Kevin Gates is a known American rapper and a songwriter from Louisiana, whose debut album “Islah” from 2016 almost reached No.1 on the US Billboard chart.

Early life:

Kevin Gates was born as Kevin Jerome Gilyard on February 5, 1986 near Baton Rouge in Louisiana.

He is the oldest child and has two siblings. He was always in very good relationships with his brothers and sisters and the one thing that really brought them all together was their fathers’ illness.

His father died of illness when he was only 17 years old so he had to become the head of the house although he just recently stopped being a kid. It was very hard for him to balance everything out and he tried seeking for his peace in music.

He grew up in a troubled and poverty-striken neighbourhood and often had troubles with the law. He was first arrested in 1999, at the age of thirteen for “joyriding” with his friends, and despite that he even enrolled the Baton Rouge Community College for a while but never finished.

At that time he listened to rappers like Master P and Hot Boy$. He had a dream that he will eventually become known as them.

He often emphasizes how it is hard to grow up in Baton Rouge without breaking the law because the place is too poor and the families living there are often hungry. Stealing and robbing for one meal is not something new in that part of Louisiana. Especially amongst black people who are living there.

Career development:

His career first began alongside Boosie Badazz and the “Dead Game Records” at the beginning of the 2000’s.

It was the period which opened up the doors of a better tommorrow for many Louisiana rappers. He decided to take his chance too and find himself some nice gigs in the industry.

Kevin’s first mixtape called “Pick of Da Litter” came out in 2007 and it was featured by Boosie but also with Webbie. Both of them are rappers from Baton Rouge.

His second mixtape was released under the name “All or Nuthin’ ” and included many of real events from Gates’s life. He is always true in his stories and as a songwriter who respects his own songs, he cares a lot about being truthful in his verses.

“Get in The Way” with Boosie Baddaz  (formerly known as Lil Boosie) made him recognizable in his hometown Baton.

In 2008, he found himself in prison, sentenced for two and a half years for a crime he comitted. He was sentenced for posession of drugs and an illegal firearm. He was young and wanted to prove himself and he didn’t know better and that he could succeed in the music world.

But after he was incancerated he didn’t waste time in prison and decided to educate himself through the prison program so he earned a degree in pshycology and was released earlier because of his good behaviour. He is very sorry of the time he spent in the prison since he realized that there’s no point in commiting crimes.

Pusha T’s invited him for a collaboration on the song called “Trust You” and he was also featured on the song called “Hustle All Day” by Gudda Gudda.

He collaborated with many known rappers such as Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa and more. This brought him a lot of fame since most of the rappers he worked with were more famous than he was and therefore he always gained audience by collaborating.

Soon after getting out of prison he started working on some music. His mixtape called “Make ‘Em Believe” earned some praise. “Young Money Entertainment”, a record label owned by Lil Wayne, showed interest in his work and a few months later he was signed to the managment wong of the same label.

He eventually started his own label called ” Bread Winners’ Association” and in 2013 he released his first mixtape called “Luca Brasi Story”. It earned good reviews and the known music magazine “Rolling Stones” named it in Top 50 songs for 2013.

The great success of his mixtape got him to sign a contract with a known record label “Atlantic Records”. The label offered him a bettter recording studio, more touring and getting closer to his fans.

Atlantic released his first professional mixtape called “Stranger than Fiction” in the same year.

This mixtape was also a success and came to No.35 on US Billboard Top 200.

Gates decided to support his tape with a music tour across the USA: “Stranger than Fiction Tour” lasted for about a month and was sold out. His fan base grew a lot after touring around the country.

Gates found himself back in prison as soon as he came back from the tour, because the tour was violating his parole. He stayed in prison for four months. This time, it was something the rapper wasn’t ashamed of. He said he did it for his fans.

His new mixtape “By Any Means” was released in the spring of 2014. This was a free album available on iTunes.  It was featured by many known artists such as 2 Chainz and Rico Love. This mixtape ended up in the first twenty tapes on the Billboard 200 chart.

2014 brought him a membership in the XXL’s Freshmen Class and a new tour arround USA. He loved going on tours because he knows that the people who visit his concerts are his biggest friends.

Gates showed a good business nose by creating his own energy drink “I Don’t Get Tired”. It is named on his music single with the same name.

His album, thirteenth in a row, brought him No.38 on the Billboard 200 chart. It was called “Luca Brasi 2″ and it had a single ” I Don’t Get Tired” which nade it to Top Hot 100.

In the spring the same year he released “Murder for Hire”, his new mixtape. The tape was received with very good critics.

The same year Gates was charged for kicking a fan while performing on stage  in Florida. He was convicted and received a punishment of 180 days in jail.

He is currently in prison and will probably be released in the summer of 2018. Media loves to talk about him as someone who obviously never learns how to behave. He claims prison was a huge loss of time, yet he is back in there for the third time.

His first studio album was announced to come out in 2015 under the name “Islah”. The meaning of the word Islah is “to make better” and it is also the name of his daughter.

It eventually came out at the beginning of 2016. The album was a hit and over 100,000 copies were sold in the first ten days after the release. It was the only debut album which was sold in that number in the whole 2016.

The album included guest appearances of Ty Dolla Sign and a known actor Jamie Foxx.

In the fall of 2017, his wife Dreka released a mixtape “By Any Means 2” while Gates was in prison. The tape gained good critics and fan support.

Personal life:

In 2015 he married his longtime girlfriend Dreka Haynes, and they have two kids together.

Dreka is not only Kevin’s wife, but also his manager and a co-founder of their label. He has great trust in her and they have a great marriage. He says that she is his rock and the one thing that keeps him save on the ground. She is always near him, watching out for any opportunities that could help him widen his audience.

Their children are called Islah Karen and Khaza Kamil because they both converted to Islam.

The media oftenly talks about Kevin as someone who should’ve spent more time working on his religion since he would probably be happier.

He is known by his many different tattoos. For them they all have a meaning: the star next to his eye is a sign for “God” and the cross on his forehead represents a soldier, and a compass.

He has got a tattoo of Elvis Presley on his chest. He appreciates him as an artist and always found a great influence in the world’s best musicians of the past. He never discriminates any genre.

Quick summary

Full name: Kevin Jerome Gilyard

Date of birth: February 5, 1986

Birthplace: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Age: 31

Profession: rapper, record label owner

Height: 188 cm

Weight: 92 kgs

Net Worth: $1,5 million