Machine Gun Kelly, Lace Up
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Fresh Out The Box
Written by Jonathan Hayes
Lace Up is the debut release from Cleveland rapper MGK. This release follows a series of mixtapes with his first being released at age 16. MGK got his name from famous criminal, Machine Gun Kelly, and also his rapid style of delivery. He first gained local success and it wasn’t too long before he gained attention from Bad Boy mogul, Sean “Diddy” Combs, who signed him to a deal with Bad Boy.
The album opens with “Save Me”, a rock infused track about his city, trials and his wanting to get out. The first single “Wild Boy,” featuring Waka Flaka, starts the party and is where most of us got our introduction to MGK. The song is all about living a wild lifestyle and partying. The album’s title track “Lace Up,” featuring Lil John, is one of the albums’ best tracks as Lil John does what he does best and MGK delivers in his best style, his signature rapid flow. “Dirty ass chucks and a bad bitch, lace up,” it’s all about your swag and game. “Whole world laced up, like some brand new sneaks.” Here he refers to his many fans that got the tattoo Lace Up. “Stereo” slows the album down a bit, but is still a worthy pop driven track. He compares his body, love and relationships to stereo functions.
By now you can see how MGK effortlessly infuses a mix of not only rap and rock, but also keeps a pop sound, which is a formula I’m sure would work for many. “See My Tears” is one of the few songs which feature MGK alone. It is a track about how hard a journey can be. He addresses doubts from himself and his city and not turning his back on the place he called home. “D3mons,” which features DMX, is where things may get a little dark for some people. Most of the song references common things such as street issues, drug overdose and temptation, which is referenced as demons. “Edge of Destruction” features fellow rapid delivery rappers Tech N9ne and Twista. When you take the time to listen, you realize that they are talking about real issues in our society; the government lying to get money, his feeling on fighting for other countries when parts of our country still live in poverty and even social media and its effects on the urban cultures and the lies used to gain attention. The pop driven “Invincible” is the albums second single featuring Ester Dean. This is one of the albums best songs, it’s very reminisent of B.o.B.’s “Airplanes,” a huge pop lead hip hop track of 2010. The track is all about not failing, being invincible and strong enough to make it.
The deluxe edition includes four extra songs. The rock driven “Half Naked & Almost Famous” is yet another stand out. The third single from Lace Up, “Hold On (Shut Up),” features Young Jeezy. He talks about his grind, lifestyle and his come up. Jezzy helps to make it one of the albums best tracks. Overall, the album has a lot of guest spots and a lot of good tracks for a variety to enjoy. For those who listen to more than one genre this would be the perfect mix of rap, rock and pop. Lace Up is a very solid effort from newcomer MGK. The album doesn’t seem to lag much at all, it’s smooth listening all the way through.
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