5 Things Any Artist Could Learn From Kevin Gates


By the time July 2016 rolled around, Kevin Gates debut album, Islah, sold 690,000 copies. The "Really Really" artist even said that he was told that he outsold Rihanna's Anti album. But it didn't start out that way. Kevin once stated in an interview with HipHopNation that in the beginning, his shows flopped and that he suffered from stage fright. Kevin probably would never admit it, but there was a method or formula for his rise to fame. 1. Have Good Music Even If You Put It Out For Free
Mixtapes were generally known for being a compilation of music. Now-and-days, we've seen mixtapes having a general theme, and they are sounding more like albums. Gate most likely spearheaded this shift in how a mixtape should sound. He spent 3 years in jail for weapons charges. After his prison release, he dropped 4 well-received mixtapes. The music was honest, melodic, and sonically diverse. However, all of them sounded like albums. 2. Build A Regional Buzz
Currently, we live in an age where an artist can create a huge buzz online. Gates started out well before the music scene started becoming digital. This was when the main method of distribution was passing out or selling CD's hand-to-hand. By the time the digital movement happened, he had built up enough of a fan base that it started to resonate online. It probably would have never happened if he wasn't passing out music and doing shows in his local area. He was an established artist in his hometown, Baton Rouge, for nearly a decade. 3. Hook Up With The Right People After building a regional buzz Gates started working with United Talent Agency in 2013. They had already seen what he did regionally, and the talent agency's job was to build on that. They quickly started working on the Texas, Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi markets. They then moved on to the Midwest, and then the rest of the country. Prior to the release of By Any Means, Gates did a 4-month jail stint. By Any Means was released in March of 2014, and it had a better reception than his earlier mixtapes. By this time Gates was filling up and selling out 1,000 capacity venues and had even filled a 5,000 capacity venue in New York. This is the point where we start to notice that Gates was doing something that many artists hesitate to do, which is relentlessly and continually touring. It was easy to see that the combination of United Talent Agency and YMCMB Management was definitely working in his favor. He surrounded himself with people who worked hard for him, and not just for the company that they represent. 4. He Focused On One Social Media Account Other than his music, Gates is well-known for his antics on Instagram. In the past couple of years, he's admitted to having sex with his cousin, eating booty, and kicking a girl out his house for not giving his dog fellatio. However, his stories and antics brought more attention to his Instagram page. People that were not familiar with his music flocked to the Instagram page for his stories and antics. People started posting Instagram complications on YouTube. At the same time, he was flooding his timeline with the #IDGT hashtag on almost every post. The acronym, "I Don't Get Tired", eventually became the title of a song and a basis for an energy drink. His fans eventually started posting the hashtag. The song itself charted in the Billboard top 100. 5. He's Never Afraid To Be Himself Let's face just face it, we live in a day where a lot of artists aren't as authentic as we would like to believe. In the past year, we found out that Drake doesn't write his own lyrics, and Future raps about drugs but obviously doesn't use them. With that being said, on just about every interview or social media posts, Gates has touched on topics such as not vaccinating his children, his unorthodox parenting style, religion, and his lack of support for #BlackLivesMatter. These posts and quotes have kept him in the headlines for at least the past 2 years. The key here was that no matter who did the interview, his back story never changed. His Instagram just solidified his story. We captured moments in his life, which makes his story feel authentic and believable. The fact that he never sugarcoats anything, definitely added to his mainstream appeal. So what can you take away from Kevin Gates that can help you in your music career? Be yourself and people will respect you. Don't treat the term "Regional-Artist" as a negative word. Team up with the right people who have the know-how, and look out for your best interests. Make good music, and if it's good your fans will come to you. If you build it, they will come.
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