An Exhaustive Guide to Machine Gun Kelly’s 90+ Tattoos
Machine Gun Kelly’s love for body art is no secret. The musician is one of the most decorated artists, with his expansive ink collection covering nearly every inch of skin on his upper body – save for his face. MGK, whose real name is Colson Baker, has been steadily accumulating tattoos since he was only 14 years old. Now, he has a total of more than 90 designs. But even though he started at a young age, his intent with body artwork has always been clear: “I believe tattoos are a lifestyle, not a fashion trend,” the “Bird Box” actor said during a 2010 interview.
In recent years, the “Emo Girl” singer has expanded his assortment of ink exponentially, getting sweet matching tattoos with his then-fiancée, Megan Fox, and commemorative ink with Travis Barker to celebrate new music (Barker’s tattoo collection is equally impressive).
When you’re covered in as many tattoos as Kelly, you’re eventually bound to run out of blank canvas to work with. This a problem the pop-punk musician has an imaginative solution for. Instead of covering up his existing tattoos or getting them removed, he’s decided to overlap pieces, allowing his fresh ink to coexist alongside his old designs with some creative placement ideas. For instance, his left upper arm showcases a black linear blast-over pattern, which still allows the older ink to peek through.
While his sprawling tattoo assortment incorporates everything from meaningful script pieces to intricate illustrations, perhaps what truly sets MGK’s tattoos apart are their colorful nature. From multiple pieces that proudly flaunt his Cleveland roots to his reimaginations of classic works from artists Banksy and Salvador Dalí, here’s your exhaustive guide to all of Kelly’s tattoos and their meanings.
Machine Gun Kelly's Chest Tattoos
Machine Gun Kelly’s “Est. 1990” Tattoo
Kelly has the year of his birth inked across his chest. His birthday is April 22, 1990. The piece says “Est. 1990” with two red crosses placed over the last two digits and is located right below his right collarbone, extending down horizontally.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Angel and Demon Tattoos
There’s an angelic woman tattooed on MGK’s right pec and a seemingly evil figure holding a knife behind her back. “I just have two views on women. Some are the f*cking devil, and some are angels coming to help you out,” he said in a previous interview. “But then you have people who come into your life like fans and friends like girls who change that. Now some of the most beautiful people in my life are women. One of my managers, she was there from the jump. She let me crash on her mom’s couch. She gave me her brother’s clothes when I didn’t have anything to wear to a show while he was in Afghanistan. She still holds me down,” he continued.
He later added geometrical shapes around the tattoo that extends up to his shoulder blades.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Gash Tattoo
The rapper has a hyperrealistic red-inked gash over the left side of his chest, which symbolizes
Machine Gun Kelly’s Guardian-Angel Tattoo
In the middle of his chest, Kelly has a guardian-angel design that appears to be levitating amid clouds with several light rays emanating overhead. The rapper told The Drop that he got the piece when he was 16 or 17 and had just begun believing in God. However, his version of a guardian angel has very specific characteristics. “I don’t think my guardian angel is a f*cking lady in a f*cking robe singing as she falls gracefully from the sky,” he told the outlet. “That’s why I put my guardian angel in f*cking pants and a wifebeater and Chucks. He’s just chilling, and he’s just like me. He’s here to hold me down.”
Machine Gun Kelly’s “Casie” Tattoo
Kelly has his daughter Casie’s name emblazoned on the left side of his chest. He shares his 13-year-old daughter with his ex Emma Cannon.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Spider Chest Tattoo
At some point, the rapper added a spider tattoo to his right pec. A lightly shaded spiderweb is also visible in its surroundings, giving the piece a realistic touch.
Machine Gun Kelly’s “I Miss You” Tattoo
In honor of the Blink-182 track “I Miss You,” Kelly got its title inked in small font on the right side of his chest, diagonally above the spider design. The song clearly left its mark on the “Bloom” musician, as he also covered it in 2016.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Alpha Omega Tattoo
Kelly drew inspiration from the track “Alpha Omega” on his 2015 album, “General Admission,” to get the Greek letters denoting the song title inked on the left side of his chest.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Eagle Cover-Up Chest Tattoo
The pop-punk artist covered up his guardian-angel design entirely with a massive eagle tattoo located in the middle of his chest. What’s most striking about this ink is that the eagle appears to be impaled by a bloody sword. Kelly hasn’t yet shared the meaning behind this artwork.
Machine Gun Kelly's Torso Tattoos
Machine Gun Kelly’s “The Darkest Fairytale” Tattoo
One of the first texts that MGK and Megan Fox exchanged included the phrase “the darkest fairytale.” So, of course, the couple decided to immortalize that moment through matching body art. While Fox decided to put hers on the inside of her left forearm, Kelly opted to get the script on the right side of his hip, running diagonally down.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Double-Decker Tattoo
A bright red double-decker bus is tattooed on his right ribcage with the date “5-11-13” written across it. The windscreen is cracked as it hits a stick figure that appears to be in midair. The piece depicts a real-life accident that the rapper was involved in in 2013. “So, on May 11, 2013, I was walking across the street, freshly landed in Manchester,” he recounted to GQ in 2019.
“I do the one mistake that every foreign guy does: crossing the street looking the wrong way. This double-decker bus hit me so hard. My face was the first thing to get hit. All I remember is waking up and everyone screaming . . . I go to the hospital and there’s nothing wrong. They did three MRIs, a CAT scan, all this stuff. The whole window of the double-decker was shattered. They were like, ‘There’s no way you got hit like that and there’s no internal bleeding or anything.’ But I was fine.”
Machine Gun Kelly’s “Sex Drugs Rock & Roll” Tattoo
Right above the double-decker, Kelly got a script tattoo that reads “Sex / Drugs / Rock & Roll” horizontally in three consecutive lines in all capital letters.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Anderson .Paak Lyric Tattoo
On the lower right side of his abdomen, Kelly got a tattoo of the “The Season/Carry Me” lyric that says, “F*ck fame / It killed all my / Favorite entertainers” in all capital letters.
Machine Gun Kelly’s “City Boy” Tattoo
The musician has “City Body” tattooed on the right side of his torso with a silhouette of buildings beneath it and a vertical pole next to it.
Machine Gun Kelly’s “557” Tattoo
Right next to the double-decker bus, the rapper has the number “557” inscribed inside a circle. Kelly briefly hinted at the meaning behind this design, saying it was a hotel room where he had a “pretty wild time.”
Machine Gun Kelly’s Banksy Artwork Tattoo
Artist Banksy’s iconic graffiti of a man holding the sign “Keep your coins, I want change” is tattooed on Kelly’s lower left torso. The rapper decided on this piece because of its “genius play on words.”
Machine Gun Kelly’s Anarchy-Symbol Tattoo
Kelly has the anarchy symbol tattooed in the middle of his stomach. It’s done in black ink, with the vacant space filled with red ink on the inside of the circle. There are also several rectangular blocks with diagonal linings inside the symbol. The singer got it “because it’s a very strong statement about social reform,” adding, “There is no f*cking 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.”
Machine Gun Kelly’s “XXX” Tattoo
“XXX” in red ink is tattooed in a foreboding manner near Kelly’s waistline, which, as the rapper put it, “gives girls a fair warning of what they’re getting into.”
Machine Gun Kelly’s “Almost Famous” Tattoo
Kelly has the words “Almost Famous” tattooed on his lower abdomen. The phrase serves as a humbling reminder of the hard work that went into earning the level of fame he now has. “As my career grows, I’m still humbled every morning when I look at that tattoo, and I’ll always remember how much it sucked to almost be famous,” the musician said.
Machine Gun Kelly’s “Locals Only” Tattoo
Kelly has the words “Locals Only” inked on his torso. It’s his way of saying he connects easily with people who grew up with the same struggles as he did. “If you’re from where I’m from as far as mentally and demographically, I’ll f*ck with you. If you’re that kid who’s brushing all those negatives and only putting them to positives, I’m with you,” he said of the ink.
Machine Gun Kelly’s “The Giving Tree” Tattoo
On his right ribcage, Kelly has a sketch of a haggard-looking guy sitting on a cut-down tree. The artwork draws inspiration from Shel Silverstein’s children’s picture book “The Giving Tree,” which spoke to the singer on a deeper level. “I feel like the actual giving tree,” he said while detailing the meaning behind the tattoo.
“People want so much from me, and you give them everything. And then they see that you’ve given them everything, and still, they come back for more.”
Machine Gun Kelly’s Rose Hip Tattoo
To celebrate his 2017 release, “Bloom,” Kelly decided to get a rose tattoo in red, green, and black ink that starts at his lower back and extends downward toward his hip, below the waistband.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Caution-Tape Tattoo
On the right side of his torso, Kelly has a comic-like animation, which includes a close-up of a girl’s face staring ahead with yellow and black caution tape zigzagging around her. The colorful wall and speech bubbles stretching across his left pec appear to be part of this detail-oriented piece. The inspiration behind the ink, however, isn’t known.
Machine Gun Kelly's Head Tattoos
Machine Gun Kelly’s “Hotel Diablo” Head Tattoo
In honor of his 2019 studio album of the same name, Kelly got the title “Hotel Diablo” inked in a rectangular box on the back of his head.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Diamond Tattoo
In 2021, Kelly surprised the world when he debuted another head tattoo ahead of the release of his music video for “Papercuts” off his sixth studio album, “Mainstream Sellout.” The ink features a diamond-shaped design in thick black lines and sits at the middle top of his shaven head.
Machine Gun Kelly's Back Tattoos
Machine Gun Kelly’s Salvador Dalí Artwork Back Tattoo
More than half of his back is covered in a rendition of artist Salvador Dalí’s piece “The Temptation of Saint Anthony,” which took roughly 50-60 hours to finish. The colorful piece includes a horse, a parade of elephants (one is carrying a nude woman), and the figure of St. Anthony kneeling in the bottom left corner of the desert landscape while the sky at the top is enveloped in fiery clouds. While the classic painting’s interpretation is fairly subjective, for Kelly, it represents someone repenting for their sins and making amends before it’s too late.
Machine Gun Kelly’s “MGK” Back Tattoo
The initials of Kelly’s stage name, “MGK,” are written across the top of his back in large font. The letters are surrounded by a black and gray pattern that resembles flames.
Machine Gun Kelly's Right Arm Tattoos
Machine Gun Kelly’s 2D From Gorrillaz Tattoo
On his forearm, Kelly has a colorful, illustrated profile of Stuart Harold “2D” Pot, the vocalist of the English virtual band Gorillaz.
Machine Gun Kelly’s “North 71” Tattoo
Kelly has a “North 71” badge tattooed on the top of his right shoulder in red, green, and black ink. The piece holds sentimental meaning to the rapper, as it represents the street number he grew up on. “This reminds me that when I’m homesick, I can take the 71 North bus and be at home,” he shared during a 2016 GQ interview.
Machine Gun Kelly’s “216 East” Tattoo
His right bicep shows another significant tattoo that stylistically spells “216 East” in bold black font over black and orange flames. Two star cutouts also surround the design. When speaking with The Drop, he shared that the artwork denotes the area code in Cleveland where he spent his most formative teen years.
Machine Gun Kelly’s “CLE” Tattoo
Placed vertically on his right tricep are the letters “CLE” in block letters, which is short for Cleveland.
Machine Gun Kelly’s “RIP B Arnold” Tattoo
As a tribute to his late grandmother, Betty Arnold, Kelly got the words “RIP B Arnold” tattooed across the side of his right forearm in cursive font. It was his first tattoo. “This one is for my grandmother, who died on Valentine’s Day,” the musician said while describing the sentimental meaning behind the ink. “I’ll never forget that she was always the most unjudgemental person.”
Machine Gun Kelly’s “Mayhem” Tattoo
Kelly paid homage to Tommy Lee’s band Methods of Mayhem, which he’s a huge fan of, by getting the word “Mayhem” inked around his right wrist. He even portrayed Lee in the 2019 movie “The Dirt.”
Machine Gun Kelly’s “The Sandlot” Tattoo
The musician added a meaningful script piece inspired by the 1993 movie “The Sandlot” on his shoulder blades. The phrase starts above his right clavicle bone and reads “Heroes Get Remembered,” with the remaining quote tattooed on his left side as it reads, “Legends Never Die.”
Machine Gun Kelly’s Jessica Rabbit Tattoo
A colorful drawing of Jessica Rabbit from the 1988 fantasy mystery “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” sits on the inside of Kelly’s upper right arm. When asked the reason behind getting this ink, he said the fictional character resembles his “dream woman.” The words “Sunset Rat Pack” are also written next to the design, the meaning of which isn’t known.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Red Dice Tattoo
Kelly has a pair of red and white dice inked on the inside of his right forearm near the wrist.
Machine Gun Kelly’s “100 Words and Running” Artwork Tattoo
There’s a striking vibrant replica of the cover art of Kelly’s 2010 mixtape, “100 Words and Running,” inked on the inside of his right forearm. The design features a small body with a backpack walking across a road with a scenic view surrounding him.
Machine Gun Kelly’s “Boomer” Tattoo
The word “Boomer” can be seen inked above what appears to be a mushroom on Kelly’s right elbow crease.
Machine Gun Kelly’s “Follow Your Dreams” Tattoo
Kelly has the phrase “Follow Your Dreams” tattooed on the outside of his right forearm in black ink and cursive script.
Machine Gun Kelly’s “Lace Up” Tattoo
On the inside of his right wrist, Kelly got the phrase “Lace Up,” which, in addition to being the title of his debut 2012 album, also means “that you can basically conquer whatever you want. You’re ready to do whatever,” he said.
Machine Gun Kelly’s 8-Pointed-Star Tattoo
The rapper has an eight-pointed, double-shaded star inked on his right elbow, with “E” written at the end of its four direction pointers. This is potentially another nod to his Cleveland roots.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Ohio State Buckeyes Tattoo
One of the older versions of the logo for the Ohio State Buckeyes football team is inked on the back of Kelly’s right shoulder. The symbol includes a scarlet block O letter with some leaves and a single nut placed over its bottom right corner.
Machine Gun Kelly's Left Arm Tattoos
Machine Gun Kelly’s “Born With Horns” Tattoo
In anticipation of their then-imminent album release, Kelly and Barker unveiled matching script tattoos in 2022. The twin pieces can be seen on both their left forearms and spell out the name of Kelly’s single “Born With Horns,” which was originally going to be the name of his sixth studio album before he finally decided on “Mainstream Sellout” as the title instead.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Voodoo Doll Tattoo
In a May 2022 birthday tribute to fiancée Megan Fox, Kelly gave the first look at his matching voodoo-doll ring tattoos with the “Jennifer’s Body” star. The tiny designs sit on their left ring fingers.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Ryuk Tattoo
Kelly got a drawing of Ryuk, the antagonist of the popular anime series “Death Note,” inked on the outside of his left wrist. The figure is placed inside a red-inked, half-eaten apple.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Ace of Hearts Tattoo
On the inside of his left wrist, there’s an ace of hearts in solid red ink.
Machine Gun Kelly’s “Live Free” and Chain Tattoos
Above the ace of hearts, Kelly has the words “Live Free” inked in cursive script, which is one-half of his symmetrical wrist tattoos. A chain is inked around his right wrist in the exact location. Together, the piece “symbolizes that you can either live a life under the limitations of ‘the man’ or you can live for yourself and live for the moment.”
Machine Gun Kelly’s “F*ck Off” Tattoo
He has the phrase “F*ck Off” tattooed on the side of his left wrist, which is one of his
Machine Gun Kelly’s “East 303” Arm Tattoo
Kelly has Denver’s area code, “East 303,” tattooed on his left bicep. He lived in Denver from when he was 9 through 14 and credits Denver and Cleveland as the two cities that molded him into the person he is today.
Machine Gun Kelly’s “Den” Tattoo
On his left triceps, the vertical block letters spell out “Den,” which pays homage to his home city Denver.
Machine Gun Kelly’s “1984”-Inspired Tattoo
As an ode to George Orwell’s dystopian sci-fi novel “1984,” Kelly got the clock tower representing Big Brother from the saga inked on the top of his left shoulder. A bunch of revolutionaries can also be seen at the bottom of the building. “It’s the idea that Big Brother is watching you, and down here, you see all the people revolting against it,” he told The Drop in 2013. He got it when he was 19.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Black Heart Tattoo
On the inside of his left forearm, MGK has a “stone-cold heart,” which depicts his experience in the cutthroat music industry over the years. “When you spend so many years in this industry, you really learn to harden yourself and not let people in,” he shared with GQ in 2016 while explaining the meaning behind the piece.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Oscar Wilde Quote Tattoo
Kelly has an Oscar Wilde quote on the inside of his left forearm that reads: “Every sinner has a future / Every saint has a past.”
Machine Gun Kelly’s “Kiss the Sky” Tattoo
He has the title of his 2017 single “Kiss the Sky” off the album “Bloom” inked on the inside of his left elbow. He described the piece as a reminder to “not be afraid to search, even if you don’t know what you’re searching for.”
Machine Gun Kelly’s Friend’s Artwork Tattoo
Situated close to the “Kiss the Sky” script is a replica of one of Kelly’s friend’s artworks, which features a distorted face sketch of a man with small horns extending from both sides of his head and a halo above.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Danger-Sign Tattoo
Inked on the inside of his left wrist is a skull danger sign with two intersecting crosses below it.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Red Hot Chili Peppers Tattoo
Kelly has the symbol of the American rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers emblazoned on his left elbow. RHCP have immensely influenced Kelly’s creative and sonic vision, but they also held him up during a dark period of his life growing up. “The reason I got the RHCP tattoo is because that’s when I was going through my issue with drugs and I was reading ‘Scar Tissue’ by Anthony Kiedis. I didn’t end up going to rehab because everyone around me was not encouraging rehab,” he shared with Untitled Magazine. “Anthony Kiedis’ story just helped me so much, and it helped me stop with the whole thing.”
Machine Gun Kelly’s “5:3666” Tattoo
The title of Kelly’s 2019 track “5:3666” is inked on the inside of his left wrist in a small font.
Machine Gun Kelly’s “Envy” Wrist Tattoo
Kelly has the word “Envy” tattooed on his outer left wrist.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Red Star Tattoo
A solid red star can be seen on Kelly’s left forearm near the elbow.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Upper-Shoulder Blast-Over Tattoo
In March 2021, Kelly visited tattooist Chaim Machlev to add a blast-over to his upper left shoulder that starts near the Big Brother artwork and includes a 3D mesh of thin lines that stretch up to his forearm.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Forearm Cover-Up Tattoo
On his upper left forearm, Kelly added intricate artwork that’s hard to decipher but effectively covers up his older pieces in the location.
Machine Gun Kelly's Leg Tattoos
Machine Gun Kelly’s Cannabis Knee Tattoo
An intricate cannabis leaf is tattooed on the rapper’s right knee, which, as one might guess, represents his love for smoking marijuana.
Machine Gun Kelly’s John Muir Quote Tattoo
Around his cannabis design, Kelly got a quote from naturalist and environmental philosopher John Muir inked in a circular ring. It reads, “Into the forest, I go to lose my mind and find my soul,” and speaks to the serenity one feels within when surrounded by nature.
Machine Gun Kelly’s “Prisoner” Tattoo
The word “Prisoner” in thin outlined letters is inked vertically down his right leg. It starts right below his knee and stretches down toward his ankle.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Radiohead Tattoo
Kelly gave himself the Radiohead symbol tattoo on his right ankle. The piece features outlines of two stick figures holding hands. The figure with a mohawk, who has the word “Punk” inscribed over his body, represents a mini version of Kelly himself.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Rose and Palm Tree Tattoo
There’s a rose and a palm tree tattoo, both done in black ink, placed next to one another on his right leg.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Falling Boy Tattoo
A tattoo of a guy falling on his back with legs in the air and hands splayed out can be seen on Kelly’s right midthigh.
Machine Gun Kelly’s “Insane” Thigh Tattoo
The word “Insane” is slapped over Kelly’s right thigh. The piece is drawn with bright red ink and stylized as if created with the help of a stamping stencil.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Shrub Tattoo
In June 2022, Kelly added another colorful artwork to his massive tattoo collection. The piece is placed on his upper right thigh and includes a variety of fruits and flowers, such as strawberries and lilies, among others.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Billion-Dollar Calculator Tattoo
A digital calculator showcasing one billion on the screen is inked on the side of Kelly’s right leg. Two red-inked intertwining barbed wires can also be seen around the calculator, which runs along the length of his leg.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Pistol Tattoo
Two large guns pointing downward are inked vertically on both sides of Kelly’s left and right legs.
Machine Gun Kelly’s “The Marathon Continues” Tattoo
The name of rapper Nipsey Hussle’s mixtape “The Marathon Continues” is inked horizontally in capital letters across his lower left thigh. Below it, there’s another red-inked gash above Kelly’s left knee.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Moon-Phases Tattoo
On his left thigh, Kelly has an illustration of different moon phases.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Clock Knee Tattoo
On his left knee, Kelly has a routine clock ink that, instead of the hour, depicts what his average day looks like. Inside the clock, he has markings for various activities – Drink, Smoke, Eat, Meditate, Write, F*ck, Spiral, Record, Rage, Pray, Sleep, and Repeat – in a clockwise manner.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Flower Tattoo
A pink floral ink is visible on the middle of Kelly’s left leg.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Marilyn Monroe Portrait Tattoo
On his right thigh, a portrait of Marilyn Monroe is tattooed in black and gray ink.
Machine Gun Kelly’s “Day Walker” Tattoo
“Day Walker” is written across the side of his left leg, below his knee.