On Tuesday, Kevin Gates released his February mixtape, The Lucas Brasi Story, as a nine-track EP on iTunes. Gates, who XXL profiled earlier this year in The Come Up, didn’t know too much about the repackaging of his mixtape when I hopped on the line with him last week. But the buzzing rapper out of Baton Rouge was more than willing to speak candidly on everything from battling depression to his favorite authors to what he’s looking to get out of the game. Find out below and make sure you check out The Lucas Brasi story if you haven’t already.
XXL: How are you Kevin?
Kevin Gates: I’m just coolin’ man. What’s going on?
Why did you decide to repackage the mixtape into an EP?
I believe that was something that was put together after Lucas Brasi took off.
How did you choose which songs would make the slimmer version of this project?
Can I be honest with you?
I don’t even know what songs are on the EP to be honest. I believe “Neon Lights” and “Satelites,” and maybe three other songs. I don’t really know, and the reason I don’t really know is because I don’t focus on anything else that’s going on. All I do is make music. That’s the only thing I’m here for. I deal with depression. So the only thing I can do for my depression is to record and create music. I make music. I record. That’s the only thing I really care about. It’s the only thing that I love doing. It’s the only thing that I’m concerned with.
I imagine now that a lot of people are gravitating towards your music, you find yourself having to do a lot more than just record for yourself…
I don’t even go in the world to see the reaction of people. If you think about it…It’s 2PM right now. I’m in California in my hotel room. I probably won’t leave the hotel room until night time. The only thing I really do is go to studios and gas stations. So I don’t know. I don’t watch TV. I read.
What do you like to read?
Nicholas Sparks. That’s one of my favorite authors when it comes to novels. I like James Redfield. I like The Celestine Proper, you know. Things of that nature. I like Anne Rice. I love vampire novels.
You don’t seem interested in the typical kind of fame most rappers strive for.
My music…it’s my journal. It’s my diary. I live life and I rap about it. There’s really not that much that goes into the process. Like I said, I really deal with depression. It’s something I really deal with. So I record and record and record. That’s my only way of dealing with it. So I don’t care to go work with other rappers. I’m not gonna go outside of my element to go work or get a feature with another artist. Whatever happens, happens.
Do you feel any sort of pressure though, having a lot more ears and eyes on you?
I’m not gonna ever allow anyone to put pressure on me. Music is what I love creating and if a major label were to tell me to do this or that… I will not allow you to take what I love and put it in a box. If you set parameters around what I love to do then it no longer becomes creativity. It becomes a job.
What other interests do you have?
I love being on the road. I love travelling and I don’t mean the airplane. I like road trips. I like to see different scenery. I like landscaping. I really just like to look at anything dealing with nature. I have an appreciation for it. Being that I was incarcerated, I actually did a lot of travelling when I was incarcerated, but I was shackled and I was on a bus. I’ve been reinserted back into society for about 17 months. But I always loved nature. I always liked to see what was going on around me, but the things that really move me aren’t things that are tangible. I really feel like what is life if you can’t experience it with a person you love. What’s a mansion? What’s a beautiful home, if you can’t enjoy it with an individual that you love.
Do you have goals of what you want to accomplish in music?
I do have a want. To be appreciated in my entirety. I don’t want to be appreciated for being a great rapper. I want to be appreciated for being a great artist. I don’t just make rap music. I make soft rock, I make punk rock, I make heavy metal, I make country, reggae, reggaeton. I don’t just do one genre of music. So I would like to be appreciated in my entirety.