What Is Machine Gun Kelly's Real Name?

It seems like more often than not, rappers opt to use a stage name or at least a modified version of the name that they were given when they were born. For instance, Cardi B was born as Belcalis Almanzar and her husband, Offset, is Kiari Kendrell Cephus, according to the breakdown of musician's monikers from High Snobiety. There's also Nicki Minaj who's real name is Onika Tanya Maraj, A$AP Rocky aka Rakim Mayers, and Kid Cudi who is Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi, not to mention Travis Scott (or Jacques Berman Webster II) and Chance the Rapper (fully Chancelor Johnathan Bennett). And then there's Machine Gun Kelly.

Also known by the initials MGK, it would be pretty surprising to find out that Machine Gun Kelly was his real name, however, we do live in a world of Apple Martin, North West, and Blue Ivy. However, it turns out that the rapper's famous name is, indeed, a pseudonym. Read on to find out what his real name is as well as why he got his nickname and details about the infamous criminal who inspired MGK's moniker in an unexpected way.

Machine Gun Kelly's skills led to his nickname

It may seem a little strange to think about Machine Gun Kelly by any other name, but he definitely wasn't born as MGK. According to The New York Times, his real name is Colson Baker. Adorable side note: IMDb points out that the star passed his name down to his daughter, whose full name is Casie Colson Baker.

So, how did the rapper go from a name like Colson Baker to a pseudonym like Machine Gun Kelly? He told First Avenue once upon a time that it was largely inspired by his skills. "I got the name Machine Gun Kelly because of my rapid-fire delivery when I was 15 and started doing shows," he said.

MGK's name is also thought to harken back to infamous gangster, George "Machine Gun Kelly" Barnes. It may have been MGK's rapping abilities that inspired his stage name, but you still might be wondering about the original Machine Gun Kelly. Keep reading to find out who he was and why he was so notorious!

Here's how the original Machine Gun Kelly got his nickname

George Kelly Barnes was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on July 18, 1895, according to Biography (although he may have also been born in 1987 or 1900, depending on different sources). First making his way into the criminal world in the '20s as a bootlegger, he eventually met and married a woman named Kathryn Thorne in 1930.

The FBI claims that it was actually Thorne who not only urged her husband to continue committing crimes, but also "bought him a machine gun, and gave him the nickname, 'Machine Gun.'" Together, they embarked on a criminal career that involved robbing banks and a major kidnapping. Taking "a wealthy oil tycoon" captive, per Biography, they demanded a ransom for his safe return.

However, in the end, authorities were able to track the couple down and, in 1933, Barnes was given a life sentence in prison. According to the FBI, "George 'Machine Gun' Kelly died of a heart attack at the Federal Penitentiary, Leavenworth, Kansas, on July 17, 1954." However, his name now lives on thanks to the successful rapper.