The Meaning Behind 71 of Machine Gun Kelly's Most Famous Tattoos

Okay, so MGK has “216 Ea$t” written on this arm….

And what looks to be “West 303” written on this arm. Both of these are area codes in Denver and Cleveland—two cities MGK says “molded me into a man.”

Just in case you aren’t clear on exactly how much MGK stans those two cities, he has “CLE” inked on one side of his arm…

…And DEN (for Denver, obvs) on the other. “I was in Denver when I was 9 to 14,” he told The Drop. “Those were pivotal years in my life where I started being mindful of the world. All my first police run-ins were [in Denver].”

What we have here is an atom, some barbed wire, and some lightning. Your guess is as good as mine, and my current hypothesis is that he’s a Big Bang Theory fan. So actually, maybe your guess is better.

Nope, this isn’t a reference to the movie. It’s just a reminder to stay humble. “My favorite tattoo right now is the one on my lower stomach that reads ‘Almost Famous’ because as my career grows, I’m still humbled every morning when I look at that tattoo,” he told The Urbanian back in 2010. “And I’ll always remember how much it sucked to ALMOST be famous haha.”

Yep, this is the name of MGK’s fourth studio album. Of course it’s only visible when he’s shaved a tiny square in his hair, which is (hopefully) almost never.

Much like your 9th grade self, Machine Gun Kelly is a huge Orwell fan. “That’s an ode to the book ‘1984,’” he told The Drop. “It’s the idea that Big Brother is watching you, and down here you see all the people revolting against it. There are people here holding bats and all that shit. And I’m with the people. Keep your hands out of my pockets. I got this when I was 19.”

To quote MGK during an interview he gave with Noisy: “I did this shit in Humboldt County when I was extremely high. It’s like a Radiohead fucking symbol.” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Not sure of the meaning behind this one, but please keep it in mind the next time you find yourself in the presence of MGK’s naked torso.

I feel the need to point out that his nipple is quite literally in a speech bubble.

Probably Machine Gun Kelly’s largest tattoo, this is a rendition of Salvador Dali’s painting “The Temptation of Saint Anthony.” Why, you ask? As MGK put it, “Everyone has their own take on that painting. The way I saw it, almost like this revelations type shit…”

MGK has since covered this one up, but once upon a time, it meant a lot to him. “I don’t think my guardian angel is a fucking lady in a fucking robe singing as she falls gracefully from the sky,” he told The Drop. “That’s why I put my guardian angel in fucking pants and a wifebeater and Chucks. He’s just chilling, and he’s just like me. He’s here to hold me down.”

Yeah, so MGK ended up getting his angel covered up with this Raven being *checks notes* stabbed in half by a sword.

You guessed it: This is the year our dude was born.

This is an Oscar Wilde quote, and frankly, I absolutely love that for MGK!

The fairies on MGK’s shoulders apparently represent his changing relationship with women. “Now some of the most beautiful people in my life are women,” he told The Drop. “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. I still crash on her couch now.”

It’s called subtlety, look it up.

Huh. A lot going on here. Apparently, this is a “stone cold heart,” which represents MGK’s time in the music industry. As he told GQ, “When you spend so many years in this industry, you really learn to harden yourself and not let people in.”

Look, I won’t lie. Not all of MGK’s tattoos are doing it for me. But I think we can all appreciate MGK tattooing the classic Sandlot line “Heroes get remembered, legends never die” across his shoulders.

“I’ve always wanted to be an icon or a legend,” he told The Drop. “Sometimes when death is all around you so much, you’re always just fearing that it’s coming for you. But when you get comfortable with yourself, you think, ‘When I die, I’m going to leave something on this earth.’ So it just reminds me that ‘Heroes get remembered. Legends never fucking die.’ This was done three years ago.”

Apparently MGK has a crush on literal cartoon Jessica Rabbit. “She’s like my fantasy woman, my dream woman,” he told iHeartRadio, adding, “Kind of.” Considering my crush remains the fox from Robin Hood, I’m in no position to judge.

“That’s a Banksy piece,” MGK explained to The Drop. “And I think it’s a fucking genius play on words. People don’t get that one all the time. I don’t know.”

This is one of Machine Gun Kelly’s most iconic tattoos—and the one his fans most often recreate. “‘Lace Up’ is an expression that’s tattooed on thousands of fans now,” he told Untitled Magazine. “I have it tattooed twice on my body. It basically just means that you can basically conquer whatever you want. You’re ready to do whatever.”

According to the man himself, “‘Locals Only’ means we only fuck with thorough motherfuckers. If you’re from where I’m from, and that doesn’t have to mean literally, it just so happens that the people I roll with are Cleveland type shit, it’s not about regional life. But if you’re from where I’m from as far as mentally and demographically, I’ll fuck with you. If you’re that kid who’s brushing all those negatives and only putting them to positives, I’m with you. Noted.

Hard to tell, but it looks like this could be a drawing of him?

This is a shoutout to Tommy Lee’s band Methods of Mayhem! MGK is a huge fan and even played Tommy Lee in the movie Dirt.

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