Machine Gun Kelly Thinks He + Yungblud Are Modern Day Elton John + Jimi Hendrix
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There's a change in rock music coming — arguably, it's already here — and it's being led by genre-breakers who embrace rock as a holistic entity, rather than one defined just by loud guitars. Machine Gun Kelly, the rapper who just went pop-punk and scored his first No. 1 record, recognizes this shift and likened himself and rising English star Yungblud as today's version of Elton John and Jimi Hendrix, two of rock's past prime movers based immediately east and west of the Atlantic Ocean.
In a cover feature for NME, Machine Gun Kelly spoke about his decision to move away from rap, the style that dominated his first four albums before releasing Tickets to My Downfall this year. Given the success of the album, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, he feels this has the potential to sway guitar-based music back into the spotlight.
Looking back to last year, though, to the Hotel Diablo album, MGK took the opportunity to sing the praises of Yungblud, whom he collaborated with on the song "I Think I'm OKAY," which also featured Blink-182's Travis Barker. "His raw voice is so good, and he has an immense love for rock 'n' roll," he said of Yungblud, noting, "Those energies gravitate towards each other."
"It feels like a dope, across-the-pond thing, like: ‘You hold it down over there and I’ll hold it down over here.’ Together we can make some sort of union of rock stars. We’re like Elton John and Jimi Hendrix back in the day," enthused Machine Gun Kelly.
Despite having dealt largely in pop, rap and hip-hop in their careers, both Machine Gun Kelly and Yungblud have irrefutably given nods to rock and other forms of heavy music. They've managed to bridge the gap between the two styles while also affording rock a higher profile amongst the younger, teenage generation who will largely dictate what direction popular music takes over the next decade.
Machine Gun Kelly understands his potential to impact a shift in guitar-based music. "Let’s just be stoked about something. This album might be the reason why bands of our generation, instead of the Foo Fighters, Green Day or one of those established artists, get to headline Coachella and shit like that," he said, "because this album is gonna make the demand for guitar music go up!"
"It’s tapped into the new generation of kids, the 13-to-18-year-olds, that those bands I just named can’t reach at this point," he further suggested.
The success of Tickets to My Downfall is far from over — MGK has already revealed he's turning the album into a musical. Get those details here.