Machine Gun Kelly isn’t afraid of a little ink.
The singer, whose real name is Colson Baker, is completely covered in tattoos — including a few large-scale designs that surely took tons of time, patience and pain to complete.
Among 31-year-old MGK’s most prominent works of ink? Tributes to his hometown of Cleveland and to his music, along with symbolic figures, numbers and dates.
He’s even got a nod to his girlfriend, Megan Fox; in a cameo on a track from his album “Tickets to My Downfall,” the 35-year-old actress addresses her man, saying, “You just got my initials tattooed on you. I just got your nickname tattooed on me.”
Fox has the words “el pistolero” — Spanish for “the gunman,” in reference to Machine Gun Kelly — tattooed below her collarbone, but it’s not yet known where MGK chose to ink her initials in return.
Below, see some of the “Bloody Valentine” hitmaker’s most memorable tats, and learn the meanings behind each one — because unlike his similarly tattoo-happy pal Pete Davidson, it doesn’t appear that the rapper-turned-rocker will be parting with his ink anytime soon.
“Born With Horns”
On August 9, 2021, MGK announced his forthcoming sixth studio album by showing off a tattoo of the title — “Born With Horns” — on his forearm. Travis Barker, who produced 2020’s “Tickets to My Downfall” and will also work on the new project, cemented their bond with an identical design.
Not all of MGK’s buzzworthy tattoos are real. Two days after announcing “Born With Horns,” the singer shocked fans with a shaved head and skull tattoo. However, eagle-eyed supporters suspected he was simply rocking a bald cap and temporary ink for a music video — especially considering all of his other statement-making tats were MIA in the snap.
One of Kelly’s most recent tattoos is this gruesome trompe l’oeil slash. The red line, done in April 2021, lends the appearance of a bloody slice right down the rocker’s throat.
“Tickets to My Downfall”
Kelly paid tribute to his 2020 pop-punk album by getting its title inked around his lower neck in a Gothic font.
Underneath, he has a barbed wire necklace adorned with an atom and lightning bolts.
MGK’s got this tribute to his birth year inked just under his collarbones.
Two types of women
The star has his own interpretation of the devil and angel on his shoulders, located on either side of his “Est. 1990” tattoo. One of the two female figures appears demure, while the other holds a knife behind her back and smiles manically.
“I just have two views on women. Some are the f—ing devil, and some are angels coming to help you out. But I just now came to terms with realizing that not all women are bad,” MGK told TheDrop.fm in 2013.
He added that while that he has bad relationships with both his mother and the woman to whom he lost his virginity, he’s developed close bonds with other women, like his manager.
This tattoo is a testament to the type of people with whom the star likes to surround himself.
“It doesn’t have to mean literally; it just so happens that the people I roll with are Cleveland-type sh—t, it’s not about regional life,” he told TheDrop.fm.
“But if you’re from where I’m from, as far as mentally and demographically, I’ll f—k with you. If you’re that kid who’s brushing all those negatives and only putting them to positives, I’m with you.”
The singer got a huge tattoo of a guardian angel inked in the middle of his chest when he was 16 years old, when he “started believing in God.” Rather than opting for a typical Christ-like figure in flowing robes, Kelly chose an angel sporting a tank top, baggy jeans and Chuck Taylors.
Later, Kelly had the angel transformed into large black raven with a dagger through it.
In honor of his daughter, who was born in 2009, MGK has her name tattooed under his nipple.
On his lower left abdomen, Kelly makes a political statement by way of an artwork by Banksy; it depicts a man holding a sign that reads, “Keep your coins I want change.”
Kelly is a noted fan of chaos, and his devil-may-care attitude inspired this large design located on his stomach. However, the star has shared that his team wasn’t too happy about the piece.
“It was the only one that was a debate,” he told TheDrop.fm. “Everyone was like, ‘No man! No f—ing way, man. You’re already kind of black-balled in the industry, and you’re gonna put that on your body. Now no corporate sponsors are going to f—k with you.”
He continued, “I just got anarchy because it’s a very strong statement about social reform. There is no f—ing rules. There is no code. You can’t tell me how to live my life. This is my own individuality, and I wear it proudly.”
This design, which sits just below the words “Almost Famous,” serves to caution MGK’s lovers.
“It gives girls a fair warning of what they’re getting into,” he told TheDrop.fm. “Some nasty s—t’s about to happen.”
“Sex Drugs Rock & Roll”
This ink celebrates Kelly’s hard-partying rockstar lifestyle.
In 2013, MGK was hit by a double-decker bus in Manchester, England, while crossing the street. To commemorate the experience, he had the red vehicle tattooed on his side, complete with broken windows and the date of the accident: 5/14/13.
There’s even a stick figure to represent himself.
Route 71 North
The Cleveland native tattooed a permanent reminder of his home on his right bicep; “If I’m ever homesick, I can just take the 71 North,” he told GQ in 2016.
“216 East” and “303”
Under the 71 North sign, Baker has another tribute to Cleveland: the city’s area code. He’s also got an area code for Denver, which he similarly holds close to his heart.
“Those are the two cities that molded me into a man,” he told TheDrop.fm. “I was in Denver when I was 9 to 14 [years old]. Those were pivotal years in my life where I started being mindful of the world. All my first police run-ins were [in Denver].”
In case Kelly ever forgets his stage name, it’s inked across his entire upper back.
Salvador Dalí painting
Underneath the “MGK” is a depiction of “The Temptation of Saint Anthony” by Salvador Dalí. The scene depicts a series of temptations carried in on the backs of elephants, — including the golden cup of lust, nude women and an obelisk — while St. Anthony kneels in front holding a cross.
In 2017, Kelly told iHeartRadio that these colorful back tattoos took about 50 to 60 hours to complete.
It seems MGK has always had a thing for curvy bombshells like Megan Fox; the artist has the voluptuous leading lady from 1988’s “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” tattooed on his bicep.
“She’s like my fantasy woman, my dream woman. Kind of,” he told iHeartRadio.
“That was clearly a 3:30-in-the-morning tattoo,” he told GQ of the warning inked on his wrist.
“Stone cold” heart
Kelly has been fascinated with gore since long before “Bloody Valentine.” On his arm, he has an anatomical heart made of stone, symbolizing the walls he’s built up over the years.
“When you spend so many years in this industry, you really learn to harden yourself and not let people in,” he told GQ.