Kevin Gates Wrote “Hard For” in Prison

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For Kevin Gates, timing is everything. After dropping music professionally for ten years, the Baton Rouge rapper and 2014 XXL Freshman finally delivered his long-awaited debut album Islah back in late January. The MC’s first LP debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 album chart and gave hip-hop an arsenal of new bangers likes “2 Phones,” “Really Really” and “Kno One.” But Gates recently shared a fun fact about “Hard For,” a sleeper hit on the album that gives fans an insight about his writing process as an artist.

Sitting down with Grammy Pro during Austin’s South by Southwest Festival last month, Gates revealed why there’s a time and place for every song he makes.

“The song ‘Hard For,’ I wrote that song in prison. The song was so ahead of it’s time and it wouldn’t have been appropriate for any of my other albums but it was appropriate for the Islah project.”

Fans who saw Gates’s recent Pitchfork interview where he effortlessly recited Blink 182 and Creed lyrics might have been surprised that the gritty street solider could be a fan of alternative or punk rock.

“I have a ton of music. Some of my music, like my more rock & roll, soft rock, alternative rock, I feel like that music is ahead of its time. But when it’s appropriate I’ll release it.” explained Gates. “Im evolving. I’m growing. And I’ve evolved way faster than most of the people that listen [to] me. I have to give them time to evolve and as they evolve, I’ll give it to them when it’ll be received in the appropriate manner.”

Gates must feel that after just three months, his cult-like fanbase is ready for more music. The rapper announced earlier today that because his label, Atlantic Records, isn’t allowing him to drop another album until next year, he plans to drop a sequel to his 2015 mixtape, aptly titled Murder for Hire 2.

If you’re not evolving, what’s the point, right? Watch the whole interview right here.

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