Machine Gun Kelly’s just-released sophomore album, General Admission, is a strong follow-up to 2012’s Lace Up.
The album took three years to arrive, but MGK has never slowed down. While he's spent most of his time touring, the Cleveland native has also released a handful of mixtapes. But while Lace Up had a hit single in “Wild Boy,” General Admission has largely flown under the radar, so far, and MGK's labels, Bad Boy and Interscope seemingly, haven’t done much to push the project to an audience larger than his loyal, more underground following.
General Admission is set to move 40-45K copies in its first week, less than his debut album which moved 57K. To date, Lace Up has sold roughly 178,000 copies, so it’s clear that MGK has a slow burn effect in his sales. Considering he doesn't currently have a big single, General Admission’s projections aren’t bad, but they don't show growth. Did he wait too long? Is it a sign of declining album sales across the board? Was this even his choice?
Bad Boy as a label is notorious for keeping artists on the shelf. Red Cafe has never dropped an album, while French Montana is still hopeful that he'll be able to put out his sophomore LP before the end of this year. And, of course, MGK had to wait three years for another album to land in stores and online. Despite a new label deal, Diddy doesn’t seem to be as invested in building up his roster as he was in the ‘90s, back when he had something to prove.
There might also be another reason that MGK has seemingly been placed on hip-hop's back burner. In 2012, MGK tweeted about Eminem’s daughter (see below). Remember what happened to Ja Rule after he mentioned her name? MGK, in his mind, wasn’t saying anything particularly outlandish, but his intentions haven't mattered much.
I’m sure Eminem wasn’t flattered to hear MGK refer to his daughter as “hot as fuck.” Imagine if this tweet somehow worked and he started dating Hailie. I picture Eminem and Dr. Dre answering the door like Marcus and Mike in Bad Boys 2. The reality, of course, has played out far different and, because of that tweet, MGK says he's faced the consequences.
When’s the last time you heard an MGK record on Eminem's Shade 45? According to Laura Stylez at Hot 97, MGK was rumored to have been banned from the station. Even certain media outlets don’t support him anymore. For example, The FADER hasn’t covered his work since his “Wild Boy (Remix).” When he explains the situation to Ebro, though, he’s very vague and careful not to call out anybody else in the process.
"Certain people took it and ran with it and hyped it up," he tells Ebro. "Certain people won't even listen or review this joint. Certain places you won't even hear Machine Gun Kelly on. Certain things won't even happen. A friend of mine said it best yesterday. They said, 'Why do you care? You came in the industry blackballed. You already came in with everyone hating you.”
Could this be the reason why no rappers graced General Admission? Or why it’s taken three years to put out another album? MGK worked with the likes of Pusha T and Meek Mill in 2013, but since then he has kept a lower profile on hip-hop collaborations. It’s either a personal choice or artists might fear future issues with Eminem.
Despite the situation, MGK goes on to say that he’s not worried or stressing about it. He also doesn’t regret the tweet. To him, this is bigger than anything on Twitter. It’s a means to feed his family and support those around him.
“I've done nothing wrong but come up from being a nobody and being a loser and doing exactly what the goal of hip-hop was in the first place, which was earn respect in a community, use my voice to bring other people up from a dark place, speak on realities of what's going on in my community, and I've stayed true to that," MGK said. "Fuck anybody who's trying to take food off not just my plate, but a whole city. It's more than just me. Let us win. Help us, man. My intentions aren't ill. I'm not out here flashing chains. I'm doing this for the same reason everybody else started doing this back in the day for this respect. Let me win, man. Stop holding me back.”
MGK's words sound like a direct response to Eminem to lift any ban, real or imagined, on his career. The circumstances have had negative effects, but for the most part, the Cleveland native continues to win. He’s on the road as much as he can be, has an extremely loyal fan base, and continues to feed his family off his music career. So whether he's actually being blackballed from the industry or not, ultimately his fate is in his own hands.