My “Controversial” Interview With Machine Gun Kelly

Never was particularly interested in MGK but his honesty and realness as a person made me a fan. Unfortunately this interview did not make MGK fans too fond of me.

10 thoughts on “My “Controversial” Interview With Machine Gun Kelly”

  1. I’m not a fan of MGK in any shape or form and hate his music but Rosenberg you’re a herb! Typical rich white guy that’s into Hip-Hop hating on the other white guy that’s into Hip-Hop out of insecurity. Laughable!

  2. While I appreciate you playing “big brother” to MGK, you come off really condescending and unprepared. No, I don’t care for his music either, but I don’t think that it’s your job to make him feel like crap about his inexperience or lack of hip hop knowledge. It’s just like what you did to Schoolboy Q the other day. I’d be pissed if I was him. He came on your show with Kendrick Lamar and while your main goal was to interview Kendrick, you drilled Schoolboy on the content of a song that everyone knows is a reality that A. isn’t necessarily something to be celebrated, but B. happens because we aren’t perfect and sometimes we all have lapses in judgement. We understand that you are passionate about the dangers of drinking and driving and we are definitely sympathetic to your loss, Rosenberg, but don’t take it out on that guy. Like he said–he raps about gangbanging too and black men get killed everyday because of that. But you didn’t seem to be too interested in addressing that topic (during “black history month” as you pointed out). He apologized, but he shouldn’t have had to because all he did was write a song about his own personal complications. He just released a pretty spectacular album and you hardly mentioned that at all (once again–unprepared). Kendrick, on the other hand is STILL working on his album, so it didnt’ make sense that you’d rather talk to him about rap life rather than focus on his boy’s more recent project. You’re a great conversationalist/interviewer otherwise, but these last two incidents just makes you come off as an elitist douche. Thanks

  3. wow Safa —

    what you said was wrong on EVERY SINGLE LEVEL…

    first off i really was not a dick to MGK..I Know he didn’t feel that I was..I was honest and respectful to MGK..I just was never interested in him before..thats my choice as a DJ…i know he has a fanbase but he’s brand new…i did him the HONOR of putting him on hot 97

    second of all — I am SO SICK of asshole naysayers hating on my feelings on drinking and driving…Schoolboy has a song absolutely promoting drinking and driving and i challenged him on it in a completely professional way..i warned his management, was friendly, thankful, and honest…

    cats like you claim to be supporters but to hate on me on something so personal and honest–and fair–is needless and just trying to get attention..well u got my fuck off..thanks

  4. No one is hating on your feelings or trying to get attention, dude. My deep condolences go out to you and your family, but how on earth am I benefiting from this conversation. I don’t need attention. I’m just commenting on your comment board. If you don’t like it, then maybe you should disable it. My point is that Schoolboy doesn’t owe anyone an apology and you really cornered him into doing that by giving him the “HONOR” (natch), to be on your show. You had your own agenda and it clearly had nothing to do with promoting the artist. That shit was blatant slander. It wasn’t a “challenge”; you basically condemned his music to his face. Not to mention that the song in question has more to do with degrading women than it does with drinking and driving, but like I said before, you didn’t seem interested in addressing those other topics either. Hmm…I wonder what Kay Foxx thinks about that? Don’t be a dick, dude. Thanks.

  5. In fairness, at this point, I think that you should take the parentheses off of the term “controversial.” No doubt this was a controversial interview, maybe even Controversial. What is interesting to me is why it was so controversial. It can’t be the “end result” that is causing the stir. I believe—and it seems that most others (even the super angry ones) believe—that this was one of the best interviews that MGK has ever done. The subject matter was interesting, it was substantive as hell, and it provided an opportunity for MGK to demonstrate his passionate and often compelling views on a variety of tricky-ass subjects. It also provided him an opportunity to explain himself on issues where he may not have been so compelling in the past. So, thank you for conducting an interview that sparked a genuine dialogue on interesting issues, and thank you also for not presenting the usual tripe.

    That said, there is no question that the interview touched a raw nerve in me, and obviously in many others. And so I am trying to figure out, objectively, why that was. I guess my goal is to try to explain why so many were so bothered, but in a semi-literate way that doesn’t involve name-calling. Grab a beer or a cup of coffee, this is long.
    But first let me start with a caveat. Unlike the previous posters, I am a Machine Gun Kelly fan. A big fan, and an even bigger supporter. I say even bigger “supporter” because I don’t think, in this case, that you necessarily need to be a lover of all MGK music/antics (i.e. a “fan”) in order to wish him success (i.e. a “supporter”). It is an interesting phenomenon, and I think it has something to do with how he built his fan base. But regardless, my caveat was intended to acknowledge that I am admittedly biased.
    I have been following MGK since roughly mid-2009, when “following” him meant being one of a couple thousand Facebook “fans” who would watch his stuff on YouTube and try to get others to watch. I remember him arranging “meet-ups” to pass out mixtapes at local high schools, with results varying from 5 to maybe 30 actual attendees. I saw him “open” for other relative unknowns, and perform at serious dumps. I also remember his first sold out headlining show at a popular but small (500? capacity) Cleveland venue. He talked that night about the fact that a year earlier he’d been wrapping burritos at the Chipotle next door, hoping that one day he might get to perform at that particular club. As I recall, he blew his rent and got evicted in order to attend a local hip hop conference in the hope of forwarding that dream (the true facts may vary, recollection is a little vague). But what I remember most clearly was his genuine surprise and unmitigated happiness when the fans in the audience at that show knew the words to his songs.

    Throughout all of this, what has always come through is the sense that making music is quite literally the only thing that this guy wants (and maybe knows how) to do. He doesn’t have a backup, there is no plan B. He wants to become well known, but it seems not so much for the sake of it, but because it will allow him to make more music for more people. My guess (obviously rank speculation, but founded in knowledge of his music, etc.), is that this creates tremendous pressure, some of which I think that you saw manifest itself the other day. For those of us who are fans and supporters, it also creates a tremendous sense of loyalty. With some (and I don’t count myself in this group), it borders on fanatical loyalty. Even among the some newer fans you see this, I think in part because you can find a lot of his story in his music (“The Return” is particularly evocative but there are others). He also had the foresight to document significant pieces of his story in YouTube videos, many (though certainly not all) do a very good job of portraying the individual who you met in the studio the other day (as opposed to the “raging arrestee” seen more often in the media). Further, through Twitter, You Tube, etc., he has often proven himself to be genuinely humble and deeply grateful to every fan, which only intensifies the loyalty. So my point (and yes, I do have one) is, that you started off with what I believe to be a particularly “rabid” fan base, most of whom believe that they actually “know” the artist personally. Maybe this isn’t all that unusual, but the hundreds (thousands?) of them running around with “Lace Up” tattoos suggests otherwise.

    So, perhaps this was just overreaction from overzealous fans? Maybe, to some extent, but I think there was more to it than that. I think a more interesting piece of it has to do with what I’ll call the “white rapper” phenomenon. You mentioned it yourself, at least obliquely, in the interview. Specifically, for reasons that I don’t really understand, there seems to be a generalized inability for fans of one white rapper also to be fans of another white rapper. It is not a universal by any means, but for most there seems to be an irresistible impulse to pick a favorite and declare the “wackiness” (blah blah blah) of all others. It is as if these kids think that their iPods will spontaneously combust if the songs of MGK, Yelawolf, and Mac Miller are all allowed to coexist on one device. I see debates about the G.O.A.T. in the black hip hop world all the time, but rarely, if ever, this generalized need to incessantly compare one to another. So it is likely that MGK fans would have reacted poorly (and irrationally) regardless of whether you’d chosen to liken him to Mac, Asher, Webby, Sam Adams, or [fill-in-the-blank-white rapper].
    But then you really went and did it. You brought up an alleged similarity to Yelawolf, in my view the most despised of the despised white rapper comparisons. Further, although you didn’t say this out loud, the subtext that was hanging heavily in the air was that the similarity you heard was intentional—e.g. that MGK was biting Yela’s style. Yes I know you didn’t say that, but it was what I heard, and it appears (from the comments) that it was what a lot of others heard. The further inference was that MGK was a poor-man’s second, since you are an “OG Yela supporter,” and yet were merely “skeptical” of MGK. This statement was a far cry from simply asking MGK how he feels about the constant comparisons. And, while perhaps more journalistically effective, it struck me, and I am guessing others, as just flat out rude. Honest, perhaps, but also unabashedly disrespectful . Particularly since the comparison was to a guy that many MGK fan/supporters (and here I am among the fanatics) who consider Yelawolf to be a punk-ass cracker who, without provocation, chose to issue a cage-match invitation to someone 11-years his junior. And before you say that it wasn’t unprovoked–yes, it was. I have listened to the interview that Yelawolf allegedly was responding to, and the only thing MGK ever said about him was that (1) he doesn’t sound like Yela (he doesn’t); and (2) yes (an *honest* answer) he does think that Yela takes shots at him (which he does – “If ya wanna compare me, compare me to a legend, don’t compare me to a young fool.” Is that a reference to a mythical “young fool” who Yela believes he is frequently compared to? Unlikely). But I digress. The point is that the Yela reference was controversial as hell, and made much more so by your delivery. Intentional or otherwise, it was inflammatory.

    Then there was the oft-cited lack of research. Now, I know, it is not your job to spend 25 hours learning every minute detail of an artist’s life before they show up. I think many of the fan-haters were unreasonable in their expectations on this point. That said, the admitted (and palpable) total lack of effort to do any research read as contempt. Not merely “it’s not my job,” but rather “it’s not worth my time.” Since I think (based on your comments) that you’ve since come to at least like the person (if not the music), you can see how this would engender some anger. Put another way, now that you have seem to like the person (I think), I don’t believe that you would put in zero effort if you were to interview him again. You might still be tough as hell, and ask hard questions, but I suspect that those hard questions would be based on hard evidence rather than an admitted (and proudly professed!) ignorance. IMHO I’d rather hear you say “song X sucks, why?” than “I’m not really familiar with anything you’ve ever done.” At least the former question suggests that it was worth your time to look into the issue.

    And then finally there was your co-host (? Kay Fox (sp?).) The insolent body language, visible sneers, and “pity party” comment were for me the kickers. Did she listen to the same conversation that we all heard before she issued the “pity party” statement? This is how you react to an otherwise eye-opening discussion where somebody reveals some interesting things about his psyche and where he is at? Wow. Some people elevate a conversation, this was the diametric opposite. She took what could have been a solid close and instead reignited the anger with an uncalled for shot at somebody who had just done you the HONOR of getting “real” for your radio audience.

    So there’s my armchair analysis. I expect you to disagree on many aspects. That’s okay, maybe I am wrong on some things. But I know that the first time I watched this I was enraged, and I’ve tried figure it out the best I can. I hope that you think about this, and at least somewhat come to understand why people might have become angry, at times even at times irrationally and inarticulately angry.

    Still, I liked the interview, and I look forward to seeing another one someday. I even look forward to difficult questions and confrontations. I only hope that the next interview will telegraph more interest and respect. I think it will though.

    Peace out –

  6. this was a really fucking good interview! seriously one of the best. there was honesty from both sides. you NEVER hear that in an interview. and i could really relate to the dude. like everyones trying to pretend to be like jayz when in fact we’re all a lot closer to dmx. its sounds fucking retarded now that ive typed it. but you know what he means.

    K-fox on the other hand completely missed the point. that was real fucking rude what she said to him about the pity party.

    like the guy above said… some people “elevate to a conversation”. peter you really did and so did mgk. kfox on the other hand, can eat a fucking bag of salty dicks. what a bitch.

  7. Dope interview Rosenberg, you kept in real. I feel what MGK said about Hov, but regardless I don’t hold DMX in THAT high regard.

  8. Bored of white rappers carrying the same embarresing adolesent chip on the shoulder attitude. Pulling out the heroin card isn’t about elevating the conversation, it’s played out. I see how MGK has a strong following of kids and wish him success but its unfortunate that guys like him, vanilla ice, kid rock, eminem and yela come across so corny..Sorry but thats how I see them. Lots of good white rappers out there, but seems that most who get into the limelight act like annoying teenagers.

    Rosenberg did a good job..respected his honesty which is rare in interviews. Shame that he appeared pretty unaware of most of MGK music.. more knowledge could’ve led to a more constructive pep talk.

  9. fucking lulz at that ninja that wrote an essay.

    I preferred when every other comment was:

    “where’s the new juan ep!!”

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