Machine Gun Kelly recruits Willow Smith for angsty new single, Emo Girl

Machine Gun Kelly and Willow Smith
(Image credit: Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank / Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Machine Gun Kelly and Willow Smith have teamed up for Emo Girl – a throwback, nostalgia-flavored track that will appear on MGK’s upcoming album, Mainstream Sellout.

No strangers to the punk spheres thanks to their own respective repertoires that more-often-than-not teeter on the brink of all-out emo, the new single sees the pair serve up a dream come true for legacy fans of early noughties punk.

The electric guitars are pretty simple throughout – only a handful of gain-drenched powerchords are used in total – but that’s not where the magic happens. Instead, the true miracle is Mr. Gun and Willow’s ability to harness and supercharge an old-school style akin to Sum 41, Blink-182 and Fall Out Boy.

It’s an angsty romp, that’s for sure, and one that unapologetically embraces genre-appropriate lyrical cliches and familiar punk instrumentation, but with a distinct MGK-flavored twist. The results are a surprising success, and you can check it out in the video below.

Emo Girl will feature on the tracklist of Mainstream Sellout, which was recently renamed after MGK switched it from the original Born With Horns – but not before he and drummer/producer Travis Barker both tattooed the former title on their bodies – earlier this week.

The album is set to continue Kelly's stratospheric trajectory away from the hip-hop image that defined his early career, after his previous album Tickets To My Downfall helped the guitar-toting punk hero reinvent his persona – and even landed him a signature Schecter model.

As for Willow, she officially completed her own transition into the world of pop punk upon the release of her latest album Lately I Feel Everything – an extended studio LP that, with the help of Barker, saw her shed her rap/R&B preferences for a more guitar-driven direction.

Mainstream Sellout is available to preorder now via Bad Boy/Interscope Records ahead of its March 25 release.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.