Hearing music live, in its true form is, for me, a moving and connecting experience. The artist performs your favorite songs with emotion that you just can't feel when listening to the track at home. The words and the beat sound familiar, but the essence of the music is transformed. This was true of Kevin Gates' recent concert. His Islah tour made a stop at the Tabernacle in Atlanta on Saturday, November 14th, and the venue was packed. Long before the show, there was a line around the building, which is to be expected of any good artist.
Like other rappers, Gates puts up a gangster front, but his music reveals dark conflicts and pain he's experienced by growing up in the hood; something I'm not sure that some of his "fans" understand. In “Perfect Imperfection” he says, “They say my life is amazing; Funny been a question kinda wonder how I made it.” Growing up in a neighborhood in Baton Rouge often called Bloody Sticks, bullets, drugs, and gangs were just a part of everyday life that Gates managed to surpass. Behind all the tattoos and the glitz, he's just a man trying to provide for his family (all of which were on stage with him throughout the show), and I think he does that, as well as rap, very well. Songs like “Paper Chasers” are Gates’ way of expressing the hustle that is his life. He prides himself on doing that as co-owner of the recording label, Breadwinners Association, which features OG Boobie Black, who opened the show. After him, Gates gave an amazing show by performing hit singles like “2 Phones” and “Really Really” as well as some older songs like “Thinking with My Dick” and “Satellites” and other throwbacks for the day one fans. When he performed another crowd favorite, “Out The Mud,” one of the kids on stage with him took the mic and sung, melting everyone’s hearts. Gates was engaging with the crowd and at one point, borrowed someone's phone to take a selfie, which can be seen on his Instagram (@iamkevingates).
Anyone at the show could see the love Gates has for his family, his team, and his fans and the motivation they create for him. I realized that “I Don’t Get Tired” is more than just a song to him. As his signature anthem, he’s made it a lifestyle and a motto. Between songs, you could often hear his voice through the speakers saying those four words that drive him. Everything I saw and heard at the show gave me the context for the music and the life of the man that made it. The concert was definitely an experience both and the perfect precursor to the release of his upcoming album, Islah.
Tenia Miles, Social Media Manager