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After years of struggle, MGK enjoying the good life

Cleveland-based rapper Richard Colson Baker, known as Machine Gun Kelly, is touring in support of his debut album, “Lace Up.”
Cleveland-based rapper Richard Colson Baker, known as Machine Gun Kelly, is touring in support of his debut album, “Lace Up.”
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Richard Colson Baker isn’t used to this life of luxury.

Baker, who is known by his stage name Machine Gun Kelly or MGK, is getting used to having clean showers and bathrooms on his current tour.

“I’ve been touring as an independent artist for so long, I became accustomed to a different life on tour,” he says during a recent interview. “I’m stoked to be able to be part of this tour. I’m still earning my stripes in this business.”

During his short life, Baker, 22, has seen a lot. His family moved around the globe and took up residence abroad in Egypt and Germany, as well as Chicago, Los Angeles and Denver.

At 14, Baker moved to Cleveland and earned his stage name for his rapid-fire lyrical flow and is a reference to notorious criminal George “Machine Gun” Kelly.

Baker snagged the opening slot on rapper Rick Ross’ The MMG tour, which includes Meek Mill and Wale.

He’s also having a year to remember – he recently released his debut album “Lace Up” and won the MTV2 Europe Music Award for American artist that is about to go global.

The MMG Tour
Featuring Rick Ross, Meek Mill, Wale and MGK
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24
WHERE: Tingley Coliseum, 300 San Pedro NE
HOW MUCH: $37.75-$97.75 at www.ticketmaster.com or 800-745-3000

“It’s been a lot of hard work,” he says. “It took me two years to make the whole album and we didn’t get to have a big budget for the album. At one point we got evicted from one of the houses that we were staying in.”

Making the album was a dream come true for the young rapper. “Lace Up” features collaborations with Ester Dean, M Shadows from Avenged Sevenfold, Wacka Flocka Flame, Lil Jon, Cassie and DMX.

“Being in the studio with each of these artists was amazing,” he says. “We would get into the studio and work on the songs together. One of my favorite parts was working with DMX. He’s been a hero of mine for so long. I’ve worked with him before, but each time I’m working with him, I still get star struck.”

Although Baker is living the high life, he’s always willing to give back.

“I see the impact I have on people’s lives every day,” he says. “These are the fans that are spending the last of their paycheck on a concert ticket. These are the fans that gave me a chance when no one else would.”

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