By Pat Gunther
Baton Rouge native and 2014 XXL Freshman Kevin Gates returns home to the Red Stick on August 28th. Arguably the hottest MC to come out of Baton Rouge, Gates paints a vivid personal picture of live in the streets of BR while providing enthusiasm and passionate inflection in both his verses and hooks.
Since he signed with Atlantic Records in 2013, Gates has been on the up-and-up, grabbing features from fellow Southern rappers Young Thug, 2 Chainz and Rich Homie Quan among others. His latest effort, By Any Means, which dropped on March 17, has sold over 17,000 copies in the United States, in addition to its popular status on Spotify.
Through humble beginnings in Baton Rouge, Gates has always used music as his outlet for personal strife and struggle, and began to record at the age of 17, according to an interview with TheBoomBox.com in April of 2014. Since the year of 2007, Gates has worked his way up in the ranks of hip-hop’s totem pole with a guest feature on Pusha T’s 2013 mixtape Wrath of Caine and a relatively successful release of his own, The Luca Brasi Story, which raked in 130,000, downloads on DatPiff.com
Despite his many accolades in a relatively short time period, Gates still reminds himself that he is indeed his harshest critic. From the April 2014 TheBoomBox.com interview, Gates stated: “I don’t feel like it’s my best. I look at it like this: it was how I was feeling when I made the certain songs that I made. Those songs are an expression of who I am as an individual, emotionally, psychologically and things of that nature.”
A reflection of his emotions, thoughts and innermost feelings, By Any Means is Gates’ most personal offering thus far. Though lazy at times, Gates’ flows and lyricism have improved vastly with age, and his personal style, no matter what your tastes are, is certainly tailored to himself as an individual, which may be attributed to his time behind the bars of Rivers Correctional Center.
“I had time to really learn myself and study myself,” he said. “I had time to experiment with my swag and my style and my genre of music.” It’s precisely Gates’ self-aware attitude that drives him to create music that Baton Rouge’s hip-hop heads can recognize and revel in.
Moreover, passionate on stage energy and presence allows Kevin Gates to connect with those in attendance rather seamlessly. For fans of By Any Means and Gates’ other projects, it’s a blown opportunity to not catch his sold out homecoming show on August 28th at the Varsity Theatre.
For those looking forward to the performance, Kevin Gates too has already set his sights on hip-hop’s throne and music’s upper echelon. Once the lights dim and Baton Rouge’s hip-hop prodigy Kevin Gates grabs the mic, you can remember that he’ll be serving up a dose of confidence, passion and dedication to his craft.