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Alternative & Indie - Released September 25, 2020 | Bad Boy - Interscope Records

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released July 5, 2019 | Bad Boy - Interscope Records

Death hangs over everything on Hotel Diablo, rapper/actor Machine Gun Kelly's fourth and most well-executed artistic statement to date. Less aggressive than the 2018 trap EP Binge and more pop-savvy than 2017 predecessor Bloom, Hotel Diablo presents Kelly's melding of rap and rock in seamless fashion with balance and finesse. Tortured and introspective, the melodic and genre-fluid set examines childhood trauma, the perils of fame, the demons that continue to haunt him, and creeping mortality. Analyzing his own fast-living lifestyle, he also invokes the spirits of his late friends and contemporaries Nipsey Hussle, Lil Peep, Mac Miller, and Chester Bennington, whose influence looms largest, especially on the Linkin Park-channeling highlight "Hollywood Whore." Clocking in at under 40 minutes, Hotel Diablo is a brisk listen and rarely lags (a pair of comedy interludes halt the momentum somewhat, but they are fortunately short), jumping from the funky, synth-washed intro, "Sex Drive," to aggressive bangers "El Diablo," "Floor 13," and "Roulette." Proving his past hits with female foils weren't just flukes, he recruits guests Naomi Wild, Phem, and Madison Love on a triplet of introspective standouts that delve into suicide, depression, broken relationships, and self-doubt. Much like "Bad Things" and "Home," the vocal interplay amplifies the dramatic depth of his lyrics and helps balance with the more aggressive rap tracks. Of those, Lil Skies provides ample support on the "Sicko Mode"-esque romp "Burning Memories," while Trippie Redd is forced to reflect on his own substance intake with a particularly angsty Kelly on the pained "Candy." Throughout, Kelly drops a guitar lick in here and there, but it's not until album closer "I Think I'm OKAY" that he truly captures the rap-rock marriage that he's been chasing for years. Along with English upstart Yungblud and drummer Travis Barker, Kelly delivers a bouncy rock blast that hints at exciting new directions. With such variation and conviction, Hotel Diablo is a highly enjoyable piece of cathartic release, a peak in Machine Gun Kelly's catalog. © Neil Z. Yeung /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 29, 2020 | Bad Boy - Interscope Records

Though his 2019 album Hotel Diablo mostly continued the commercial rap style that made Machine Gun Kelly famous, the record closed with "I Think I'm Okay," a melodic rock song featuring guest appearances from U.K. vocalist YUNGBLUD and blink-182's Travis Barker. The catchy tune injected Machine Gun Kelly's emotionally raw lyricism into a template of spirited guitar-driven pop-punk and it became a huge hit. For fifth album Tickets to My Downfall, Machine Gun Kelly commits fully to the pop-punk style that was hinted at with "I Think I'm Okay," making a bold-faced turn from moody rap songs to blasts of distorted guitar, uptempo drums, and vocal harmonies right out of the early-2000s mall punk playbook. Travis Barker is again a frequent collaborator, producing the album as well as contributing drums and occasionally co-writing some songs. This direct association might be part of why Tickets to My Downfall sounds inarguably enamored with blink-182, with songs like "Bloody Valentine," pained ballad "Play This When I'm Gone," and the explosive "Title Track" following blink's blueprint of straightforward melodies, huge hooks, and cathartic choruses. The rap elements of the past aren't completely scrubbed clean, with trap drums added to the mix of tunes like "Drunk Face," and cameo appearances from rappers like Trippie Redd and Blackbear. Even still, when Trippie Redd shows up on "All I Know," he's not rapping as much as singing some melodic lines that play nicely with the emo-rock format of the song. The themes of self-destruction, tainted romance, and struggles with depression that were often visited on Machine Gun Kelly's earlier material translate seamlessly from tormented rap to heart-aching pop-punk. Songs like the lovelorn and dramatic "My Ex's Best Friend" might have a delivery that's worlds away from the brooding rap he's known for, but he's still singing about the same problems as always. The profound stylistic upset of Tickets to My Downfall will leave some listeners flat, simply because what they enjoyed about Machine Gun Kelly as a rapper might be harder to find in his pop-punk songs. For those willing to come along for the ride, the album serves as a sincere and somewhat nostalgic embrace of pop-punk from the Myspace era. Machine Gun Kelly's personality is still at the heart of every song, even when trading 808 beats for crunchy guitar riffs. While some songs are more interesting than others and some tend too close to blink-182 worship, Tickets to My Downfall succeeds more than it falters. While it would rank as a slightly above average album for any given pop-punk band, there's an added excitement in how risky this about-face is for a multi-platinum artist who could have easily turned in the same record he made last time. © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released May 12, 2017 | Bad Boy - Interscope

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Humour/Spoken Word - Released April 14, 2016 | Cavalere ENT.

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 18, 2019 | Bad Boy - Interscope Records

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released May 27, 2016 | Bad Boy - Interscope

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 31, 2020 | Bad Boy - Interscope Records

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released September 21, 2018 | Bad Boy - Interscope

Following the success of his gold-certified third album Bloom, Cleveland rapper Machine Gun Kelly got an unexpected boost in 2018 from an unlikely source: major influence Eminem, who resurrected a 2012 beef stemming from off-hand comments about the Detroit emcee's daughter. On Eminem's Kamikaze attack "Not Alike," he lobbed a direct shot at Kelly, who quickly responded with the biting diss track "Rap Devil." As tabloid headlines swirled, the latter song entered the U.S. R&B/Hip-Hop chart Top 10, jumping to number 13 on the Hot 100. Capitalizing on the surprise boost in exposure, Kelly issued short album Binge, an aggressively dark, trap-beaten set. Showcasing Kelly's hungry flow and sly wordplay, the effort is one of his most focused, unencumbered by the star-studded distractions of the pop-friendly Bloom (rapper 24hrs is the only feature here). In addition to slinging zinger after zinger on "Rap Devil," Kelly also delivers on "GTS" ("going through shit"), "Loco," and "Livefastdieyoung." Binge debuted at number 24 on the Billboard 200, also charting in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. © Neil Z. Yeung /TiVo
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Pop - Released November 16, 2017 | Atlantic Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 25, 2020 | Bad Boy - Interscope Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 18, 2019 | Bad Boy - Interscope Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 25, 2020 | Bad Boy - Interscope Records

Though his 2019 album Hotel Diablo mostly continued the commercial rap style that made Machine Gun Kelly famous, the record closed with "I Think I'm Okay," a melodic rock song featuring guest appearances from U.K. vocalist YUNGBLUD and blink-182's Travis Barker. The catchy tune injected Machine Gun Kelly's emotionally raw lyricism into a template of spirited guitar-driven pop-punk and it became a huge hit. For fifth album Tickets to My Downfall, Machine Gun Kelly commits fully to the pop-punk style that was hinted at with "I Think I'm Okay," making a bold-faced turn from moody rap songs to blasts of distorted guitar, uptempo drums, and vocal harmonies right out of the early-2000s mall punk playbook. Travis Barker is again a frequent collaborator, producing the album as well as contributing drums and occasionally co-writing some songs. This direct association might be part of why Tickets to My Downfall sounds inarguably enamored with blink-182, with songs like "Bloody Valentine," pained ballad "Play This When I'm Gone," and the explosive "Title Track" following blink's blueprint of straightforward melodies, huge hooks, and cathartic choruses. The rap elements of the past aren't completely scrubbed clean, with trap drums added to the mix of tunes like "Drunk Face," and cameo appearances from rappers like Trippie Redd and Blackbear. Even still, when Trippie Redd shows up on "All I Know," he's not rapping as much as singing some melodic lines that play nicely with the emo-rock format of the song. The themes of self-destruction, tainted romance, and struggles with depression that were often visited on Machine Gun Kelly's earlier material translate seamlessly from tormented rap to heart-aching pop-punk. Songs like the lovelorn and dramatic "My Ex's Best Friend" might have a delivery that's worlds away from the brooding rap he's known for, but he's still singing about the same problems as always. The profound stylistic upset of Tickets to My Downfall will leave some listeners flat, simply because what they enjoyed about Machine Gun Kelly as a rapper might be harder to find in his pop-punk songs. For those willing to come along for the ride, the album serves as a sincere and somewhat nostalgic embrace of pop-punk from the Myspace era. Machine Gun Kelly's personality is still at the heart of every song, even when trading 808 beats for crunchy guitar riffs. While some songs are more interesting than others and some tend too close to blink-182 worship, Tickets to My Downfall succeeds more than it falters. While it would rank as a slightly above average album for any given pop-punk band, there's an added excitement in how risky this about-face is for a multi-platinum artist who could have easily turned in the same record he made last time. © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released September 8, 2018 | Bad Boy - Interscope

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released January 1, 2012 | Bad Boy - Interscope

Cleveland MC Machine Gun Kelly signed to Bad Boy/Interscope on the strength of several mixtapes showcasing his relentless style and some of the hungriest-sounding tracks in recent memory. Lace Up is the official debut, collecting touched-up versions of some of the strongest individual tracks from previous offerings as well as an album's worth of brand-new material. Kelly's rapid-fire delivery is all frenzy, all starving, all bombast, and the beats are equally aggressive. Even the indie rock-based backing of "Stereo," featuring Fitts of the Kickdrums crooning on the chorus, is transformed into a high-power sex metaphor beneath Kelly's storm of syllables. A barrage of guest stars shows up on Lace Up, including party-starters of several generations with Lil Jon on the title track and Waka Flocka Flame helping out on the Jackass-inspired dumbness of "Wild Boy." DMX, Young Jeezy, Tech N9ne, Twista, Ester Dean -- the list of cameos goes on and on. Despite the laundry list of guests, Kelly stays in the dead-center spotlight with underdog rhymes, hard-time tales, and heaps of Cleveland love. "On My Way" is a collection of fond reminiscence of growing up broke and wild in Cleveland while "All We Have" is an against-all-odds look at lost friends and family members that somehow works in a "Go hard or go home" message. Production from J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Alex da Kid, and a track-by-track host of others keeps the album moving but always at a screaming pace. At times the beats are a little predictable, and the extreme flavor that runs through the album sometimes uses too many cornball metal guitars or crunchy synths to accentuate its rage. The hotheaded persona of the 22-year-old, tattoo-covered skinny white rapper from the rough streets of urban Ohio will no doubt remind some of Eminem's rise to fame more than ten years prior. The vibe on Lace Up isn't identical to the early era of Slim Shady, but there are more than a few parallels. Kelly's fan base expanding exponentially overnight, his constant referencing of his rough back-story, and his flair for storytelling are all reminiscent of Eminem's frantic beginnings. He's less campy or sophomoric, but there's even the occasional interspersion of melancholy heartstring-pulling alternative hooks into his songs, as on the world-weary "Runnin'" or "See My Tears." However, his trigger-happy delivery probably owes more to the influence of Cleveland natives Bone Thugs-N-Harmony than it does Marshall Mathers' over-enunciated flow. These comparisons are more of an afterthought than anything. Lace Up is a beast of a debut, and some of the heaviest mainstream-friendly hip-hop happening in 2012, a picture of young energy at its zenith. The Sean "Diddy" Combs connection adds a little too much gloss to the grime, hanging Lace Up somewhere between the underground intensity that it seems born from and the commercial overexposure that Kelly seems bound for. © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 5, 2020 | Bad Boy - Interscope Records

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released October 16, 2015 | Bad Boy - Interscope

It's a clever joke naming your autobiographical album General Admission, and thank the stars that Cleveland MC Machine Gun Kelly is that clever. Life on the bad streets of his hometown sounds depressing and dour according to the stories here, so framing it all as a cruel joke is necessary, and breaking these downers up with a Kid Rock anthem couldn't hurt. Not when that Detroit-meets-Cleveland rap-rock cut is the worthy "Bad Mother F*cker," a simple yet aptly titled baller where Kelly gives up "I'm the type to drop a hit of acid on the beach/And then fly to Baltimore and scream 'F*ck the police!'" as if that would help matters. General Admission sometimes seems dipped in this acid and stoned on shrooms as the haunting "Alpha Omega" free associates spiritual stuff like it was a Bizzy Bone cut, while the great Cleveland booster "Til I Die" and the nearly as good "World Series" are trap anthems that could be melting as they slowly trudge out of the speakers. Add to this the relationship apocalypse called "Story of the Stairs," and the doomed number dubbed "Eddie Cane" ("...only Five Heartbeats left"), and the album is a no-fun effort with little hope, with a bit of Kid Rock-driven debauchery to keep listeners off the ledge. That doesn't mean Kelly holds back on the mischief, the jokes, or the wry rhymes, and when he holds Kurt Cobain up as an inspiration during "A Little More," it makes sense. General Admission can be corrosive and coarse like Nirvana's In Utero, but while it lacks that album's artistic weight, it's proud to be unattractive which, oddly enough, becomes this druggy downer's allure. © David Jeffries /TiVo
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released August 21, 2017 | Velocity Music

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released October 16, 2015 | Bad Boy - Interscope

It's a clever joke naming your autobiographical album General Admission, and thank the stars that Cleveland MC Machine Gun Kelly is that clever. Life on the bad streets of his hometown sounds depressing and dour according to the stories here, so framing it all as a cruel joke is necessary, and breaking these downers up with a Kid Rock anthem couldn't hurt. Not when that Detroit-meets-Cleveland rap-rock cut is the worthy "Bad Mother F*cker," a simple yet aptly titled baller where Kelly gives up "I'm the type to drop a hit of acid on the beach/And then fly to Baltimore and scream 'F*ck the police!'" as if that would help matters. General Admission sometimes seems dipped in this acid and stoned on shrooms as the haunting "Alpha Omega" free associates spiritual stuff like it was a Bizzy Bone cut, while the great Cleveland booster "Til I Die" and the nearly as good "World Series" are trap anthems that could be melting as they slowly trudge out of the speakers. Add to this the relationship apocalypse called "Story of the Stairs," and the doomed number dubbed "Eddie Cane" ("...only Five Heartbeats left"), and the album is a no-fun effort with little hope, with a bit of Kid Rock-driven debauchery to keep listeners off the ledge. That doesn't mean Kelly holds back on the mischief, the jokes, or the wry rhymes, and when he holds Kurt Cobain up as an inspiration during "A Little More," it makes sense. General Admission can be corrosive and coarse like Nirvana's In Utero, but while it lacks that album's artistic weight, it's proud to be unattractive which, oddly enough, becomes this druggy downer's allure. © David Jeffries /TiVo
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Humour/Spoken Word - Released April 23, 2016 | Cavalere ENT.