Kevin Gates: a masterclass in rap
With his new album "I'm Him", the Louisiana MC is showing most of his competitors who's boss.
For reasons unknown, Kevin Gates, 33 years old, rarely makes the shortlist for most important rappers on the scene. Yet the Louisianaian, whose career started out alongside local legends Lil Boosie and Weebie in the mid-2000s, is one of the most consistent and talented artists today. The ex-prodigy seemed to have a great career in his sights flying the flag for Young Money (he had caught the eye of Lil Wayne and Birdman) but went down the opposite route and made a name for himself with an impressive series of self-produced mixtapes.
He solidified his position in 2013 with The Luca Brasi Story, a string of sensitive street-rap hymns rapped and sung to perfection. As soon as he released his next mixtape, Stranger than Fiction, Gates was signed to the major label Atlantic, but he would have to wait until 2016 to achieve (great) popular success with Islah, his first official studio album carried by two massive hits (2 Phones and Really Really).
The Baton Rouge rapper has saved his most distinguished vocal tricks and best melodic choruses for I’m Him, released a few weeks ago. With not a single dead moment, and alone on the mic for the seventeen short tracks which make up the album, Kevin Gates is giving a masterclass in rap to most of his competitors as well as plenty of reasons for his listeners to revisit his vocal talents, tempo changes and infallible hooks. Push It is a perfect example of this extravaganza.
With spectacular energy, Gates’ reservoir of lyrics never seeming to dry out, he clearly has a gift for choosing his beats (the gloomy but massive What I Like takes the lead here). I’m Him is a strong record.