Kevin Gates, soldier of the flourishing Baton Rouge hip-hop scene, isn’t satisfied with the master’s in psychology he earned during his time in prison.
“I’ve never been to a college,” says the MC from his cell phone. “That’s always been a dream of mine, to go to a real college, a real university. I know my experience would be different from other individuals because I’m me.”
Despite run-ins with law enforcement that go back to his teens, Gates remains a prolific recording artist, dropping 10 albums since 2007. He hit his stride on 2013’s Luca Brasi Story, then bitch-slapped the mainstream with By Any Means earlier this year. Six producers worked on the 55-minute disc, but Gates can’t tell you who they are.
“And I don’t want to know, to be honest. I just want to make music. It’s all I have.”
For his latest, Gates worked with solid brands like 2 Chainz, but the collaboration that sticks out is “Amnesia” with Alabama rapper Doe B, who was shot and killed on the streets of Montgomery last December.
“I was in jail when he died,” laments Gates. “So, you know, everything that goes on in the streets, jail gets it first. Jail gets to know before the general public gets to know. I was incarcerated when I found out what happened with my brother.
“I look at him like a brother. We had instant chemistry from the first moment I met him. And the times we did share together, I’m going to always remember those times. At the same time I don’t really believe in death. I just look at it as he translated into a different realm of existence. That’s what I believe.”– Nina Hernandez
’Twas a time you’d call Yellow Ostrich a throwback. That was before “emo revival” was a trending topic and Cloud Nothings were selling out shows. These days the Brooklyn quartet’s broken emotions seem right at home in the current scene. Who doesn’t like a band that’s not afraid to show its bones? February’s Cosmos found them five albums deep without the slightest sign of slowing down or tempering their anger.– Luke Winkie