“Some of y’all haven’t been to one of my shows,” exclaimed Kevin Gates in his signature Baton Rouge accent as he walked confidently across the stage at the Revention Center. The crowd screamed as the MC paused on the side of the stage and looked out over the packed house. He quickly took off his jacket, donning a simple white T-shirt and red joggers over a much slimmer frame. The rapper, who recently lost 100 pounds, is known for giving his fans words of inspiration and Wednesday was no exception.
“Again, for those of you that haven’t been to one of my shows just know I’m not a rapper. I’m a speaker. I’m a motivator.”
Gates has been putting out mixtapes for well over a decade and has a large catalog even though he’s only released two studio albums. His debut Islah, named for his daughter, was a huge success, going double platinum and exposing the Baton Rouge MC to a larger fan base. His follow up and the reason for the current tour, I’m Him, has Gates giving fans the motivational, conversational flow that has endeared him with so many fans. Whether speaking about sex, drugs, crime, heartbreak, violence, and anything in between Gates’ autobiographical style resonates with fans that can relate to his stories.
Gates hopped across the stage Wednesday night illuminated by sparks shooting through the air amidst blasts of smoke while a massive screen in the background alternated between showing news clips covering the rapper, videos of him and his family life, his music videos, and distorted, real time images of the “Two Phones” artist on stage.
“I love Houston. I’m just glad to be back in the city,” yelled Gates as the crowd pressed forward against the stage and held camera phones in the air.
“I need to know who’s been here from the beginning! Who’s been here since Luca Brasi?!” he asked before running through a string of his mixtape hits.
Gates' start-and-stop style of performance kept the crowd engaged with the show. After every other song he would stop and speak with the crowd, cracking jokes or offering his brand of motivational wisdom. The crowd at the Revention Center clung to every word as Gates shared more anecdotes from his life.
“I want to talk to all the people out there that have real pain…the people out there that are feeling pain on the inside. I spent a lot of my career feeling like I didn’t need anyone and I could do it on my own. Now I see a lot of those people trying to help me were really showing love.”