Courtesy of Interscope

Courtesy of Interscope

September 27, 2018

TEST SPIN | Machine Gun Kelly – BINGE

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In the midst of a beef with the best-selling rapper of all time, Cleveland native Machine Gun Kelly figured now would be the opportune moment to release a nine-track EP, entitled BINGE. He should have taken some more time. The project, a jumbled mess of clunky lines and off-beat rapping, is riddled with excessive drug glorification and braggadocious verses that come off more cringey than cool. If Kelly wanted to take advantage of his momentary popularity, this was not the way to do it.

Machine Gun Kelly cites Eminem as an influence for his music, and any big fan wants his idol to recognize him. So Kelly did the most logical thing and tweeted an offensive, sexualized message about Eminem’s underage daughter six years ago. When that didn’t elicit a response from his favorite rapper, Machine Gun Kelly dropped a subliminal diss in a featured verse on a rap song this past March. Slim Shady and Kelly then traded diss tracks, the latter releasing “RAP DEVIL,” which, while catchy, does not say much of anything important. Eminem’s “KILLSHOT,” a response track released eleven days after “RAP DEVIL,” is a four-minute barrage of intricate lines attacking Kelly’s rapping ability and lack of standing in the hip-hop community. One week after that, our main man released BINGE to ride on Eminem’s coattails and popularity to drive album sales.

No one should buy this album.

BINGE opens with a 66-second intro song, composed of eight lines of auto-tuned nonsense about MGK having “seen it all from a distance.” What he has seen is entirely unclear, but perhaps he is talking about finally getting 100 million views on a music video. I’ll give it to him, that’s an accomplishment for someone who has had just five songs chart in his musical career, and only one of those was a solo track (“RAP DEVIL”).

The first real song, “LOCO,” begins with Kelly claiming he is “the most hated” and he will beat you up if you try to come at him. He spends the rest of the song discussing how many drugs he does and how much sex he has. That’s actually a common theme throughout the album, as MGK mentions his frequent sexual interactions on nearly half of the songs and his drug use on every track except for the introduction. Now, I like music about sex and drugs as much as the next college student, but an EP dedicated to your extravagant lifestyle is not the most entertaining project. No one likes a braggart.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Kelly realized he was suddenly getting attention, courtesy of Eminem, and rushed to his local studio in Cleveland to put this album together. The entire project sounds unfinished. “RAP DEVIL,” the diss track he released on September 3rd, sounds like the only polished song on the entire album — and it had to be as perfect as he could make it just to get a rise out of Eminem. Half of the instrumentals sound muffled, like they weren’t mastered right, and his lines rarely fit the musical bars.

The best analogy I can think of for this album is when your friend on Facebook posts a picture of a fish that he grilled and you comment, “That’s a great fish.” However, someone you kind of know (but don’t really like) replies with, “I could cook a better fish.” Then, a week later he invites everyone he knows over to his fish party and you go even though you’re not expecting anything good. When you get there, he hands you half of an old, raw trout. To make matters worse, stapled to the rotting hunk of meat are eight small, moldy shrimp.

Besides “RAP DEVIL,” there are only two other fleeting moments in the album that I felt had even a half-decent flow. Toward the end of “NYLON,” MGK has a couple catchy lines that are somewhat pleasing to the ear. Likewise, his entire second verse on “SIGNS” is passable, but the feature from 24hrs (of whom I have never heard) ruins it with jarring auto-tune.

Machine Gun Kelly needed to release a competent album, complete with well-written verses and solid beats, in order to demonstrate that he is worthy competition for Eminem. He failed in every way imaginable. Good thing the Cleveland Browns (finally) won a football game the night before this album was released, because I don’t think the city could have handled two painful losses on consecutive days.

 

Jeremy Markus is a freshman in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He can be reached at jem476@cornell.edu.