‘Beyond The Lights’ Is Here For Bad Girls Gone Good (Pg.3)

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Who Knew MGK had an acting itch? With two other films in the works the musician talks the difficulties with playing a rapper, where Gugu Mbatha-Raw stands on the attractive meter and why his character, Kid Culprit, will always pull more ladies than him.

VIBE: When did MGK become interested in acting?
MGK: If you look at my YouTube channel you’ll see that I’ve been filming myself and editing videos since I started my career. Even as a rapper, I’ve always had a camera out and around. Even from way back, when you would record onto a tape, I’ve had video cameras. So I’ve been recording my whole life for so long that I was already used to being around cameras. When I had a chance to be somebody else and kind of escape from the world of Machine Gun Kelly, I hopped on the opportunity.

How did you prepare for the role of Kid Culprit? He’s a huge asshole in this movie.
I’ve been pinned as the bad guy in real life, so I don’t think it was too hard. The audition was a lot harder to master than the actual role itself. And pleasing Gina [Prince-Blythewood], who directed the film, was just my main focus. Just because it was my first movie, and she knew exactly who she wanted the character to be.

What was the experience like when it was time to film?
Being on set was surreal because I was able to have my friends be my actual friends in the movie. My friends in real life were on set with me, acting in the film. It’s been a dream happening in real life. We were all just grateful and soaked it in. Me and Minnie Driver [Ed Note: Driver plays Noni’s mother.] had some funny moments. She was showing us her ballet skills and all this other stuff on set in between the fight scenes. It was a good time. It wasn’t any different than kicking it with us at a concert.

And by the time you watched the film, how was that experience?
That was the most awkward thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. I was able to get through the whole thing but not without my hands over my eyes. I compare it to hearing your voice on your voicemail back in the day when people had voicemails. It was like ‘Ah man, I sound like such a dweeb.’ That’s like the feeling it gave me.

How are Kid Culprit and MGK different, and how are they the same?
Well one, Kid Culprit actually had to listen, because I had to re-record this one song like eight times [laughs]. So I had to make it perfect and make it mesh and all that. So that was an experience in and of itself. Because I had to satisfy The-Dream, and the director, and I had to talk about all the points that they wanted me to talk about as part of my character. But really the difference between Kid Culprit and Machine Gun Kelly is that sex appeal, that seductiveness. That’s what Kid Culprit and Noni were about, a seductive, very sexual relationship. That’s what fueled their careers, basically. He’s a ladies man, and he got the baddest chick in the game.

Did you and Gugu get to work on the music in the studio together?
Gugu and I did a lot of dance classes and choreography together before the songs were made. And after, Dream had cut a demo to one of the songs. So Gugu and I did not go into the studio together, but we did all the dancing, we learned all those moves together. I was a part of her process as she was transforming from Gugu to Noni, and learning how to be this sexual pop star. So I kind of use that imagery I had seen while I was watching all that to inspire me to write those lyrics. Because she’s just so drop-dead gorgeous. Dancing with her for eight hours definitely inspired some sexy shit.

You’re a rapper, playing a rapper. People might think that’s easy.
Well one, this guy presents himself as completely different than I am so it was more fun than anything. You get to see Machine Gun Kelly show emotions towards a female and all these types of things that you would never see me do in real life. As odd as that sounds, it’s like, my love life is not prominent in my career and it’s not something I’ve ever shed light on. Whereas that’s all that’s being talked about and viewed when you see Kid Culprit. So I thought it was interesting. Even though he’s a rapper, I still think he’s a completely different person than Machine Gun Kelly.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Mannion