Machine Gun Kelly (MGK), real name Colson Baker, has had his fair share of controversy—take his incredibly long (and worrying) history of predatory behaviour with minors, not to mention his fetishisation of black women while having a black daughter himself. Apart from such serious issues, the artist seems to have a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ that just rubs people the wrong way. Perhaps, it’s part of what some perceive as an embarrassing attempt to incorporate ‘edginess’ into his music as well as his relationship—one that has been compared to real punk couple Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie.
Now, another accusation against the rapper-turned-singer is set to poke a hole in the artist’s rock image—apparently, he may be muting his guitar in live shows.
In a video that surfaced on TikTok with over 2 million views and counting, a Guitar Center employee by the name of Gunnar DüGrey filmed himself working on MGK’s signature pink Schecter—supposedly ‘exposing’ the singer’s use of a kill switch during live performances. But for those of you who aren’t well-versed in guitar lingo, what the hell is it?
“For those of you who don’t know, you flip this [the kill switch] in the down position it cuts off all the volume making it completely silent and that got me wondering how does MGK use this in his live performances,” DüGrey explained.
In the video, DüGrey shows that when the switch is flipped downwards, the volume is cut off. After demonstrating this, he walks through multiple photographs of live performances by the 31-year-old where it appears that the switch is flipped downwards. The Guitar Center employee stated, “I’m not making any definitive claims here but it certainly seems like he doesn’t use it for much other than muting his guitar while he plays.”
This spurred mocking comments against the singer with users saying, “It’s actually Jamie Lee Curtis playing backstage for him.” Another wrote: “It’s like when you give your siblings the unplugged controller when gaming but the band gave him the silent guitar.” However, supporters of the artist have come out to rebuke these claims—stating that MGK addressed the kill switch previously and reportedly had the feature on his personal guitar flipped (so down is on and up is off). Evidence of such an interview was not found in our reporting and, therefore, cannot be confirmed.
Following the virality of the video online, MGK himself responded to the accusations in his own TikTok clip—disproving the claims made by DüGrey. While watching the Guitar Center employee demonstrate the use of the kill switch as being switched off when flipped downwards, MGK dispelled any confusion and stated: “this guy flipped the kill switch to the opposite direction for his video.”
“You reverse engineered it to go like this,” as the rocker shows the ease of which the switch can be rotated, “because when you go down it’s on.”
“You’re wearing a Liquid Death hat and I’m also a part owner of that company so you’re promoting me while hating on me,” the rocker added. Subsequently, DüGrey replied to the criticism he faced from the star by stating that he was unaware the kill switch could be rotated, and out of the box it came in, was flipped off in the down position sharing, “I was wrong, and I’m happy to admit that.”
“I didn’t realise that you can apparently just spin this thing around. Usually toggle switches […] you have to completely rewire them to change the direction, there’s no spinning like this. So, I just didn’t consider that and that’s on me,” he went on to say.
“The other mistake I made was not really knowing anything about MGK and not listening to any of his music before posting this video,” he explained, while providing evidence of a live guitar performance by the artist. “Because I think if I had heard this, let’s just say there’s no doubt in my mind that that was an authentic MGK live solo that wasn’t piped in from anyone backstage or through the mains, anything like that.”
DüGrey further explained that the video was never intended as a “hit piece” and admitted he should have conducted more research before making such claims—issuing a formal apology to the ‘Emo Girl’ singer. That didn’t stop some subtle shade still coming through from the guitarist replying to a comment that read, “So it’s just cheaply made. Interesting,” to which DüGrey replied: “more or less.”
Over the years, Machine Gun Kelly (MGK)—real name Colson Baker—has somehow managed to continuously make headlines. First, he became known as that guy who tried (and ridiculously failed, might I add) to diss Eminem on his song ‘Rap Devil’. Give it a few years and MGK went from rap-industry B-teamer to Megan Fox’s manic pixie dream boy and Pete Davidson’s bestie. Along with Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker, the duo brought power couples back from the 2000s.
What some of you may not know however, is that beyond his cringeworthy persona, Machine Gun Kelly has a pretty shady history of sexualising underage girls throughout his career. And surprise, surprise, it’s part of the reason why Eminem noticed him in the first place. Just like we previously exposed Drake’s behaviour, we have all the receipts on exactly why it’s high time we cancel MGK—here are all the times the artist said or did some questionable things. Buckle up, Megan.
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The singer’s now-infamous beef with Eminem (real name Marshall Bruce Mathers III) actually originated years before the release of ‘Rap Devil’. Back in 2012, Machine Gun Kelly tweeted about Marshall’s daughter, Hailie Jade Mathers, who was 16 at the time. The now-deleted tweet read, “Ok so I just saw a picture of Eminem’s daughter… And I have to say, she is hot as fuck, in the most respectful way possible cause Em is king.”
At the time, Eminem did not hear word of the tweet and years passed without anyone else seeming to see such a statement as problematic. Then in 2018, the rapper came out with the song ‘Not Alike’ where the lyrics read, “I’m talkin’ to you, but you already know who the fuck you are, Kelly. I don’t use sublims and sure as fuck don’t sneak-diss. But keep commenting on my daughter Hailie.”
Talking to the American journalist, radio personality, executive producer and rapper Sway during a 2018 interview, Eminem explained how he ended up finding MGK’s tweet six years later. “One day, you know, you go down a wormhole on YouTube or whatever,” he said. “I see ‘Machine Gun Kelly Talks About Eminem’s Daughter’ or whatever. I’m like, ‘What the fuck?’ I click on it… He starts doing a press run, basically, about Hailie. I’m like, ‘What the fuck? Yo, my man better chill’.”
He continued, “The reason I dissed him is actually a lot more petty than that. The reason that I dissed him is because he got on—first he said, ‘I’m the greatest rapper alive since my favourite rapper banned me from Shade 45’ or whatever he said, right? Like I’m trying to hinder his career. I don’t give a fuck about your career. You think I actually think about you? You know how many fucking rappers are better than you? You’re not even in the fucking conversation.”
Between MGK and Eminem, things never died down—and for good reason. In his 2020 song ‘Zeus’, Eminem rapped, “Fair weather, wishy-washy. She thinks Machine washed me. Swear to God, man, her favourite rapper wish he’d crossed me,” while on the song ‘Gnat’ he added, “They come at me with machine guns. Like trying to fight off a gnat.” MGK took to Twitter to address the latest gibe.
As expected, fans of the two respective sides each attempted to prove exactly who ‘the best rapper of all time’ is.
But his comment about Eminem’s daughter is not the only time Machine Gun Kelly showed signs of sexualising teens. It’s a pattern for the artist.
During a 2013 interview with Fuse, the then-23-year-old singer revealed his celebrity crush to be Kendall Jenner, who was 17 at the time. When the interviewer asked if he was counting down the days until she was 18, which, let’s be honest, is a creepy question in and of itself, MGK responded, “I’m not waiting ‘till she’s 18, I’ll go now.”
“I’m 23, I’m not like a creepy age. I’m 23, she’s 17 and she’s a celebrity—there is no limits right there,” he continued. No matter how old MGK was when he made such a statement, the laws of California (where Jenner lives) say otherwise. The age of consent is 18, making whatever he ‘dreamt of doing’ to the model illegal.
“Robert Plant, who was one of the greatest lead singers ever, dated a girl that was 14,” he defended himself. “Axel Rose, who was one of the biggest badasses ever, dated a girl that was 16.” The man is literally naming some of the creepiest rock icons there are—we should have spotted the red flags. “I don’t care. Say what you want, man. If Kendall Jenner was in your bedroom naked, and you’re 50, you’re going,” MGK added in his last attempts at justifying such problematic comments.
But wait, it gets even worse.
In 2010, at 19-years-old, MGK tweeted, in what can probably be seen as his worst offence so far, “I wish 13/14/15 year old girls weren’t allowed to be hot so I wouldn’t feel like such a creeper when I look at them… I’m still 19 #imjustsayin.” Obviously, this tweet has also been deleted since then.
Oh, and in 2009, he also tweeted, “There’s a little 13 year old girl next to me going crazy over my Transformers tattoo, don’t worry though I won’t pull an R Kelly.” Charming.
In 2011, the now-idolised celebrity tweeted yet another worrying thought, “Ok so I got a Facebook message from a 14 year old just now saying ‘hey, you’re sexy as fuck. I’d tap dat’.”
As if his obvious sexualisation of underage girls wasn’t enough, Machine Gun Kelly has also previously said some questionable things about black women.
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In a 2012 YouTube video posted by Baller Alert where MGK was interviewed while walking the BET Awards’ red carpet, the presenter asked him about one of his recent tweets that stated he likes “chocolate milk.” He answered with, “I’ll tell it like this, my child is black. Black girls give the best head.” It goes without saying that his statement was saturated with misogynoir however, it remains unclear exactly why he had followed up with that statement—the generalisation that was implied in what he said and the manner in which he spoke about it were worrying to say the least.
During this interview, a black woman who was standing behind the interviewer walked away, visibly offended, and Machine Gun Kelly took it upon himself to call her a “dirty dick bitch” while still on camera—disrespecting the type of woman he half-assed ‘praised’ just seconds before. All the while, having a young pre-teen black daughter. Classy.