Top Two Tuesday: Kevin Gates and Future

Top Two Tuesday is a weekly effort to recognize two artists who deserve more attention, respect, and praise in the music world. Who better to start with than my two favorite artists, including the one who reassured each of us that, You Deserve It?


The Melodic Marauders

Kevin Gates

Louisiana rapper and honest-to-a-fault talent.

Image via kevingat.es.

Gates is a master. He’s my favorite rapper– not just from Louisiana or the south, I mean ever. He’s a weirdo, his PR is less than great, and he’s done some pretty bad things. But he’s so much more than that. His music is painfully honest from the get go; there’s no need to hide in introspective songs to reveal his feelings. Every song is pure like that (using pure in a very strict sense, dude’s into some freaky stuff). The point is, I’ve never gotten a deceptive vibe or even a hint of falsity from his music. There is no behind-the-curtain Kevin. He exists wholly in his melodies and verses, be they from his 2007 mixtape Pick of Da Litter (one of my favorite mixtape titles, up there with Boogie’s Thirst 48 and Big Bear’s Doin’ Thangs) or his most recent release, Luca Brasi 2.

His music is powerful at points and silly at others. He has a song about Twilight and a song about attempted murders. Both of them are fantastic. His hooks are usually flawless and his beat selection nearly always compliments both his sing-songy styles and his hardest verses.

I don’t call him my favorite rapper lightly. There aren’t many rappers that have their best songs in both their first release and their latest.

Listen to:

  1. I Don’t Get Tired (#IDGT) ft. August Alsina
  2. Satellites
  3. Angels
  4. Wylin

Download:

  1. Stranger Than Fiction 
  2. The Luca Brasi Story
  3. By Any Means
  4. Luca Brasi 2

Future

The sing-songy future of hip-hop.

Future honestly doesn’t need any more recognition– he’s a monster. Those two serve as more than just a lame hyperlink joke; as a musician, Future has evolved brilliantly. He got his initial recognition with the high-pitched, crooning hits from his debut album Pluto and the follow-up, Honest. I never took him seriously when he first blew up (I was still in my terrible backpacker days), only occasionally guiltily indulging in hits like the aforementioned “You Deserve It” and “Turn on the Lights.” Long after I had put down the backpack and the pretentiousness stuffed in it, someone linked me to “Throw Away” off of Monster. I downloaded the mixtape immediately and, after a few listens, knew it was my number one project of 2014. He’s embraced the killer croons/hooks of his older stuff while exploring a darker vibe and production. His honesty and melodies, much like Kevin Gates, are unbelievable. It’s rare for me to revisit someone’s work after burning myself out on it– I can’t seem to do that with Future. He’s locked himself in with some of the best producers in the game, and he knows it. His recent stream of projects are individually fantastic; as a series, with little time between them, they are seemingly unmatched. Even though I just got finished listening to his most recent project, I’m already tapping my foot for his upcoming tape with Mike Will Made It. His stream of quality work and consistency mean he’s going to be an industry leader for a long, long time. And I could not be more excited.

Listen to:

1. Codeine Crazy

2. After That ft. Lil Wayne

3. March Madness

4. Just Like Bruddas

Download:

1. Monster

2. 56 Nights 

3. Beast Mode 

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