I’d like to be remembered as having walked my own path and created something new, rather than following in someone’s footsteps.The discography of Machine Gun Kelly is as colorful and as diverse as it can be for any hip-hop artist. The rapper doesn’t hesitate to talk about absolutely anything occupying his mind – past traumas, love-related struggles, existential problems, guilty pleasures, drugs, and alcohol-infused parties – he feels it, he says it. And he says it in a way which gives modern rap a sense of class and a feel of progress. Regardless of your opinion about the artist, I think it’s undeniable he has contributed to the development of the hip-hop genre in one way or another. Starting with his introduction to full live bands during concerts to his innovative mixing combining heavy electrifying rock instrumentals to old-school hip-hop beats – genres are nothing but a blur in MGK‘s world. His personal story is definitely a bitter one filled with drawbacks which he had to overcome on the way and it is understandable where his cockiness comes from. Hotel Diablo explores the mind of The Gunner in a way which will make you shiver and contains confessions which might come as a shock to some of us. One thing is certain – the album is a great addition to the artist’s repertoire and is another example of the progress and development of hip-hop. Hotel Diablo starts with an alluring intro which slowly sets the mood and introduces the thematic of the album. A chaotic but well-orchestrated mess of thoughts and overthinking is notable during the 2-minute introduction which is topped with a “welcome to Hotel Diablo” snippet by Cara Delevingne‘s beautiful voice. The “Come and find yourself” extracts also indicated that MGK will be entering Hotel Diablo in an attempt to find a peace of mind which becomes evident in songs like Glass House, Death In My Pocket, Wasted Love, and I Think I Am Okay. During the course of the album, songs rotate to show the though and badass side of The Gunner, as well as the vulnerable, hurt and struggling side which every human being has. El Diablo, Floor 13, and Roulette fall into the first category with bold, provocative, and confident statements which clearly manifest the intentions of the rapper to keeping going despite any negativity coming his way. The songs serve as a declaration of determination and reach their pique with Floor 13 where MGK gets pissed off and holds his ground in a way only he is able to pull off. Aggressive diss verses and smart references confidently claim the respect he deserves. A look back at his past and struggles is included to solidify his statement and make the songs filled with even more passion and determination.
Constantly get déjà vu I see me when I look at you I never die, I multiply So don’t cry at my funeralHis killer flow and attractive modern beats make it clear the rapper is never going to die – instead he will multiply thanks to the generations he has inspired.
A beautiful tribute to Chester Bennington and Linkin Park is included in this sincere and raw masterpieceThe vulnerable, troubled side of the Cleveland legend is also visible in its raw emotional form during the course of the album. It seems there are several big issues tormenting the rapper and they are all explored in depth with several songs each one showing a different side of the dark thoughts occupying MGK‘s mind. In Hollywood Whore, for example, The Gunner illustrates the disgusting and unfair side of the music business quite well. The song reminds of Macklemore’s Jimmy Iovine and removes any filters speaking in brutal honesty about the way artists are often manipulated. Kelly talks about his anger and contained emotions and gives countless examples of how the industry has affected him negatively including the delay of this exact album. The song is just the introduction to the topic of the psychological struggle the artist has been going through recently. The fourth track of the album elaborates on the thoughts haunting the rapper but it takes a different direction and instead of focusing on anger it shows his grieving and pain in an incredibly impactful way. In Glass House, a beautiful collaboration with Naomi Wild, Machine Gun Kelly mourns the loss of many talented artists who have made a difference in the music world but are gone too soon. While expressing his pain and paying respect to the likes of Lil Peep, Chester Bennington, Mac Miller, Nipsey Hussle, and others the artist also elaborates on the mental health and drug abuse problems which are common in the industry. He tries to raise awareness on the issues and also openly admits his suicidal thoughts which seem to be haunting him recently.
I put my daughter to bed, then attempted to kill myself in the kitchen Yeah, I should’ve screamed, but nobody listened So I passed out with the blood drippin’Hard-hitting lyrics in the form of confession are not something new for the rapper and the way he manages to deliver an unexpected verse at the right moment is admirable. Burning Memories is another powerful collab (with Lil Skies) and another way for Kelly to ventilate from self-destructing thoughts. He tries to find strength and a way to keep going after all the misfortunes he has had to face. The song is a modern revival of old-school hip-hop storytelling elaborating on one of the biggest struggles in MGK‘s life and how he came to terms with reality while navigating in his complicated life by himself. Another song on the album – Death In My Pocket has a similar way of delivering hip-hop and deals with another part of Kelly‘s torturous thoughts – his relationship with his aunt and the pain he had to overcome when she passed away, as well as the regret about his past choices and mistakes. Wasted Love and 5:3666 keep elaborating on the mess in The Gunner‘s head – one dealing with romantic relationships and reflecting on regretful choice and the other taking a look at a collection of topics including life choice, family, and love. Hotel Diablo also includes playful and witty interludes fitting the thematics of the album as well as a song which seems to be a direct sequel to Binge. Candy picks up things where Binge left off and reflects on the artist’s lifestyle and fear about the future which will be determined by his sometimes self-destructing actions. To make the album complete MGK has decided to put one of his best collabs yet as the final track. I Think I’m Okay features the punk-rock hurricane Yungblud and one of the best drummers in the world – Travis Barker. Explosive and super powerful the song takes another perspective on internal struggles and manifests everyday battles in a stylish way. The last time I wrote about Machine Gun Kelly I had some conflicting thoughts. Thank God I have friends who remind me to keep my mind open and respect people’s choices. With Hotel Diablo the artist once again proved that he is capable of making all kinds of music and blurring the lines of genres is his specialty. Old-school hip-hop is revived and mixed up with rock and punk influences to showcase the darkest parts of The Gunner’s mind and make a statement for his future. Looking forward to hearing what he has prepared next.