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Kevin Gates recently appeared on Mike Tyson’s podcast, Hotboxin with Mike Tyson, where he discussed some deeply personal subjects.

When asked how he got into the music business, the Atlantic Records musician summoned the guts to discuss his difficult and abusive background, which isn’t unusual. However, he acknowledged for the first time that he had been sexually assaulted as a child, and that music had been his sole solace.

“It was an escape for me,” he said. “And I never said this in no interview or no podcast or anything like that. I grew up real, real violent and real aggressive. Not because I wanted to be, but I was molested as a child. So, I had this fear of being vulnerable. I took every kind of martial arts you could take. I even boxed; I did everything.

“I wanted to be the toughest person on earth. But writing and making music was always an escape for me. I never had the nuts to come out and say that. This is my first time saying this today.”

Kevin Gates is said to have lost contact with his father as a youngster and then reconciled with him as a teenager. Their strained relationship, however, was short-lived. Gates’ father died of AIDS complications when he was 14 years old. Gates’ first arrest occurred a year earlier, when he was arrested for “joyriding” as a passenger, marking the start of a lengthy and grueling legal system.

He spent 31 months in jail between 2008 and 2011, yet during that time he got a master’s degree in psychology through a prison program.

He returned to creating music after being freed for good conduct. Gates was arrested again in April 2017 on gun possession charges that he had been charged with only hours after being released from jail the month before. Sway Calloway maintained his innocence in a 2018 interview, admitting that he merely pleaded guilty to avoid spending more time in prison.

“I was innocent, but I pled guilty to that charge because, you know, a lot of times you can beat the charge, but you can’t beat the ride,” he explained at the time. “I probably would have sat another three or four years just fighting the charge.”

Gates returned the following year with his sophomore album, I’m Him, which charted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200. Khaza, his follow-up, is set to be released in the not-too-distant future.


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