Kevin Gates is one of the hardest working men in the game. Gates has dropped ten mixtapes over his relatively short career, and his buzz still continues to climb. By Any Means, his highly-anticipated follow up to Stranger than Fiction, has garnered an overwhelmingly positive response. Coming in at number three on the Itunes rap release charts, Gates combination of volatile emotion and lyrical content sets the stage for a movie only he could produce.
The Atlantic Records signed artist discussed his experience at SXSW, how he responds to critics & his ‘family’ fan base.
I just noticed how much my following has grown at SXSW. And I’m not trying to stroke my own ego…but when I was there, I’d been going years prior to this time, and you know people would know the music, people were familiar with who I was as an artist… but this time it was like I was SXSW. They recited the lyrics verbatim, so I was blown away –just to see people from all over the country, all different walks of life, all different nationalities and everything- and you’re a fan of me? I don’t really feel like there is anything that great about me, cuz I know me, I wake up with me every day…I’m boring to me, but ya’ll love me? I was blown away completely.
Gates consistently describes how he is ‘not being afraid to be himself’. With this, each song on his sixteen-track project has taken on a personality of its own, allowing his music to embody feelings that most rappers shy away from:
I vent- you get the anger, you get the depression, you get the ‘I’m in love’- you get the vulnerability, you get all of that you know, when you listen to Kevin Gates… I wasn’t afraid to be myself.
On his supporters - Kevin holds a dislike for calling them ‘fans’ and instead, opts to describe them as his extended family. He accepts both the criticism and praise, viewing their feedback as an opportunity for him to create better content:
I don’t like to call them fans, I like to call them extended family. Cuz I may go on twitter and say ‘what ya’ll think about this’ and I get their feedback and I get their input. And I don’t look at it as ‘Man they hatin’ on you’ or they being judgmental… no, that’s constructive criticism, I don’t want you to tell me what I’m doing good, tell me what I’m doing wrong. Now you know if you just a hater then we gonna step on you but other than that, we gonna keep it moving.
Produced by Emazing Smith