Prolific and controversial are just two ways one could describe Baton Rouge rapper Kevin Gates and his career thus far.
Successful is another adjective that could be right around the corner.
The 29-year-old rapper will release his highly anticipated album “Islah” on Friday. It’s his first studio release with Atlantic Records.
To celebrate the occasion, Gates will perform Friday at The Bandit, 623 E. Boyd Drive, in Baton Rouge. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $25 on eventbrite.com. The show will kick off the second leg of his nationwide tour.
For Gates, “Islah” is an improvement over everything he’s done musically so far.
“ ‘Islah’ means to reform, to improve, to make better, and I believe that’s what my first daughter did to me,” he said on his website. “So, I named my first album after my first daughter because it improved me. It made me better.”
The new album includes “2 Phones” and the hit “Really, Really.” No matter the song — and there have been a lot, considering he has released 14 mixtapes in less than a decade — Gates said his work is always personal.
“Whatever I’ve been through or I’m going through, I’m putting it out there in the songs,” he said on his website. “If I tell the truth about me, what can the world say? I’d love to be accepted, but I’m not seeking acceptance.”
Acceptance of Gates isn’t easy. His career comes with accusations of devil worshipping and drug trafficking. Then, there are the stories that have been confirmed.
In 2015, Gates faced battery charges after kicking a female fan at a concert in Lakeland, Florida. That was after Gates had kicked another female fan in Mississippi, knocking out three of her teeth after the fan allegedly grabbed Gates and disregarded warnings from security.
For Gates, it’s just another part of his story. He’s brash and brutally honest. He still hopes people can relate.
“If you are a fan, it’s because you’re a fan of who I am psychologically, emotionally and individually,” he said on his website. “The world can relate to a human being more than it can relate to a superstar.”