By Jacob Katel
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By Jacob Katel
He's gone wild with Steve-O, shared paint with the Cavs, and sparked up with Juicy J and (likely) Wiz Khalifa. He was signed by Diddy. He covered XXL magazine. And his track "Invincible" has been used as theme songs by both the NFL and the WWE.
Born in Houston but raised all over the world, he found a home in Cleveland, not the first city to spring to mind for those who've gone global. His name is Machine Gun Kelly, and you can ride along with him at downtown Miami's Grand Central this week.
Here's what MGK had to say about his Cleveland Cavaliers, professional wrestling, rap versus rock, and getting high with hip-hop legends.
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New Times: What was the bigger thrill: having "Cleveland" become the official track of the Cavaliers or having "Invincible" blast off WrestleMania XXVIII?
Machine Gun Kelly: Nothing is better than hometown love, but the most unexpected was WrestleMania using our song! We performed in front of 75,000-plus people. Only Super Bowl halftime acts are doing shit like that, and we're from the underground.
What kind of reaction does "Cleveland" spark in the Cavs' house?
Pride and sweat.
Do you attend a lot of games?
[Team owner] Dan Gilbert gives me his floor seats when I come to the games. Ha, never thought I'd be saying something like that growing up. Shout out to my man, Dan!
Sticking with Cleveland, what's your take on Snoop and Jay Z making it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
Well, as we speak, I'm picking out which one of my outfits I'm gonna give them to put next to Snoop and Jay's in 20 years.
Is there really that big a divide between rap and rock?
If you're ignorant.
You've recently cited quite a lot of rock as influences, from Black Flag to Awolnation and Rise Against. What strikes you most about those bands?
I've covered, cited, and performed rock songs my entire career. I don't pay attention to a genre. I just pay attention to what makes me feel a certain way. And if I like it, I show my appreciation for it.
Have you gotten with any of those bands, either prior to or after the shout-outs?
No, but I wrote Rise Against a personal letter and asked them if I could cover their song "Swing Life Away," sent them my version, and they gave me the green light. Awolnation hit me after I released "Sail" and told me they thought it was dope.
How 'bout colliding with Avenged Sevenfold for your cut "Save Me"?
Partying heavy in Vegas. It's crazy, because they didn't even know what my music sounded like when we met. A mutual friend who knew I was a huge A7X fan introduced me to them one night at the Palms, and we just raged hard together till like 10 a.m. We formed a relationship after that night and got in the studio a couple months later. Those who rage together can make great songs together.
Any other rock pairings planned for the near future?
I just did a surprise performance with Linkin Park at Warped Tour in Ventura. Checked that off my bucket list!
You're also known for that collab "Boat Load" with Juicy J of Three 6 Mafia. How'd that come about?
He was the first celebrity to ever reach out. He came by my hotel room and we got high. Then the song came.
What was it like working with a legend from Three 6?