Fun fact: Before Drake came though and crushed everyone, Kevin Gates’ messy and uncompromising Islah was 2016’s best-selling rap album. The man has become a bona fide rap star, even if the world is still catching up. Gates hasn’t really started showing up on TV yet with any regularity, so it was very cool to see him doing musical-guest duty on Conan last night, looking proud and overwhelmed. On the show, he wore a natty suit and rapped Islah’s two singles, “2 Phones” and “Really Really.” And while a late-night performance can’t hope to capture the communal intensity of Gates’ live show, he still has a serious presence. During the quick pause between songs, Gates sounded entirely overcome as he thanked the audience, and he also gave Conan O’Brien a big bear hug when it was all done. Watch it below.
Islah is out now on Bread Winners’ Association/Atlantic.