At this rate, Kevin Gates is better known for his outlandish antics than he is for his successful hip-hop career. Whether he's waltzing around in overly tight pants on a concert stage or embarking on social media tirades, there seems to always be a new controversial story surrounding the Baton Rouge-born artist. However, Kevin Gates' story from being a mainstay in the prison system to his modern-day notoriety is an inspirational one. Music was always the therapeutic release for Gates. He told XXL, "I could say I really appreciated it when I couldn’t do it. I missed it when I was incarcerated and was away from the music."
You wouldn't exactly know it in front of the bravado of his personality, but Gates has been through the journey of a lifetime to get back to where he's at today. His burgeoning hip-hop career has constantly been put on pause to a decade-long run of various stints in prison. For example, he was sentenced to five months in prison for kicking an aggressive fan, a woman, at one of his shows. Whereas hip-hop careers are usually fleeting, his ability to sustain his chaotic career off of chart-topping hits such as "Really Really" and "2 Phones" is downright impressive.
Kevin Gates Has Helped Re-vitalize Southern Rap
The 37-year-old kicked off his hip-hop career in 2007. Debut mixtape Pick of Da Litter wasn't exactly doing numbers, but his standout cavernous voice and ability to bounce from singing to rapping warranted waves throughout the Louisiana hip-hop scene. Kevin Gates' sound has always emulated the booming Cadillac-esq sound of the South. That sound conjoined him with fellow Louisiana MCs such as Boosie BadAzz and Webbie. It wasn't until 2014 that his local notoriety would translate to the international world of hip-hop. Kevin Gates got his first big break in the form of "I Don't Get Tired (#IDGT)."
Throughout the 2020s, Gates's focus has been on repairing what was a chaotic 2010s. Fully committed to his Muslim faith, family, and fitness, his modern-day look is a stark contrast to the enraged person of his early works. In fact, the Southern hip-hop icon was sitting in a prison cell as Islah soared to No. 2 on the Billboard charts. To worsen the sting, he was nominated for a Grammy that he never would've been able to accept in person. While the experience was a challenging one for Gates, it motivated him to turn his life around. Even if he was creating hits, the rest of his life was riddled with drug use and depression.
Gates Has Focused On Repairing His Health
Somewhere along the way, Kevin Gates transitioned from a drug-induced illegal routine to a newfound emphasis on fitness. Just as impressively, he was able to do it without compromising his madcap image in the hip-hop scene. The interviews are still as unpredictable and downright hilarious as ever. After the revelatory success of 2016's Islah, 2019's I'm Him saw Gates revitalized. Blown-out bass rumbles and sung melodies reminded the hip-hop world of his innate talent. The project also has moments of vulnerable sentimentality. For example, "Betta For You" is a heartfelt story of apology regarding past mistakes to Kevin Gates's daughter Islah.
Regarding Kevin Gates' relationship with his kids, he is currently in the care of an unspecified number of children. Many of the children he's responsible for are non-biological. However, he has two biological kids with his wife Dreka Haynes. In fact, Islah is named after the two's daughter. In addition, he's had two kids with two other women. There's no doubt that the increased responsibilities levied on Gates forced him to change his lifestyle. Speaking to us back in 2015, he stated “If I wasn’t doing this, I wouldn’t be able to provide for my children. So I would be laying down on them…it puts things into perspective, like, if I ever want to go buy a chain, I gotta be like really, really rich.”
Kevin Gates' Story Is Unparalleled in Hip-Hop
Both hardheaded and heartfelt, Kevin Gates remains one of the defining personalities in hip-hop. He's been on the streets of Baton Rouge, a Native American shaman ceremony, and the hopeless gates of prison. Amid all of the chaos, music has been the one continuity that's managed to (just barely) keep it all together. He partakes in a revitalized lifestyle which includes weightlifting sessions at 2:00 a.m. Gates is looking to encourage others to not copy and paste his past mistakes. That message is beginning to manifest itself in the music, as highlighted by the recent release The Luca Brasi Story (A Decade of Brasi).