Kevin Gates has been a hip-hop star in Louisiana for a while, but he only started to get national attention after his release from prison in 2011. His latest album builds on the momentum he created with The Luca Brasi Story, the mixtape he put out earlier this year.
Gates' most distinctive feature is his vocal cords. He's only 27, but his voice sounds like it's been immersed in bourbon and gravel for at least half of his life. It's an incredibly evocative instrument, and it's charismatic when coupled with his thick Southern accent.
You can also tell Gates is the type of gangsta rapper who writes every day. In "4 Legs and a Biscuit," he raps about watching King of New York, thinking about dinner, and getting shot in the space of a single verse. The music backing him up tends to be standard-issue trap, but occasionally something stands out, like the strange synth hook and flanged drum hits on "White Tan." Overall, this is one rapper to watch.