We were supposed to interview Kevin Gates last week but schedules kept conflicting so we postponed for later. Not necessarily a bad thing because it only creates more time to do research in order to create a stronger final product and not just another stale conversation.
While surfing the net over the weekend, Gates’ Real Late with Peter Rosenberg interview landed on my radar so I hit play. During the 20 minute discussion, the two cover a lot ground but here’s a breakdown of the charismatic, Louisiana native’s talk with the Hot 97 DJ.
1. His career started out with the bare essentials, much like anyone else (3:00)
“I started doing Cool Edit Pro before ’06, ’07. I don’t call that professional, I call that practice. Like Allen Iverson, it was just practice…I was jackin’ for beats. Get down or you gone stay there.”
2. His top five is surprisingly very East Coast leaning
“I’ve always been a fan of lyrics so it’s not really too many down South artists that I gravitate towards. I like the beats, but I always like the up North, the lyrics.
“I don’t like to really live in the past but as far as my top five, Biggie, Big L, they gone always be in my top five. Nas, Jay Z, Eminem. Them my top five anyway, you can throw Pac in there too.
“As far as we talkin’ about right now, that boy Fred Da Godson got bars. He got bars, ya heard me? And as far as with no beat, I like Loaded Lux on no beat. I like him, just no beat, just raw. Cause the metaphors, you know, I’m intelligent, you know what I’m saying? I’m an avid reader so you know when I listen to an individual, I’m gone process everything you saying. Was it witty? You know, how much thought went into that, you know what I’m saying? And that’s far as just lyricism.
“Now you want to get the pain music, that emotional shit, you know I’m gone have to roll with Starlito, that’s my brother anyway…He’s makes the kind of music that I make. Emotion-based music.”
3. He’s educated (5:02)
“I received my Master’s in Psychology in prison. I got my ACT in prison. I did all that in jail.”
4. He knows rap saved his life so he gives back to the youth (6:39)
Rap saved my life. It also provided an outlet with the Achievement Academy for me to mentor…I go talk to young people and we talk about decision-making and choices. You make bad choices, you reap the consequences, whatever they may be. You make good choices, good decisions, you know, good things happen, I will say that.
But I don’t go in there and tell’em ‘You gone die and go to jail if you make a bad choice’ because I didn’t die or go to jail with every bad choice. But I can say this: a lot of my misfortunes, I knew better…I can’t say that I didn’t know better.”
5. He has an Elvis tattoo on his chest (11:20)
“I had got a brick one time and it had Elvis’ face stamped in it…After that I started listening to the music…’Jailhouse Rock’ and all that there. I didn’t know he was a gangster like that…I don’t fuck around no mo’, just for the record.”
6. He loathes the music industry as much as he loves loves (12:30)
“The streets easier for me than music because I’m a good nigga in the streets. In this game [music], it’s a lot of people I wouldn’t deal with in reality, ya heard me? But because you’re in a position of power and I may need that position. I may need what you have, you know, so I’m gone be friendly. You know, just bitch niggas that come with the game.”
7. He finds jail to be a kinder place than the free world (14:31)
“It’s sad to say this but if you ever go the penitentiary, cause TV make it seem like it’s just ‘Oh god!’ but I’m talking about those are some of the most intelligent individuals you will ever converse with and that’s the only place, that’s the most respect on earth…It’s just a level of respect.”
8. He has a “street daddy” with whom he shares a relationship much like Birdman and Lil Wayne (16:40)
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“…And if you think about it, like with Wayne and Birdman, you know, I have a street daddy. I have a person that I call daddy that’s not my biological father…I got his face tattooed on me.
“I got a street daddy that raised me in the streets. I call him my daddy. He got two biological kids but you can’t tell them that I’m not they big brother. You can’t tell his momma that I’m not her grandson.”