Machine Gun Kelly went from a troubled youth trying to find his way in the streets of Cleveland to one of rap's top prospects in a year's time. Now, not only has the rapid-fire lyricist gone on to sign with Diddy's Bad Boy Records, he's already cutting records with Waka Flocka Flame and his idol, DMX. MGK has created so much of a stir in the rap game that he is now a nominee for MTV News' 2011 Hottest Breakthrough MC.
"To be considered for the hottest breakthrough MC of 2011, it's obviously an honor, but I want to be the hottest. I've never been comfortable with sharing anything: I was a single child," Machine Gun Kelly said on Wednesday's "RapFix Live."
Kells began battle-rapping around 2004 while he was still in high school, and graduated to the studio in 2006 when he dropped his very first mixtape, Stamp of Approval. All the while, he struggled through school, but eventually graduated. Kells went on to work a few odd jobs and become a dad. In 2010, he dropped another tape, 100 Words and Runnin' — but it was with his second tape that year, Lace Up, that folks really began to take notice.
Songs like his hometown ode "Cleveland" and the heartfelt "End of the Road" went on to establish MGK as not only a relatable MC, but a fully capable spitter as well. Kells went on to tour and perform across the country, then in August, he announced on "RapFix Live" he had signed a deal with Diddy's Bad Boy Records.
Now MGK is putting the finishing touches on his debut, set to drop in 2012. One of the album's guests will be Kells' all-time favorite rapper, DMX. For MGK, recording with the dog was surreal. "I felt like he was going to think I was weird because I kept staring at him the whole time, 'cause I'm like, 'Dude, this is my idol,' " MGK said.
Hottest Breakthrough MCs was established by MTV News in 2010 as a fan-driven initiative that spotlights, celebrates and cultivates new talent. MTV News chose a pool of young rappers and urged fans to vote for their favorite. When it was all said and done, Wiz Khalifa emerged as the Hottest Breakthrough of last year. The competition was tough, but the Taylor Gang General beat out runner-up Nicki Minaj, ATL group Travis Porter, Diggy Simmons and J. Cole. This year, you can vote for Machine Gun Kelly (or your favorite up-and-comer) over at RapFix.MTV.com, and be sure to check back for daily updates and poll results.
Each day, we'll spotlight a new Hottest Breakthrough MC before we conclude December 13 when the polls close at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2011 Hottest Breakthrough MC will be revealed during December 14's "RapFix Live," during which the winner will appear as our in-studio guest. There will also be a special announcement about MTV News' upcoming Hottest MCs in the Game list and debate.
To be considered a Hottest Breakthrough MC, an artist cannot have released a major-label full-length album. Finalists from 2010's Hottest Breakthrough MCs poll will not be eligible for 2011 consideration, so unfortunately, Diggy Simmons and Travis Porter won't be part of this conversation.
Who do you think should be 2011 Hottest Breakthrough MC? Share your picks in the comments!
Stick with MTV News as we profile the 2011 Hottest Breakthrough MCs before announcing the winner December 13 on "RapFix Live" — vote now!