Machine Gun Kelly’s 5th studio album earned him his very first #1 on the Billboard 200 charts, where it has now remained for over half a year since its release. “Tickets To My Downfall” has also been certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America after selling 500,000 units in the US.

Ask just about anyone in the world what city Machine Gun Kelly reps as his hometown, and they’ll tell you Cleveland, Ohio (even though he was technically born in Houston, Texas).

The typical listener, especially those who don’t identify as day-one fans, doesn’t always know what goes on behind-the-scenes during the creation of an album.

I wanted to explore and shine a light on the individuals from Cleveland / Ohio who contributed to Machine Gun Kelly’s most successful project yet.

I pulled most of this information from a Scene article by Jordan Zirm in 2011. That blows my mind. A global superstar really made it from the city, and took some of his closest friends on the journey with him.

SlimXX, Ashleigh VeverkaBazeXX, Andre Cisco, Terry Urban, Wavy DuderTrippie Redd (Honorable mention: Canton, OH)


Ashleigh first met Machine Gun Kelly in 2008 while working for the Ohio Hip Hop Awards. She took a chance at managing him back then, and has remained an integral part of the team ever since.

Andre's first encounter with MGK happened inside Tower City, while Kels was working at an airbrush shop. He also became acquainted with Slim & Dub around the same time while booking them for shows through his company Livin Legends. Fast forward to 2021, and both Ashleigh & Andre play their role within the squad.


Machine Gun Kelly got kicked out of his house at the age of 18, just days after graduating high school. Only weeks earlier, MGK would meet Slim at a house on East 128th where he recorded. While desperate looking for a place to live, he asked Slim about moving in together. They did just that, and the rest is history.

BazeXX is originally from upstate New York, but we've included him as an honorable mention. Had he never moved to Cleveland to work at Spider Studios and be involved with Some Kinda Wonderful, he would not have had the opportunity to be a part of the EST squad. He started working with MGK during the "Black Flag" days.

Baze & Slim both contributed to the production of the album, and most notably created the instrumental for the most popular track "My Exes Best Friend."

The exclusive Target version of the album features bonus tracks, one of which is "In These Walls (My House)." Cleveland native, Wavy Duder, is credited for the production. The video has racked up over 52 million views on Youtube.

Art Direction & Design

Terry Urban is a Cleveland legend, and it's super dope that he got to be involved with "Tickets To My Downfall." The artist, DJ, and producer has a long history of his own which is probably worth an entire I’m From Cleveland exclusive article. I'm honestly not sure how or when he would have met Machine Gun Kelly for the first time. 

Terry is credited for art direction and design on the album. Unfortunately, the first version of the album artwork had to be scrapped. But that wasn't the only contribution that Terry made. Remember MGK's performance at the VMA's? The visuals behind Kels at the very beginning are the work of Terry's.


Hailing from Canton, Trippie Redd deserves to be mentioned here. The Northeast Ohio artist is no stranger to working with MGK. The pair have made a handful of great tracks, and they definitely have some more in the vault ready to go.