After teasing his fans consistently for months — including an Instagram video of the rapper getting a head tattoo of the album’s name — Machine Gun Kelly dropped his first album in two years on July 5, titled “Hotel Diablo.”
The rapper, whose real name is Colson Baker, continues with his seamless combination of hip-hop and alt-rock to produce a hardcore rap album that has fun and also dives deep into his thoughts and emotions.
The album cover features a childhood photo of Baker pasted upside down with his head graphically designed to be open on a hinge, presumably so that his thoughts and feelings fall out of his mind and out into the open.
In the song “Burning Memories,” MGK raps about traumatic childhood memories that he is still struggling with in the present.
“This one’s for the mama that I never knew. I took acid just to burn all of my memories of you,” he raps. “How’d you leave your only child at nine for another dude? … I hope he got some kids because your only son is dead.”
“Hotel Diablo” includes a few singles that were dropped before the album itself, including hip-hop and rock mix “I Think I’m OKAY,” featuring YUNGBLOOD and Travis Barker of Blink-182. The single was selected for Spotify’s 2019 Summer Song Predictions list.
MGK and rapper Eminem have been embroiled in a diss battle since 2012, in which each rapper degrades the other with jabs at each’s music style and physical appearance. The two have been going back and forth for years, and this album gave MGK his latest opportunity to fire back at the older rapper.
MGK begins his song “FLOOR 13” by rapping, “I just spent too many minutes watchin’ little bitty shitty wannabe rappers dissing me. I just spent the winter livin’ after someone tried to send a kill shot, missin’ me.” The verse directly references Eminem’s diss track, “Killshot,” saying that the insult missed MGK.
While MGK carried on the rap beef with Eminem, he allowed his album to be carried by guest artists. Half of his songs feature other musicians, including YUNGBLUD and Travis Barker, Lil Skies, Naomi Wild, Madison Love, Trippie Redd and Phem. Each artist adds their own spin to the song they collaborated on, further varying the genre of the album.
Two tracks on the album — “A Message From The Count” and “Truck Norris Interlude” — give a behind-the-scenes peek of MGK in the recording studio. Less than a minute long each, the tracks feature Baker and others goofing off in the studio, something he thought was funny enough to include twice in his fourth studio album.
While MGK showed his emotional depth and vulnerability with a few raw songs in “Hotel Diablo,” he also proved his youthful qualities with his response to Eminem’s diss and his ability to still have fun with his music.