STAFF PICK: Kevin Gates constructs rhymes suited to the big screen

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From the August 14, 2014 edition

Louisiana rapper Kevin Gates really hit his stride in recent years, releasing a string of good-to-excellent mixtapes beginning with The Luca Brasi Story in 2013 and continuing through this year’s By Any Means, a thundering cathedral of trap beats and chest-thumping, cinematic rhymes.

Gates, who sports a deep, weighty croak of a voice, has grown significantly as a storyteller, and his best songs unfold like Hollywood shorts. Witness By Any Means’ “Homicide,” a bloody tale of revenge and murder that comes on like a lost John Singleton screenplay, or “Tiger” off last year’s Stranger Than Fiction, where he spins the tale of a drug dealer who attempts to go straight only to fall prey to the machinations of the music industry.

At the moment, it appears a similar fate might escape Gates, who landed a major label deal with Atlantic and was named part of the 2014 XXL Freshmen Class alongside the likes of Vic Mensa and Chance the Rapper.

Chevy Woods, Ron E Polo, Cadre, Young Faith and C-Money also perform.

Jimmy Fontaine photo