What a young Cleveland rapper, Machine Gun Kelly, is doing to promote his upcoming mixtape is simply genius. He is redefining guerrilla marketing with his promotional campaign and building an incredible amount of hype for the project titled Black Flag.
Unfortunately, his genius is being overshadowed by less creative marketing ploys of bigger artists like Kanye West and Jay Z. But while those are clever and large scale media ploys, it pales in comparison to what Machine Gun Kelly is doing to enlist his troops ahead of his mixtape Black Flag’s release.
Troops is an apt description for his cult fan base and following. His fans have been known, and praised by MGK himself, for helping him win numerous awards, especially fan voted awards like the MTV Woodie of the Year (beating out Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky and Fun) and MTV’s Hottest Breakthrough MC Award.
Machine Gun Kelly has said that Black Flag is the opposite of a white flag, which symbolizes surrender. Not surrendering, never giving up, and overcoming all odds to chase your dreams has been a theme with his entire “Lace Up” movement.
MGK has not announced a release date for Black Flag, and it has his fan base at a fever pitch as they pester anyone and everyone associated with the rapper. Slim, MGK’s hype man and best friend, has had fun responding to repeated requests about the release dating simply tweeting years in the past or distant future.
— Slim Jizzle (@SlimGudz216) May 23, 2013
— Slim Jizzle (@SlimGudz216) May 21, 2013
Machine Gun Kelly is giving his fan base little teases bit by bit, at unknown intervals.
If you go the the rapper’s webpage, MGKLaceUp.com, you see the words “Black Flag” in military stencil font. Below it you see a countdown to the next “military strike” and dog tags displayed, with previously accomplished strikes crossed off.
The interval between “strikes” is unknown, some have been 4 days, some have been 1 day.
At each strike he gives his fans something. So far the strikes have been some kind of video via his YouTube channel each ending with snippets of songs from the mixtape, once was the artwork from the mixtape, which he calls “an album they’re giving away for free.”
But the brilliant, even crazy part, is that at any of those strikes he could release the mixtape since there is no actual date known to anyone outside of MGK’s camp. His manager Ashleigh VeVerka tweeted, “as the countdown hits 0 a new piece on content will be released. One of them will be Black Flag.”
As the countdown hits 0 a new piece on content will be released One of them will be “Black Flag” Which one?! http://t.co/R8X7Ldsb2t
— Ashleigh (@AshleighVeV) June 4, 2013
This has kept fans glued to their computer screens watching that countdown ticker. This has kept fans engaged on a daily basis instead of simply waiting for the date. As fans crave the mixtape more and more with every strike, the conversation on social media outlets only further exposes Machine Gun Kelly’s music to a larger audience.
And it’s promotional brilliance.
In the following slides can see the various strikes that have been released to date.