Machine Gun Kelly likes to strip down to his boxer shorts. The Cleveland-based rapper, who is currently on a mammoth tour that still has over 70 dates left to run, parades around near-naked on stage, in part to test to the mettle of other rappers he claims have stolen his stage routine, and as a tribute to Blink-182. But after signing to P Diddy’s Bad Boy label and appearing on XXL’s Freshmen list, M.G.K.’s boxers are very much in demand. Hive checked in with the rapid-rap rhymer to get his expert views on the pressing issue of Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift’s underwear, Obama’s “ridiculous” terrorism laws, and the rigors of taking a poop in a hole in the ground.
Where are you at the moment?
I’m in Reno, Nevada, eating a bowl of Cocoa Puffs. The tour is like fuckin’ 9,000 dates, man. Dude, I’m not even like a fourth of the way through it, but my body feels like it’s at the end of the tour.
What part of your body hurts the most?
Probably the neck from all the head banging, and the lower-back is acting up because I sleep in theses shitty bunks. I’m 6′ 3″ so being cramped in the bunks all night is crazy. Plus it’s the original real bunks, the amateur bunks — it’s not like the sweet big-ass bunks them guys like Lil Wayne got.
Can you call P Diddy and ask him to upgrade your tour bunk bed?
Nah, I don’t rely on Puff for shit. Never will.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen someone in the crowd do so far?
They spit on our faces.
“I’ve been given a snorkel before, I’ve been given a penis popsicle, a DVD of a fan beating somebody up, I’ve been given mushrooms and all types of drugs.”
Where did that happen?
Phoenix. Then one of the Machine Gun Kelly fans cleaned this motherfucker, just knocked him out right in the face.
Why did someone spit in your face?
People don’t want to give us a chance ’cause people think I’m mainstream ’cause I’m signed to Bad Boy, but my roots are the underground. I’m still underground; I don’t give a shit about the mainstream. They have this initial reaction. Then after they see the show and how live it is and how much of a punk rocker I am, it’s all good. It’s just hurdles to get over.
It must have been a good learning experience though?
Oh, of course. That shit was one of the hardest shows I’ve ever done. I kept doing shit to prove to them that I was the best. I flipped upside down, like 20 feet above the crowd.
You’ve been photographed stripping down to your boxer shorts while performing. Why do you do that?
It came about when I felt like 20 hip-hop acts were copying my shit as far as stage performances go and I thought let’s do one thing so radical that if they do it we can call them out and boxers was the first option. Plus it’s a tribute to Blink-182, one of my favorite bands, so it was a perfect time to do it.
Which female rapper would you most like to see strip down to their underwear on stage?
Shit, probably… Great question. [Asks his entourage] Who’s a sexy female rapper I want to see in their underwear? Everyone’s gonna say Nicki Minaj. I don’t even care to see her underwear. Let me see… Shit, fuckin’ Taylor Swift. Actually she has no butt probably. Actually, that girl JoJo, that R&B singer from back in the day, I want to see her in underwear.
What sort of underwear do you think Nicki Minaj wears?
Man, I don’t know, man, she seems like a prude.
So what’s the most disgusting bathroom you’ve had to use at a venue on tour?
Oh, it’s no bathroom actually — I had to take a shit outside. It was fuckin’ terrible. I sat there, I had to use a stack of paper towels, and the line [for the show] was 15 steps away from us. I had to use a cardboard plank thing to hide my face from them. It was pretty shitty, literally.
What’s been the best food you’ve had on tour so far?
Oh, my friends took me to the Hugh Hefner suite at the Palms hotel [in Las Vegas] and I was so drunk and so high that whatever they ordered for me at 4 a.m. was the best food in my life.
If you could get Hugh Hefner to do an intro for one of your songs, what would you want him to say?
“Yeah, baby!” Or, “Fuck these hoes, Kellz!”
Do fans give you strange presents after you’ve performed?
Yeah, I’ve been given a snorkel before, I’ve been given a penis popsicle, a DVD of a fan beating somebody up, I’ve been given mushrooms and all types of drugs. It’s definitely some weird shit.
What present would you like most after a show?
A fivesome. In a hotel room. We don’t get hotels on this tour.
What’s the tour bus like then?
I feel the tour bus is crazy. We have a fuck load of people on it, with people crashing on tour all the time.
What sort of music gets played on the tour bus?
I listen to like metal and punk, and a lot of old rap ’cause I don’t really like new rap that much. If I listen to new rap it’s more of the dope boy rap like with actual lyrics and old school shit. I’ve listen to Disturbed a lot lately.
Which member of your entourage has the corniest taste in music on the tour bus?
My camera man, ’cause he listens to the fuckin’ Dave Matthews Band. Everyone smacks him in the face ’cause no one should be a fuckin’ Dave Matthews Band fan.
One of your tattoos is the anarchy symbol. Is anarchy something you support?
Of course, that’s why I put the “A” on there. Anarchists are cool.
Who is the best anarchist role model?
Machine Gun Kelly ’cause I still have a positive message to a lot of my shit — I just believe in social reform.
What sort of social reform would you like to see most?
Definitely actually fuckin’ letting people’s opinions matter because they don’t in this world — it’s all politics. Motherfuckers can be God-awful at rapping but they just know the right people. It’s the same as … why do you think half the people that are in office are in office? They can twist things however you fuckin’ want and you don’t have to win anything. If it was up to me, the people would actually be in power. But ultimately, that’s kinda a long discussion I guess …
But I mean I’d take all these Nazi fuckin’ rules off like the Internet not being able to publicize certain things. It’s like if shit’s happening, things should be said. I don’t get how everyone that speaks about what’s going on in the world … It’s just like that fuckin’ act that Obama and the people just passed that you can be labeled as a fuckin’ terrorist at any time; they can label you as a terrorist without giving you a trial and shit. That shit is ridiculous. Our freedom is non-existent in this country. Do you know how many fuckin’ bills and laws they have passed that make our freedom worthless? It’s ridiculous.
Would you ever consider running for political office yourself?
Fuck. No. Fuck politics. You will not kiss my ass. You will catch me with my middle finger to whoever is in office and whoever supports anyone who is in office.
Bringing things back to the music, have you been pleased with the reaction to the Half Naked And Almost Famous EP you released last month?
Of course, man, the EP’s amazing! We got the same concert sales every night — we sell them on tour. We come from selling our shit in the streets, so this shit is nothing to me. Fuck the iTunes and all that other shit! Of course [iTunes] matters, but to me it matters how can I make my shit grow. First week sales are ridiculous; first week sales don’t matter. My shit is about how can I spread my shit across the country. I couldn’t be more happy.
Why are people so obsessed with first week sales?
Because fuckin’ labels make them. They feel like they have to impress people at the label to stay relevant. Me, I don’t give a fuck, I don’t depend on my label to be relevant, I don’t depend on them to do shit for me. I do shit myself. So regardless of if they write me off, I’m gonna be out here making noise.
Finally, what’s the first thing you’re going to do once you finish up this tour?
I’m going to fall asleep with my daughter.