Machine Gun Kelly – Binge (EP)

Sup motha fuckas. Today we will be getting into the newest release of Cleveland, OH rapper Machine Gun Kelly, his newest EP BINGE. First up will be a scouting report, where I talk about his strengths and weaknesses as a rapper, best works and other notable things about him and his music. Then I will get into the track-by-track breakdown where I’ll make some notes about each song and give each one a rating out of 5. Finally, I will break it down with some final thoughts about the album itself and give it a final score out of 100 (see here for more detail on how I score tracks/albums). Without further ado, let’s turn the fuck up.

Scouting Report

  • Has been in the headlines in the lead up to this EP for his highly publicized feud with Eminem, a rapper he has consistently been compared to since the beginning of his career. Many agree (me included) that his diss trackRap Devil” (which appears on the EP) was better than Eminem’s subsequent response “Killshot
  • He’s been consistent and put out both quality and commercially successful music since his career began in 2010 with the release of Lace Up (mixtape, not to be confused with his debut album also called Lace Up!) despite surprisingly not getting lots of mainstream hip-hop media coverage
  • As a musical artist, he is remarkably versatile; he has showcased a variety of different flows throughout his career as a rapper, and has rapped and sang over many different styles of music from trap to boom-bap to straight up rock and roll
  • He has had relative success on the charts, but his bread and butter is pouring his heart and soul out on his records; he is adored by a very loyal fan base for being relatable for being vulnerable regarding his lyrical content
  • Can perform the chopper flow, tell stories and also is not afraid to use melody; is a good songwriter and a good-to-great lyricist when he is on top form
  • Best songs prior to this release: “Lead You On“, “Wild Boy (feat. Waka Flocka)“, “See My Tears“, “Till I Die“, “Kiss the Sky (Acoustic)
  • Best project prior to this release: Lace Up (Deluxe Version)

Track-by-Track

1. LONG TIME COMING

  • No drums on the beat, just synths, bass and backing vocals, good sounds though, works well for an introductory track
  • No rapping, just distorted vocals and harmonizing (description doesn’t do it justice), actually pretty good and sets the stage for a potentially very good EP
  • OVERALL 4/5

2. LOCO

  • Beat has a dark and manic feel to it, bass is heavy and is upbeat; turn up record
  • Tone and vocal effects aplenty here and strong vocal delivery throughout regardless of the different flows used, not a big fan of the bridge and the hook is repetitive and cliche
  • Lyrics promote drug use and rap superstar lifestyle, very pedestrian lyrical performance in terms of MGK’s standards even for a turn-up record
  • OVERALL: 3.5/5

3. GTS

  • Continues the theme with the dark feel and heavy bass, not as upbeat of a record overall even though it livens up in leading up and into the chorus, nice organ at the end
  • The lyrical content is much less of a positive view of his lifestyle than the previous song; talks vaguely about his struggles with his drug use and how it effects him (GTS = goin thru shit)
  • Hook is decent, well delivered. Delivery ramps up in the second verse in terms of tone and flow switches up to a melodic faster flow halfway thru
  • OVERALL: 3.5/5

4. RAP DEVIL

  • Released following Eminem’s shot at him on “Not Alike” off his Kamikaze album; about three weeks prior to the EP
  • Beat is sample based and has heavy bass; not as manic and dark as the previous two songs. Notably uses a beat from the same producer that Eminem enlisted for “Not Alike”
  • Raps four mean and excellently crafted verses (many quotables, check out Genius) that both fire shots and also acknowledge Eminem’s greatness/MGK’s admiration for him, which he also flips to echo the sentiments of millions of other hip-hop fans feeling that he has been a shadow of himself over the last few years
  • Has a hook that is very confrontational and spoken word, does break down and give us a melodic bridge but this song is refreshingly mostly bar work
  • Easily the best song on the EP
  • OVERALL: 4.5/5

5. NYLON

  • Beat stays with the heavy bass but is not as dark as a guitar loop circulates throughout the instrumental, nothing special
  • No hooks, just one verse for a shorter, interlude-ish track, however, he switches his flow up a few times as well as takes the same melody from the bridge he used on “RAP DEVIL” as the track fades out, subject content is pretty much rap cliche
  • OVERALL: 3/5

6. LATELY

  • Beat again has heavy bass, trap drums but adds some vocal effects and also gives a softer piano loop, fits the song content
  • Hook is well-crafted, talks about his recent struggles with his mental state, uses autotune but doesn’t overdo it, good touch with a good melody
  • The lyrical content is very personal, more of MGK’s bread and butter in that regard, doesn’t try to do too much with the flow, let’s his thoughts out unfiltered
  • The bridge gives the song another dimension, but the beat and lyrics were already good as is; don’t know if it was needed
  • OVERALL: 4/5

7. SIGNS (feat. 24hrs)

  • Beat is different from the rest of the EP, heavy bass and trap drums but Hit-Boy gives us a refreshing new sounds
  • MGK and 24hrs trade off bars and melodies throughout, both in the chorus and in the verses, MGK uses a spoken word approach and 24hrs with a melodic, heavily autotuned approach; melody is repetitive and MGK’s delivery is stronger
  • Lyrical content is very much cliche rap topics, nothing special
  • OVERALL: 3/5

8. GET THE BROOM

  • Beat returns to the manic and distorted sounds that it had in “LOCO” with the addition of a low octave piano as well
  • Delivery on the hook is softer, spoken word but alas cliche. Changes and gets more aggressive as the verses close out
  • Talks about stressful things that have happened as a famous person (dating rumors, drugs) and also before he was famous (racist police, growing up underprivileged)
  • OVERALL: 3/5

9. LIVEFASTDIEYOUNG

  • Manic instrumental, has all sorts of distortion, vocal effects and is very upbeat for most of the song before it transitions into the same instrumental that was used in the intro track
  • Delivery for the first part of the song is very aggressive spoken word, transitions to the same melodic pattern and delivery used in the intro track
  • Subject content reiterates how he uses lots of illicit substances and does not care to stop using them or living the lifestyle that he currently does in the verses and the chorus
  • Outro is essentially the same as the intro track with just a bit of a faster flow and a few lyric changes but closes out the project the same way it began
  • OVERALL: 3/5

Final Thoughts

  • MGK again shows his versatility/lack of fear or taking risks; uses lots of different vocal effects in an attempt to diversify his artistic portfolio yet again
  • “RAP DEVIL” was a gift and a curse, after releasing it early to worthy praise and also lining it up in order to create a firestorm of promotion, it doesn’t fit sonically with the rest of the EP and got everyone’s hopes up despite the rest of the EP’s tracks not being on the same level
  • Doesn’t stick to his tried and true formula on being a totally open book to his fans minus “LATELY”, mostly goes for turn up records
  • Mixed messages on the whole doing lots of drugs thing, explains that they are bad and messing up his life but also has no remorse/desire to quit; on a personal note I hope he can figure it out and get himself right in that regard; we don’t need another death in the hip-hop community over substance abuse

FINAL SCORE

65/100

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