By Jeremy Sneed
It was back in 2012 that the world saw the debut album from Cleveland’s own Machine Gun Kelly (MGK). Lace Up being the title, getting the name from one of his popular mixtapes. Since then MGK has released two mixtapes: Black Flag (2013) and Fuck It (summer 2015). MGK has really grown as a rapper since releasing his debut album. On that first album, he had numerous big name features like Tech N9ne, Twista, Lil Jon and Young Jeezy. This time around MGK used only four features: Lzzy Hale on “Spotlight”, Kid Rock on “Bad Motherfucker”, Leroy Sanchez on “Gone”, and Victoria Monet on the lead single “A Little More.” General Admission as explained by MGK himself was a journey inside of his mind and the life he lives. Lace Up was definitely more of a mainstream, radio type album with club hits like “Wild Boy” and the self-titled “Lace Up.” But, I think I like General Admission better than Lace Up which is like having to choose between your two children.
I really enjoyed the serious tone and mood that MGK depicted throughout his sophomore album, with exceptions to “Bad Motherfucker” and “All Night Long” which were more positive tracks on the albums. While some reviews stated that the depressing mood got redundant and sort of annoying, I thought it was refreshing to see from MGK because a lot of bandwagon fans fail to realize that MGK has been writing serious songs about his life his whole career. Something else I would like to point out is that each song has its own story and meaning. I love that because it shows that MGK is an artist and not just rapper. It shows that he can write excellent stories and turn them into songs.
For example, “Story of the Stairs” was a about him figuring out if he wanted closure with his mom who left him when he was just a little kid. The song opens with his ‘aunt’ (apparently she isn’t actually his aunt, he just calls her that) who he lived with for a while growing up. She explains that his mom sent him a package of new clothes and toys and he refused to look at it. In personally my favorite song on the album, “Gone”, MGK talks about who scared he is of losing his daughter to the rap game like Eminem was in “Lose Yourself.” He also mentions how rocky his relationship has been throughout his life with his preacher dad. On the opening track, “Spotlight”, MGK talks about his struggles with dealing with fame. Yes, I understand that that is a redundant topic in rap but here are some strong lyrics from this song: “I think that fame’s a pre-cursor to death: Death of a friendship. Death of a family. Death of a man.” This is coming from a man who hasn’t figure out how to handle fame and has definitely struggled to cope with his new found fame. Lastly, there’s a song from this album called “Merry Go Round” that really showcases his writing skills. In “Merry Go Round” MGK tells a story about a heroine couple and all of the problems that come with it. He then explains about ‘Bobby’ going away to the military and his girlfriend (unnamed) hooking up with drug dealers and getting pregnant. The song conclude with Bobby coming home seeing his pregnant girlfriend dead so he kills himself and MGK kind of takes a shot at the military as if saying that if it wasn’t for Bobby leaving, they wouldn’t have all died. Depressing yes, but great as well.
To conclude, General Admission shows MGK’s range as an artist and his ability to write meaningful and purposeful songs. Despite the differences in his two albums, MGK is on his way to great things if he can combine his talents from Lace Up and General Admission. As a fan who has been following him since the early 2010s, I am excited for what MGK has in store for the years to come.