Release Date: Jul 16, 2013
Record label: Atlantic
Louisiana rapper Kevin Gates’ The Luca Brasi Story matched the brutality of coke rap to earnest sentimentality and melodicism with such a finesse that it obscured the record's essential weirdness. Songs outlining the perils of trafficking narcotics were heard next to those inspired by romance novelist Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook and the Twilight series. In street rap, a fixation on romance is often seen as a mark against the artist’s perceived toughness, as if the one gives the lie to the other.
“These niggas lying in their rhymes/ You can stop pretending…And if you disrespect me nigga/ You gonna have to kill me/ Bitch I’ma die about it/ I’m from where niggas get it on/ We don’t cry about it,” Kevin Gates raps over the minor-key trap instrumental of “Die Bout It”. For over two decades, the gruff-throated vocalist sat front row for a Baton Rouge-based street-level education. Two years removed from a prison stint for trafficking narcotics, Gates’ debut major-label release, Stranger Than Fiction, arrives from a man that has graduated from the violence and depression of his home-base.
Kevin Gates’ rise from regional favorite to rapper-to-watch has been marked with the dual forces that often handicap twenty-something talents from the ghetto: label indifference and legal impedance. Gates spent several years in Young Money purgatory and then a couple in jail for drug and firearm charges, but he emerged from the experiences not with a chip on his shoulder but a new outlook on life. On his breakthrough mixtape The Luca Brasi Story, Gates established himself as a rapper able to tell both street life and love life tales with the same emotional honesty.
Baton Rouge native Kevin Gates has come out with his debut retail album, Stranger Than Fiction. After years of building regional acclaim with a slew of mixtape releases, Gates transcended to a national level thanks to his standout appearance on “Trust You” by Pusha T, off his Wrath Of Caine mixtape, and the critical acclaim of his 2013 mixtape, The Luca Brasi Story. On Stranger Than Fiction, Gates sticks to the freewheeling style that has taken his career to new heights in the last six months, presenting a melodic brand of street music that maintains a crucial gritty aesthetic.