Gucci Mane and Kevin Gates are two fascinating figures: Raw and emotional and instinctive and deeply weird street-rappers who influenced entire regions on a grass-roots level and who became cult heroes before truly gaining fame. Both have done truly troubling things, including acts of violence to women, and both have done serious prison time. But both also seem to be working hard to redeem or at least reform themselves. And both of them are also now stars. Last night, they both performed on late-night network TV together. That’s something.
Later week, Gucci Mane will release the new LP Evil Genius, part of that weirdly dependable end-of-year rush of arguably-underpromoted major-label rap albums. He’s released a bunch of advance singles, including the Bruno Mars/Kodak Black collab “Wake Up In The Sky” and the Quavo collab “Bipolar.” One of those singles is “I’m Not Goin’,” with Gates. It’s a fairly unremarkable affair, mostly notable for its weird minor-key Sool Got Hits/Murda Beatz beat and Gucci’s unfortunate line about “I’m too rich to put my dick in that.” But that’s the song they did last night.
Gates became a platinum-level star without crossing over to mainstream-gatekeeper institutions like late-night shows, so it’s weird to see him step onto the Kimmel stage and flex the casual mastery he brings to his shows. Both he and Gucci seem to be on autopilot in their performance, but they also both drip charisma and rap well. Watch it all happen below.
Evil Genius is out 12/7 on Atlantic.