Back in April, Kevin Gates released the sentimental cut “What If,” one of his only drops since his incarceration in October 2016. Now, Gates and his team come through with a Walu directed visual, which captures the thought provoking vibe of the track. Channeling his inner Joan Osborne, Gates interpolates the iconic grunge track with a cutting socio-political take, re-purposing the original message to suit the urban struggle. Kevin Gate’s powerful lyrics are given a new strength by the accompanying visuals, with evocative imagery of children in the hood, elders in a hospital, and police aiming guns at young black men. It seems as if, despite the violent crimes that ultimately led him to jail, Gates has found solace in the idea of a righteous path.
At the end of the bittersweet video, Gates offers his fans a handwritten open letter, which I’ve transcribed below. While some moments are hard to make out, his writing is mostly legible, reading as follows:
“Dear loyal family,
Disallow yourselves to be troubled in my time of absence. All of the great ones who came before and will come after me: Have had to go through this. by this I am speaking in reference to hardship. A great person is measured by all of the [great test?] they can undergo and still remain to to who they are. What that being said, I’m home. I love you all. In closing I remain the same. Forever, Kevin Gates.”
In case you missed it, Gates was previously incarcerated for six months after kicking a fan in the face. However, his sentence was increased over a weapons charge, which extended his sentence by thirty months. While Gates seems to be in a good place mentally, his music has been left in the capable hands of his wife, Dreka. As of now, she is currently overseeing the cultivation of his next album.