Kevin Jerome Gilyard (born February 5, 1986), known by his stage name Kevin Gates, is an American rapper, singer, and entrepreneur from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Born Kevin Jerome Gilyard, Gates was born in New Orleans and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Growing up Gates often listened to rappers such as Master P and Hot Boy$. Gates started rapping at 14 years old. Later with Boosie Badazz, and Webbie.
Kevin first began rhyming in 2007, when he began making music with fellow Louisiana natives Webbie and Lil Boosie. Gates first received attention with his 2008 single "Get in the Way" featuring Lil Boosie. Soon after, he and Boosie would be incarcerated in separate cases. Gates would then be released in 2011 and immediately returned to recording music. He would soon earn the attention of Lil Wayne and would start being managed by Young Money Entertainment's management wing. In early 2013, Gates released a mixtape, The Luca Brasi Story which was called "easily the best rap-related thing" in February 2013 by Spin Magazine, who also said he has "been a rapper to watch for a few years now". The Luca Brasi Story has been downloaded from popular mixtape sharing site, DatPiff, over 274,000 times. On February 15, 2013, it was announced that Kevin Gates is in a partnership with Atlantic Records. Gates was also featured on Pusha T's 2013 mixtape Wrath of Caine on the song "Trust You" and was featured on frequent collaborator Gudda Gudda's mixtape Guddaville 3 on the song "Hustle All Day" also featuring Flow.
On July 16, 2013, Gates released a street album entitled Stranger Than Fiction, and it featured guest appearances by Wiz Khalifa and Juicy J along with being supported by the single "4:30". Stranger Than Fiction debuted at number 37 on the Billboard 200 selling 8,400 copies in its first week. Rolling Stone ranked his song "Wylin" at number 40, on their list of the 100 Best Songs of 2013. His second street album By Any Means was released on March 17, 2014. It debuted at number 17 on the Billboard 200, selling 17,000 copies in the United States. Gates was named part of the 2014 XXL Freshmen Class. In July 2015 Gates released "Kno One" which was then included on Gates' debut studio album, Islah, which was released January 29, 2016. The album was inspired by his daughter, whose name is also Islah which means to make better.
In an interview with XXL Gates has stated he is a fan of Southern beats citing Mannie Fresh as a big influence. Gates also cites Eminem, Nas and Andre 3000 as influences to his lyricism.
On August 30, 2015, video footage was released of Kevin Gates kicking a woman in the chest in Lakeland, Florida during a performance. The woman filed charges on September 1, 2015.