Louisiana rapper Kevin Gates has always been about the mixtapes, releasing one almost every year since 2007. He’s changing the formula with his first studio album release, Stranger Than Fiction. The album is a fast listen despite most of the fourteen songs being around three minutes. The speed can be attributed Gates’ driving delivery of words and energetic beats of the music. The instrumentals are the best of trap and work well to compliment the gritty subjects and harsh delivery of Gates. This music built and branded to be blasted out the car while riding around to great success.
Unlike most trap rappers, the hooks actually work with the rest of the track instead of serving as nothing more than time padders. They are catchy for the most part and maintain the flow set up by Gates in his verses. The one aspect of his music that doesn’t fit in my mind is all of the singing he does. Although it does help set the mood of the songs, it would be more effective to bring in another artist with better vocals. Gates already offers entertaining product and the extra help could push an album from good to great.
Another respectable feature of Stranger Than Fiction is the wide range of subject matters he is able to string together. ‘4:30 am’ is a real song about the late-night violence and betrayal that occurred in his life and on the streets in general. ‘MYB’ features KG rhyming with the raspiest voice heard on the mic since Ja Rule. ‘Die Bout It’ has a borderline hilarious monologue at the end of the song about being a true thug while ‘Careful’ features alter ego Red Neck Rick spiting laugh-out-loud lyrics. ‘Smiling Faces’ is all about the falseness and danger that can lie behind a fake smiling friend. The mix of tones from tragedy to comedy not only proves Gate’s creativity but also maturity. He knows how to strike a musical balance.
Kevin Gates is young but prolific and Stranger Than Fiction is not only more of what you expect but good step forward for his career. If you’re looking for hype music to bump this summer, then look no further than this album.