So let’s talk about selling out, because while I’ve opened up reviews with this topic before, I think a refresher is in order. To make this abundantly clear, going ‘pop’ or changing your genre and style isn’t in and of itself ‘selling out’ – just because an act goes for what be deemed is a more accessible sound isn’t inherently bad if the core of what makes a specific act unique and special remains, instead of just nakedly following commercial trends less because you’re going to do anything interesting with them and more because it’s guaranteed to produce a hit of dubious quality. And even then, it’s not inherently a bad thing for an artist to want to cash in and make money, and some acts only discover their pop appeal when they try this. My point is that ‘selling out’ is often a misused term, it’s not always a bad thing.
With Machine Gun Kelly, it was a bad thing. Look, I’ll admit right now I was never a huge fan of this Cleveland MC: I always tended to slot him in the Tech N9ne mold of cranking out impressive flows and delivery but saddled with production that was too thin or flimsy to back up its pretensions to bombast, and could also slide towards corniness or some utterly wack bars. But even then, I was a sucker for a good flow, and while his full-length debut album Lace Up was pretty far from great – it’s was overlong, his reliance on crass party bangers that he didn’t have the personality or wordplay to back up – there were definitely moments of flow and energy I could appreciate. Most of this went out the window for his second album General Admission, which aimed to play darker and more personal but also did so by compromising the delivery and much of the intensity that made his early work at least likeable. There are a few choice tracks and stories being told, but when you factored in the production, he wasn’t doing anything any number of more aggressive, insightful, and honest MCs didn’t do already, and that’s before you get to the Kid Rock collaboration!
Then ‘Bad Things’ happened – which is apt in referring to both the godawful duet with Camila Cabello and the likely trajectory of Machine Gun Kelly’s career. Because thanks to 2016 giving a pass to entirely too many boring white rappers in the mainstream, MGK got his breakthrough with his most pop-accessible flows and least interesting content to date. In other words, I was expecting Bloom to suck, and I’m only covering it because at least it looks shorter than his last two albums and because I need it off my schedule on Patreon so I can cover Perfume Genius. So on that promising note, what did I find off of Bloom? Watch to find out.