By Samuel Orazem EBS Contributor
Mentioning the name Machine Gun Kelly, often abbreviated as MGK, in a conversation about rap always feels a bit taboo. He clearly possesses the vocal chops necessary to make a decent career for himself, but he’s never appeared to be particularly interested in carving out his own niche in the genre. Instead, MGK has spent the last decade in one-sided “beefs” with Eminem, doing things to keep himself in the tabloids and haphazardly crafting narratives of his own victimization.
The self-image MGK wants to craft always seems to come before the actual music, and his discography is, more or less, a catalog of every rap trend that hit the mainstream in the 2010’s. However, the bleached blonde, graphic t-shirt wearing boy from Cleveland realized something on his 2019 album titled “Binge.” The final track, “I Think I’m OKAY,” is a 2000’s pop-punk banger written with Blink-182’s drummer, Travis Barker, was far and away the most popular track of the album. It was also the only one where he actually sounded like he was having fun.
MGK brought Travis Barker back to write “Tickets To My Downfall” with him and, for the first time, I can say I genuinely like one of his albums. It is overflowing with energy, nostalgia and, most important of all, an artist who sounds comfortable with his product.
Barker’s fingerprints are all over “Tickets To My Downfall.” His lightning quick and robotically precise drumming drives tracks like “kiss kiss” and “forget me too”