This post ended up published via Elite Daily. Check it out: http://elitedaily.com/music/world-use-little-machine-gun-kelly/1023409/
In his latest single “A Little More,” Machine Gun Kelly (MGK) clearly focuses energy and attention outside of himself. He is encouraging social consciousness of North American Millennials, his target audience. “As a part of the generation they claim can’t be saved,” MGK brings issues such as environmentalism, gossip, corruption, poverty, war, bullying, racial politics, and suicide into our consciousness with his words. By bringing all of these issues to the airwaves, he is combatting them. He calls people to express love in an increasingly ugly, divisive, and violent world.
In the first verse Machine Gun Kelly raps, “Then I wake up to see the world’s ill/ Oceans tainted from the oil spills.” According to the Pew Research Center, 32% of Millennials would apply the world “environmentalist” to themselves. We don’t have to be environmentalists to know an oil spill is devastating to the earth. We don’t have to travel to a beach to clean oil off of seagulls to make positive a difference on the environment. We can respect the earth in simple ways like planting trees. MGK does it by using his voice as a platform to draw attention to issues affecting the earth.
Machine Gun Kelly continues the verse, “How many kids have these wars killed?” According to UNICEF, 2 million children were killed as a result of warfare in one decade alone (mid-‘80s to mid-‘90s). Another 4-5 million were rendered disabled and 12 million were left homeless. Those are heartbreaking statistics. I was completely unaware of the magnitude of the negative life-changing impact warfare has had on so many children of the world, until Machine Gun Kelly’s lyrics prompted me to look it up. I’ve gained a new awareness thanks to “A Little More.”
MGK next asks, “How many families can’t afford bills?” Well, Millennials are relatively poorer than other generations. The Pew Research Center reported we are the first generation “in the modern era to have higher levels of student loan debt, poverty and unemployment, and lower levels of wealth and personal income than their two immediate predecessor generations (Gen Xers and Boomers) had at the same stage of their life cycles.” Shout out to Gen Xers and Baby Boomers for leaving this mess behind for us! Even if we aren’t personally struggling, poverty affects everyone. One example: more people dependent on the government = higher taxes.
Machine Gun Kelly goes on, “I wish that I could let the world know/ That it’s okay to let the pain show.” MGK tells people it’s okay to not only feel pain but to express it as well. Millennials are the most depressed and the most anxious generation right now, according to USA Today. The media outlet also found our “most common coping mechanism is listening to music, cited by 59% of young adults.” MGK equips his fan base with several songs to help them cope with their pain, regret, addiction, et al—“Swing Life Away,” “Dark Side of the Moon,” “See My Tears,” and “Halo” for example.
MGK finishes the first verse of “A Little More” on an uplifting note: “And even though times seem bad/ It always rains before the rainbow.” The situations we face in life always get better or easier to cope with.
In his second verse, MGK raps, “I can see we’re in our darkest hour/ ‘Cause it feels like the government just as crooked as the police.” Machine Gun Kelly calls it like he sees it. Millennials are developing during a tense time in history. Watch the news for a couple hours. It won’t be long until something like the unrest in Ferguson is discussed. Baltimore was recently literally burning.
Also in the second verse, Machine Gun Kelly says, “I spent the weekend catching up on the news/ A girl committed suicide after she was bullied at school/ ‘Cause some dudes told her she wasn’t cool/ But you would rather gossip about a famous person breaking the rules.” MGK shines light on indisputable problems. In recent years, bullying and particularly cyber-bullying have had a lot of coverage; in 2011, the White House held its first conference on bullying prevention. By bringing up these issues, MGK is discouraging people from bullying and he is possibly preventing suicides that could have resulted from that cruelty. In Machine Gun Kelly’s recent feature on MOD SUN’s album Look Up, the duo calls us to counter negativity and those emanating it with peace, to “shoot ’em down with a peace sign.” Kids look up to us Millennials. If we treat each other kindly both in person and online, hopefully kids will think that’s what’s “cool.” Less cruelty, a little more love… These four lines shed light upon the ugliness of gossip in general as well as our culture’s obsession with celebrities. MGK encourages us to reconsider what we deem newsworthy—or gossip-worthy, rather. Why do people care so much about Justin Bieber peeing in a mop bucket? There are much more important things to concern ourselves with, like the facts that “Among 15- to 24-year olds, suicide accounts for 20% of all deaths annually” and “The prevalence of suicidal thoughts, suicide planning, and suicide attempts is significantly higher among young adults aged 18-29 years than among adults aged ≥30 years.” That’s sad.
MGK aims to motivate his audience to be exactly who and what we dream to be: “You can give up like they tell you/ Stop like they tell you/ Be scared to dream for the top like they tell you/ But I’m trying to tell you, fuck what they tell you.” He chooses to pursue hip hop music. Closing out the second verse of “A Little More,” MGK raps, “They told me fight night I’m supposed to lose/ Just ‘cause in hindsight they don’t like my type/ White boy with some rhythm and blues.” A white rapper? If he’s not Eminem, he’s wack. Why is it that people are typecast based on race? Why is it that a rapper who brings more to music than a good beat—e.g. social consciousness—has been passed over in the hip hop industry? His skin color? That’d be too bad. As he demonstrates throughout “A Little More,” Machine Gun Kelly has positive messages for all of us, if only we’d listen…
So does Machine Gun Kelly offer any solutions to the numerous aforementioned topics? He calls us to love: “We all need a little more love/ We all need a little more love/ We just need a little more love/ The world needs a little more love.” While tabloids gossip about Machine Gun Kelly possibly dating Amber Rose, he’s giving people much more important things to think and to talk about in “A Little More”—bullying, suicide, poverty, corruption, and war among them. This is exactly why the world could use ‘a little more’ Machine Gun Kelly.