Richard Colson Baker (born April 22, 1990), better known by his stage names Machine Gun Kelly and MGK, is an American rapper from Cleveland, Ohio, signed to Bad Boy and Interscope Records. His stage name was given for his rapid-fire lyrical flow and is a reference to notorious criminal George "Machine Gun Kelly" Barnes. He rose to fame after releasing his first four mixtapes, Stamp Of Approval (2006), Homecoming (2008), 100 Words and Running (2010), and Lace Up (2010). He also has been featured in XXL. In mid 2011 MGK signed a deal with Young and Reckless Clothing. On December 14, 2011, Machine Gun Kelly was named the Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2011 by MTV. On March 18, 2012, Machine Gun Kelly won the MTVu Breaking Woodie award.
Baker was born on April 22, 1990 in Houston, Texas to missionary parents. Baker and his family moved all around the globe and took up residence abroad in Egypt and Germany, as well as throughout the United States in Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver, and Cleveland. Since he lived the first four years of his life in Egypt, he spoke Arabic before English. He started listening to rap in the sixth and seventh grade when he went to Hamilton Middle School, a school with an ethnically diverse student body in Denver, Colorado. At the age of fourteen, Baker moved to Cleveland, where he attended Shaker Heights High School.
On the verge of getting evicted, Baker went to Harlem's Apollo Theater in March 2009 where he had consecutive victories, making him the first ever white rapper to win at the Apollo Theater. He records music in his home studio which he refers to as the "Rage Cage". Baker first started to gain exposure when he was featured on MTV2's Sucker Free Freestyle, where he freestyled numerous verses from his "Chip Off The Block" single. In February 2010, he released his debut mixtape 100 Words and Running. In May 2010, he made his national debut with the single and video for "Alice In Wonderland" from the Midwest Block Starz compilation released by Block Starz Music. He released his second mixtape in November 2010 titled Lace Up which featured the hometown anthem "Cleveland" which is played at Cleveland Cavaliers home games and is on rotation on Z107.9 in Cleveland.Lace Up was recorded in three months in 2010 during a creative burst.