Machine Gun Kelly changes stage name after more than a decade

Machine Gun Kelly has changed his name across streaming services and social media to simply “mgk”.

The rapper and pop-punk musician, real name Colson Baker, took his original stage name from the nickname of a Prohibition-era gangster.

However, in recent years some fans have argued that the name glorifies gun violence. YouTubers Chad and JT protested at one of Machine Gun Kelly’s concerts in Iowa in September 2022, displaying a sign that read: “Change Your Name!!!”

When Kelly spotted the sign, he asked the pair from the stage what they wanted him to change his name to. “We want to take out the ‘machine gun’, so we don’t glorify machine guns,” they responded.

Kelly then asked the audience what they thought, and received a mixture of boos, cheers and applause in response.

At the GQ Awards in 2023, Kelly reportedly asked photographers: “Instead of Machine Gun, can you just hit me with Machine next time?”

Machine Gun Kelly attending the 2024 Grammys (Getty Images)
Machine Gun Kelly attending the 2024 Grammys (Getty Images)

He has now shortened his official username to read mgk across Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, and YouTube, as well as on his X/Twitter account.

Last month, Kelly also unveiled a new tattoo which covers his entire upper body in black ink.

The intention was seemingly to cover up almost all of his previous tattoos with black ink, which reaches from his neck and across his torso to his arms.

In the middle of the tattoo is a large cross, as well as lines going down his arms. He posed shirtless in the photo, as his previous red tattoo reading “Locals Only” and another one of a man holding a sign that says “I Want Change” were still visible on his stomach.

“For spiritual purposes only,” Kelly captioned the Instagram post showing off his new ink.

His tattoo artist, who goes by the username @roxx_____ on Instagram, also shared photos of the “Rap Devil” singer’s tattoo. “Made some art with @machinegunkelly. Never met a tougher one,” they captioned one post, to which Kelly replied: “Thanks for the joy and the pain.”

In his Instagram Story, Kelly revealed that the tattoo required “44 needles”.

Many fans were stunned by the star’s new tattoo, and shared their surprised reactions in the comments section. “When you leave your kid unattended with the black marker,” joked one user, while another said: “Bro sat in the tattoo chair for 763 hours.”

Meanwhile, some fans were saddened to learn that Kelly had covered up his old tattoos, after they developed an emotional connection to them over the years. “I like your old tattoos, they were like your history and so iconic,” said one follower.

“MGK is known for his various tattoos and even his Cleveland tattoos,” another pointed out. “To get that all covered up and go straight black is wild and weird to me.”