Machine Gun Kelly: from missionary’s son to rapper

American hip hop artist Machine Gun Kelly will perform his rapid-fire rap in Red Deer next week.

American hip hop artist Machine Gun Kelly will perform his rapid-fire rap in Red Deer next week.

Kelly, also known as Richard Colson Baker, will appear on Tuesday night at the Lotus nightclub.

The Texas-born rapper achieved breakthrough success with hits such as Invincible (which is featured in commercials and is the theme to Thursday Night Football on the NFL Network), Chip off the Old Block and Cleveland, which is played at Cleveland Cavaliers home games.

Baker won two Woodie Awards, which are presented by the MTV network to recognize music voted best by college students.

In 2012, he won a Breaking Woodie and earlier this year, Kelly won a Woodie of the Year.

Among the many celebrities and rappers who he has worked with on his music or videos is Sean “Diddy” Combs, Steve-O from Jackass, Tech N9ne, Avenged Sevenfold, Wiz Khalifa, French Montana, Macklemore and Tezo.

Baker was born in 1990 to missionary parents who had moved all over the world, including Egypt, where the rapper lived for four years — long enough to learn to speak Arabic.

He started listening to rap while in middle school in Denver.

His first rap heroes were Ludacris and DMX.

Naming his performing MC persona after notorious criminal George “Machine Gun Kelly” Barnes, Baker’s first hip hop coup happened at Harlem’s famed Apollo Theatre in 2009, when, on the verge of being evicted, we went to compete and became the first-ever white rapper to claim consecutive victories.

He gained more exposure when featured on MTV2’s Sucker Free Freestyle, where he freestyled numerous verses from his Chip off the Block single. His national debut came with the trippy Alice In Wonderland single and video in 2010.

The artist who, once known as MGK, was named Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2011 by MTV.

He was signed to Interscope and Bad Boy Records after being noticed by Combs at the SXSW (South By Southwest) Festival.

And he has since gone to release several well-received mixed tapes including Lace Up, Stamp of Approval, Homecoming, 100 Words and Running, and Black Flag.

Tickets are $25 from 4614 50th Ave. For more information about the Red Deer show, call 403-346-1101.