Kevin Gates is...I literally write for a living, and I'm at a loss for words.
Kevin Gates is....
Kevin Gates is...without exaggeration one of the most complex, confusing, fascinating, double-take inducing, controversial and often downright bizzarre people in hip-hop. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone in the public eye more transparent about their faults, but instead of that transparency clarifying, it's only showed just how constantly shifting the landscape of his mind seems to be.
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I've watched that clip above from our recent interview with Gates on a constant loop for nearly 30 minutes now and I still can't quite wrap my head around it. The way he calls himself a "piece of shit" early on, the way he switched to talking about himself in the third person so casually you don't quite even realize he's done it at first? Who does that?
Kevin Gates does that, and time and time again in our interview we saw that whatever Kevin Gates is, he's always honest. And so when he says he loves being a gangster, loves the respect he gets when he's been locked up, it doesn't come across as typical rapper bragging, you believe him. He really is different.
And you also believe him when he says that he's terrified about the release of his upcoming album, Islah. While Gates has built the intensely loyal fan base he mentioned above on the strength of projects like Luca Brasi and Luca Brasi 2, Islah will be his first major label album, and he obviously feels pressure to deliver. No, pressure isn't the right word, not when Gates himself uses the word "scared" so purposefully. Kevin Gates is scared to death about this new album, which isn't something I can recall ever hearing an artist say so plainly before.
Honest, confusing, complex, contradictory, narcissistic, humble, vulnerable, intimidating, Kevin Gates is...
[By Nathan S, the managing editor of DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.]