Kevin Gates

Kevin Gates

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Essential Albums

  • Islah (Deluxe)
  • Luca Brasi 2: A Gangsta Grillz Special Edition

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About Kevin Gates

The essence of Kevin Gates’ music is conflict—in his songs, he’s at war with the law, those who would betray him, and, above all, himself. "Sometimes in a person’s life, they can be their [own] biggest obstacle,” he told Apple Music near the release of his 2019 album I’m Him, and his records document that struggle with intensity. Born in 1986 and raised in Baton Rouge, his career developed in fits and starts as legal troubles derailed his regional momentum, but beginning with 2013’s The Luca Brasi Story, he released a string of mixtapes that steadily elevated his profile. The key to his rise was his blend of forceful storytelling and sneaky musicality—on verses, Gates’ baritone bark conveys urgency with every syllable, but he also sings with an instinctive feel for melodic hooks (see 2014’s “Great Example”). By the time of his 2016 debut album, Islah, a ferocious showcase of rapping virtuosity, his sales finally caught up with his artistry, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard 200, and singles like “2 Phones” and “Really Really” could be heard pumping out of block-shaking car stereos across the country. A proud outsider whose records are light on features and star producers, Gates doesn’t fit neatly into any single sound or scene—but considering his stellar track record and consistent evolution, that status seems to suit him perfectly fine.

Baton Rouge, LA, United States
February 5, 1986

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