With a backing band in tow that included frequent collaborator Travis Barker, the rapper-turned-pop-punk star began the performance above a giant burial plot, a nod to the song’s refrain: “Keep my mouth shut and wave / I’m dancing on my grave“.
The performance also seemingly paid tribute to Nirvana, with the trees and flowers from the ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ video, and Kelly smashing his guitar at the song’s conclusion.
Watch Machine Gun Kelly perform ‘Papercuts’ below:
that performance was my heart 🔪🫀
— blonde don (@machinegunkelly) September 13, 2021
MGK’s performance wasn’t the only thing that received media attention at this year’s ceremony, with multiple outlets reporting the artist – real name Colson Baker – got into a red carpet scrap with Conor McGregor.
The UFC champion was at the ceremony to present the Artist of the Year award, which went to Justin Bieber. Photos showed the two men being separate after McGregor reportedly threw his drink at Baker.
Baker won in the only category he was nominated for at this year’s VMAs, taking home the Best Alternative award for his Blackbear collaboration ‘My Ex’s Best Friend’. The song is lifted from last year’s ‘Tickets to My Downfall’.
Baker released ‘Papercuts’, the lead single from his forthcoming album ‘Born with Horns’, in August. He also announced the album last month, with he and Barker getting matching forearm tattoos to mark the occasion.