Meet the next up-and-coming rapper to carry the South on his shoulders

The Internet is known to help boost awareness for any relatively new artist. Kevin Gates, a burgeoning talent out of the South, has been a household name for the past year. To most outside of the Baton Rouge rap scene, Gates is viewed as the  next rap star to take the top spot alongside Lil Boosie. His growth has been due to his consistent grind in putting out what he considers “reality rap.”

Gates made some noise after his release of Make ‘Em Believe released in April 2012. The tape—which features standout hits “Satellites” and “Trap Girl”—offered a taste of his emotional honesty over hard production. He followed up that with The Luca Brasi Story, which was heralded among hip-hop heads and music publications as the tape to look out for. Now, he’s focused on the next project to continue giving his loyal fans some quality street music.

Earlier this week, XXL got on the phone with Gates to speak about why everyone has deemed him the next hottest act out of the South. “I have a nice ass following, but I don’t pay attention to that. When you start paying attention to your fanbase and you start paying attention to your following, I notice that other artists, they do things to get more followers. I’m not doing that. I am continuing to make great music,” he explained on his growing fanbase. We discussed his childhood in Baton Rouge, the response of Luca Brasi, his relationship with Young Money, and how he relates to Eminem.—As told to Eric Diep (@E_Diep)