Born Kevin Jerome Gilyard on 5 February 1986, American rapper Kevin Gates is a songwriter, singer, and entrepreneur. Kevin announced himself on the music scene with a couple of mixtapes like Stranger Than Fiction, By Any Means, and Luca Brasi 2, all of which peaked in the top 40 on the Billboard 200 chart. It was, however, his successful first studio album Islah, which was released in January 2016, that made him world-famous. The album peaked at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart.
Kevin began his career in 2005 under Dead Game Records, alongside others like Webster Gradney, aka Webbie, and Torrence Hatch, aka Boosie Badazz. Together, the trio released their first mixtape Pack of Da Litter in 2007 and followed it up with All or Nuthin the following year. Kevin, who has cited heavyweights like Jay-Z and Eminem as his influence, is known for his autobiography-themed songs.
Like many others in his genre of music, Kevin has had his run-ins with the law. He has been in and out of jail over the years and recently got sentenced to a 30-month prison term at the East Moline, IL correctional facility for gun charges stemming from a 2013 incident. He also made the headlines in 2015 after kicking a female fan during a stage performance.
The new generation of rappers seems to be plagued with a common problem — drugs, violence, and intimate indiscretion. It is almost impossible to find one who has none of these as a vice. What makes it sad is that their talent and craft are more often than not overshadowed by these scandals. Keep reading as we go below the surface to learn more about Kevin Gates’ career, artistry, and more. Firstly, here are ten facts about him.
10 interesting facts about Kevin Gates
- Gates has paid homage to renowned names in the rap business, listing numerous Nas, Biggie Smalls, Jay-Z, Tupac Shakur, Eminem, and others as his influence.
- Based on gun charges from 2013, Kevin was sentenced to a 30-month jail term in 2017 but got out early on parole in January 2018.
- Kevin Gates, who is from Louisiana, has collaborated with other acts from his hometown, such as Webbie, Lil Boosie, Juicy J, Pusha T, and Wiz Khalifa.
- In 2013, he caught the attention of Lil Wayne’s record label Young Money Entertainment and went on to sign with the management wing of the label.
- In the summer of 2015, Gates was the subject of some controversy after a video surfaced of him kicking a female fan in the chest while performing at an event in Lakeland, Florida. He was charged with battery as a result of this incident.
- Kevin got married to his long-time sweetheart Dreka Haynes in October of 2015, and together, they have two children, Islah and Khaza.
- Kevin Gates and his wife, Dreka, are practicing Muslims and they both went to Mecca for Hajj in September 2016.
- As mentioned earlier, Kevin Gates is known primarily for his “confessional anthems” that often blend autobiographical lyrics with refined Southern beats.
- Aside from making money from music, Kevin Gates also cashes out from his YouTube channel KevinGatesTv, where he has 7.14 million subscribers.
- As of 2021, Kevin has an estimated net worth of $1 million.
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Kevin Gates real name, early life, and education
Gates was born to a Puerto Rican mother and an African American father of Moroccan descent — his birth name is Kevin Jerome Gilyard. Before finally settling in Baton Rouge, he and his family lived in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was quickly exposed to a life of crime and had his first run-in with the law in 1999 at the age of 13 when he was arrested for joyriding in a stolen vehicle. His dad wasn’t really involved in his upbringing, and they only reunited when he was a teenager. He, however, didn’t have much time with him, as the man died from AIDS when Kevin was 14.
There is not much information about his education, but it is known that Kevin briefly attended the Baton Rouge Community College when he was 17.
Gate’s career started in 2007 when he penned a deal with Dead Game Records, a local label in Baton Rouge. He was under the label alongside other Baton Rouge natives like Boosie Badazz and Webbie. Together, they launched their careers, which indeed began to blossom in the mid-2000s. Both Webbie and Boosie collaborated with Kevin on his 2007 mixtape Pick of Da Litter. Kevin followed up with another mixtape in 2008, which was more intimate and telling. His career suffered a setback later that same year after he was jailed for a criminal offense, and he spent a little over two years in prison before he was released in 2011. Right after his release, he picked up from where he left off, releasing yet another mixtape.
In 2014, he released the mixtape By Any Means under his Bread Winners’ Association Label, and Atlantic Records distributed the project. Kevin had earlier signed to the management wing of Young Money Entertainment and started his own record label based on Birdman’s counsel. The mixtape debuted at number 17 on the Billboard 200 and generally had positive reviews. Towards the end of 2014, Kevin released another mixtape titled Luka Brasi 2. It had even more commercial success than the previous one, selling over 80,000 copies nationwide within ten months. The mixtape featured the single “I Don’t Get Tired”, which became Gates’ first song to make the US Billboard Hot 100 and his first song to be certified Gold.
Kevin’s debut studio album Islah was released in January 2016. With mega-hit singles like “2 Phones”, “Time for That”, and “Really Really”, the album was an instant hit. It debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and sold 93,000 copies in the US within the first week.
There isn’t much to go by here, but it is noteworthy that In 2014, Kevin launched his own energy drink named I don’t Get Tired #IDGT. This came on the back of the success of the track “I Don’t Get Tired” off his Luca Brasi 2 mixtape.
As you may have guessed, there is much to be told about Kevin Gate’s life. For one, his criminal records, and on the other hand, the many controversies that trail him, one of which is his admittance to having once had sexual relations with his cousin. He also has a lovely family, which we will say more about later.
Kevin Gates wife
Gates is married to Dreka Haynes, with whom he has been for almost two decades. The couple made it official in October 2015 after having dated for several years. When Dreka met Kevin, he was a part-time rapper who mostly did it for fun. When he eventually decided to take it to the next level and do it full time, Dreka went all out to support him. She gathered as much information as she could about the business and spoke to industry folks for insight. Dreka helped him get his rap career off the ground by acting as his booking manager.
Focusing on promoters who work with upcoming talents, she was able to get him his first few shows. She has remained a pillar in his life and career, and she continues to take care of business even as he has become a global star. While he was in jail in 2017, she handled the release of his mixtape By Any Means 2. In February 2020, Kevin released a song titled “Dreka” in honor of his wife. The couple has two kids together.
Kevin Gates kids – Khaza Kamil Gates and Islah Koren Gates
Born 30 November 2012, Islah is the first child of Kevin Gates and Dreka Haynes. Because Dreka loves “natural” processes, Islah was delivered through waterbirth at home. Dreka will comment later on how that was her best experience. Khaza Kamil is their second child and was born in May of 2014. Like his older sister, he was born in the water at home and was not vaccinated.
Gates also hinted that he had children by other women in a 2013 interview with Complex, saying, “I got some children. I’m real real close with them. I lay in the bed with them, hold them, love on them. It really doesn’t make sense to say [how many kids I have]. Not in a bad way, but it’s not like the public will ever get to see my children, and if they do see them, they aren’t going to know they’re mine.”
Kevin Gates tattoos
Kevin Gates is one of the most tatted-up artists around. He has an estimated total of 35 tattoos scattered all over his body. On his forehead, right in the middle of his eyebrows, he has a tattoo of a cross. There are also two teardrops tattooed next to his left eye. As explained by him in an interview, the cross is a soldier’s symbol, and the tears symbolize being forever in sorrow. On the right side of his face, he has a star and a crescent moon tattoo, which symbolizes Allah. The American Bald eagle on the back of his neck is a homage to his American culture and homeland. Right under that, he has ‘Islah Koren Gates’ tattooed in honor of his daughter.
On his back, there are tattoos of the word “Welcome” and that of Allah in Arabic. It symbolizes him welcoming God into his life. He also has the symbol of the treble clef in the middle of his chest, signifying his love for music. These are just a few of the numerous tattoos Kevin wears, and each one has significance.
Kevin Gates net worth
The rapper has an estimated net worth of $1 million. His major sources of income are his music and his YouTube channel. According to projections, his channel, which has over 7 million subscribers, could make as much as $13.5K a month.
Talent and craftsmanship are good, but stability is an important ingredient in making a great career. It is not wrong to say Kevin Gates would have been a tad more successful than he is now if he had stayed out of jail. He has, however, been out since 2018, and if he keeps a clean slate, there is so much more he can become. We are rooting for him from our end here.
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