at number 10, being his and Camila’s first top 10 hits as solo artists.
3 Lessons We Can Learn from MGK’s Story
- Relentless Perseverance.
From Kelly’s story, you must have noticed that his road to success was not so smooth. He kept pushing on and finding ways around his obstacles.
When he got kicked out of his own house, he did not give up. When he became a father at the age of 18, he used it as motivation to work even harder. When his vocals hindered his newly found career, he pushed on.
The point is that in situations where many would have pointed a gun to their chest, Colson became the Gun.
- Dream Big.
MGK had experienced small successes performing at local Cleveland venues such as HI-FI, but this was not enough for the ambitious teen. He wanted to go bigger, and what happened? He made history being the first rapper to ever win the Amateur night at Apollo Theatre.
The more he achieved, the bigger he aimed at, and the more he was able to achieve. Ambition is a strong driving factor, and MGK’s story teaches us to take advantage of it.
- Do not wait for opportunity, create it.
Kelly’s story teaches us that opportunity does not always knock at our doors, sometimes we need to knock at its door. If you sit back waiting for things to happen, you will achieve little to nothing.
Looking at MGK as an example, the teenager might not have gone to the Apollo Theatre if he had not convinced the T-shirt shop owner to be his manager.
Consequently, everything else might not have fallen into place as they did.
MGK created his opportunity, he did not wait for it to come from nothing.
5 Success Tips From MGK
- Stand for something.
When asked during an interview for tips to the people watching, he said “lace-up,” a reference to his debut album, and people present started screaming. Kelly exclaimed that that was exactly what he meant by lace-up.
His tip to lace-up meant to stand your ground, be you, and do you to set yourself up for success. It only makes sense that to achieve something, you need to know what it is that you really want.
- Pain is a source of inspiration
MGK has personally gone through a lot in his early life. His advice is to take that pain and make something great out of it.
Instead of having yourself beat up by the setback, use it as fuel. He goes ahead and states that pain is one of the best inspirations you can have in life.
- Do not drown out your own voice.
Sometimes we get so caught up listening to what others have to say about us, that we forget what we have to say about us.
Kelly says not to listen to the “cool” people, as he refers to them. It is of absolute importance that you do not listen to people that tell you, you can’t do something; choose your gut instead.
MGK, during another interview, advises people to continue to grow and evolve.
It is not enough to just get from point A to point B, make sure that you learn something along the way. Success is a marathon, not a one-mile track. You need to garner assets that will help you in the future, thus always have the zeal to grow.
- Follow your dreams
It is one thing to have a dream and another to follow through it relentlessly. Kelly stated that he grew up where there were many rappers. However, the only difference between him and others that didn’t make it, is that he followed his dreams while the rest just kept their dreams as dreams.
Make sure that, every day you wake up, you are doing something that takes you one step closer to your dream.
- He was sued by a bouncer for $2 million.
- Kelly learned to speak Arabic way before he learned to speak English.
- He has a daughter named Casie.
- His stage name is also a reference to the American gangster George Kelly Barnes who was nicknamed Machine Gun Kelly.
- He worked at Chipotle.
- He was a host of some of the WWE events.
- He once dated Amber Rose.
10 Quotes From MGK
- “Life is too short to live the same day twice. So each new day make sure you live your life.”
- “I’m walking through the fire because there is no way around.”
- “I don’t think that a lot of people understand, that the person who’s crazy enough to think he can change the world, actually can.”
- “I came out of a dying city, brought back life. Everything they said I couldn’t do I did about twice.”
- “I had a dream that the world changed, and for a minute there was no pain.”
- “Never make permanent decisions on temporary feelings.”
- “Question, what if tomorrow never comes and everything you said couldn’t be undone?”
- “Whatever you love could be taken away, so live like it’s your dying day.”
- “Don’t ever look down, be comfortable with who you are, our flaws are what make us perfect.”
- “When my time’s up on this earth and they bury me in that dirt, don’t say that I ain’t milk this life for everything that it’s worth.”
Your Take-Away for Today
Now that you know how MGK made it, what can you apply in your life from what he has done?
I believe one of the greatest take-aways that we can learn is that life is not anyone’s friend nor an enemy. At some point we must realise that we have control over our destiny. Ever heard of the infamous phrase, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” because MGK is a living example of the truth in that statement.
That’s just my personal opinion, what do you think instead? Comment below!
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