Kevin Gates – Luca Brasi 3

Hey folks, welcome to the third performance review of the week. Like the artist I am reviewing, I don’t get tired, so you can expect the same level of quality as the two previous reviews. Today we will be getting into the 9th project (8th “mixtape”) of Baton Rouge, LA rapper Kevin Gates, Luca Brasi 3. First up will be a scouting report, where I talk about his strengths and weaknesses as a rapper, best works and other notable things about the artist. Then I will get into the track-by-track breakdown where I’ll make some notes about each song and give each one a rating out of 5. Finally, I will break it down with some final thoughts about the album itself and give it a final score out of 100 (see here for more detail on how I score tracks/albums). Without further ado, let’s get to work on this 6th job.

Scouting Report

  • This is Kevin Gates’s second (and first full length) project of 2018 after being released on parole early in the year from his 30-month sentence that began in October 2016, where he was convicted of battery after kicking a fan on stage at a concert after she apparently attempted to tug on his shorts.
  • This is the third installment of his Luca Brasi series, named after Don Corleone’s enforcer in the classic The Godfather. The first installment of the mixtape series was the project that got him significant mainstream attention from the hip-hop media and ultimately led to him getting signed to Atlantic Records.
  • Kevin Gates has garnered many positive reviews critically for his projects since he came on the scene in 2013. He has also released a very commercially successful album Islah in 2016, and generally does very well on streaming platforms and gets several YouTube views on his music videos; clearly has a strong fan base.
  • Strengths: 
    • Not afraid to be very vulnerable in his music; gets very personal on relatable subjects like depression and being institutionalized by the penal system
    • Has improved his melodic delivery over the years, writes and delivers good hooks
    • Can make a hit song
    • Strong, authentically southern rap delivery
    • Picks beats that fit his style
  • Weaknesses: 
    • Recycles the same flows a lot of the time
    • Despite knowing what he is, sometimes the beat selection gets redundant
    • Love songs/songs for ladies are attempted but mostly cringeworthy
  • Best Songs before Luca Brasi 3: Satellites,” “Arm & Hammer,” “I Don’t Get Tired (#IDGT) [feat. August Alsina]“, “2 Phones“, “Imagine That
  • Best Project before Luca Brasi 3: By Any Means


1. Discussion

  • Instrumental: classic Kevin Gates, cinematic trap instrumental complete with the underwater sounds
  • Rap: good delivery, as usual, references his prison sentence, eye-opening intro where he talks about how he can’t count on the “crackers” because he’s a black man in America
  • Hook/Songwriting: Long but delivered well, catchy
  • OVERALL: 4/5

2. Shakin Back

  • Instrumental: simple but still very much trap influenced with piano loop and heavy bass, good beat for Kevin by Rippa on the Beat
  • Rap: Pretty standard trap content on this from gates, lots of flexing about how he’s official and a boss
  • Hook/Songwriting: Uses spoken word and autotune in the hook, well delivered
  • OVERALL: 4/5

3. Ridiculous

  • Instrumental: Heavy on the  hi-hats and bass, piano and flute elements also included
  • Rap: Gates switches up the delivery a few times throughout the first verse, makes it interesting. More spoken word on the second verse, keeps the same flow
  • Hook/Songwriting: Two verses longer, spoken word hook not as strong on this song as the last two
  • OVERALL: 3.5/5

4. Money Long

  • Released with “Great Man” about a month before Luca Brasi 3 release
  • Instrumental: Similar to the last few, keeps it trap with heavy bass/hi-hats
  • Rap: First verse goes for a strong delivery and a slower flow, speeds it up for the second verse. Content mostly flexes
  • Hook/Songwriting: Uses autotune to deliver this hook, not particularly catchy and pretty cliche regarding the subject matter
  • OVERALL: 3/5

5. I Got U

  • Instrumental: Slightly softer sounding trap instrumental here but still uses much of the same trap elements that he uses in the rest of the songs so far
  • Rap: Hilarious intro to the song “I ain’t got no family!”, uses a bit of a melody in the verses, the first verse does a lot of flexing, second verse almost exclusively about the girl
  • Hook: Switches the flow up on the hook, but appears to reference the woman that he refers to in the intro
  • OVERALL: 3.5/5

6. Great Man

  • Released with “Money Long” about a month before Luca Brasi 3 release
  • Instrumental: Another trap instrumental with bells, bass, hi-hats, and piano
  • Rap: The first song so far on the tape where he gets personal about himself, references his brother that died, talking with other Louisiana native Odell Beckham about having nightmares and stressing a lot, melodic delivery makes you feel it a bit more
  • Hook/Songwriting: References himself and his self-confidence, not braggadocious
  • OVERALL: 4/5

7. Find You Again

  • Instrumental:  Lots of heavy synths and layers to this instrumental, changes throughout the song, evolves more than normal trap beat
  • Rap: First verse is generic with some references to his wife, the second verse is a heartfelt dedication and appreciation for her
  • Hook/Songwriting: Passionate delivery in his hook referencing his love for his wife and how the prison time tore them apart
  • OVERALL: 4/5

8. Adding Up

  • Released about a week before Luca Brasi 3
  • Instrumental: Hard hitting, bass-and-hi-hat-ridden trap instrumental
  • Rap: Mostly flexes, goes back to his tried and true flow for both verses, adds melody towards the end of the first verse but overall gets redundant
  • Hook/Songwriting: Strong spoken word delivery but the subject content is super cliche
  • OVERALL: 3/5

9. In God I Trust

  • Instrumental: Sounds like a very muffled Baby Bash “Suga Suga” sample behind the trap sounds, but can’t confirm. Best beat on the project; produced by Mad Max
  • Rap: References his come up and how he rose from different adversities and enjoying his life in true rap star fashion. Uses a break to
  • Hook/Songwriting: Very well crafted melodically, switches up his flow on it, references how God gives him strength through all his adversity. Motivating
  • OVERALL: 4.5/5

10.  Me Too

  • Released about a week prior to Luca Brasi 3
  • Instrumental: Softer sounding instrumental but still trap, similar to “I Got U” in that respect
  • Rap: Verses melodically delivered but also reference his lust and touches on topics most rappers do in terms of this subject
  • Hook/Songwriting: This hook is all about lust for a particular woman and their sexual chemistry, melodically delivered but it’s awkward to listen. Not for me
  • OVERALL: 2/5

11. Servin H

  • Instrumental: Soft guitar loop for the sample of this instrumental, heavy on bass and drums but the background sound is a nice touch
  • Rap: Deep intro referencing his happiness, has a melodic and autotuned delivery for the verses, keeps the same flow for both verses but does switch his tone up sometimes to keep it fresh
  • Hook/Songwriting:  Goes for both a hook and a post-chorus; hook with a higher delivery pitch, post with a lower pitch to mirror the verses
  • OVERALL: 4/5

12. Wrong Love

  • Instrumental: Vocal sample behind heavy hi-hats and trap-bass, gives an ethereal feeling
  • Rap: Gets very personal and regrets how he gave the wrong people his love and his energy and waxes poetic on how he needs it back
  • Hook/Songwriting: Again, very personal. Touches on how money did not equal his happiness and how the wrong love wanted him to commit suicide
  • OVERALL: 4/5

13. Luca Brasi Freestyle

  • Instrumental: Dark, piano feeling to this instrumental, keeps the trap sound in tact
  • RapFirst verse short but opens up for a strong second verse where he switches his flow and delivery throughout, at least 32 bars worth but the subject matter is cliche trap talk
  • Hook/Songwriting: Aggressive spoken word delivery, referencing his record label “breadwinners and being under pressure
  • OVERALL: 3/5

14. Shoulda

  • Instrumental: Different sounds to this instrumental behind the trap drums, has more of a mainstream feel to this, the whistle is super catchy, one of the best beats on the project
  • Rap: Keeps a melodic delivery through the verses and gives his honest feelings about how he feels about a dancer and how he’s attracted to her
  • Hook/Songwriting: Song is very hook driven, sings about falling in love with a stripper (dancer) and how he doesn’t want to be without her, also includes pre-chorus about regular trap dealings
  • OVERALL: 4/5

15. Kung Fu

  • Instrumental: Pretty standard trap instrumental
  • Rap: Raps about normal rap topics and uses many name brands but does state that he’s sober, taking yoga and in shape for the Met Gala, comfortable sleeping on the floor
  • Hook/Songwriting: Gives the same spoken word delivery that he does on a few other occasions on the project in autotune, but doesn’t use autotune here
  • OVERALL: 3/5

16. Don’t Know

  • Instrumental: Very heavy and urgent-sounding trap instrumental, beat and drums hit very heavy, right in Gates wheelhouse. One of the best beats on the project
  • Rap: Brings a frenetic flow that matches the instrumentals tempo, spoken word delivery without any vocal effects. Some of the best-delivered verses on the entire project, he switches up the flow for the second verse as well
  • Hook/Songwriting: Spoken word, fits the song very well, doesn’t try to do too much
  • OVERALL: 4/5

17. Tryna Yeah

  • Instrumental:  Softer sounding background sounds amongst the trap drums, nice and refreshing, allows Gates to convey emotion
  • Rap: Melodic delivery through the verses, subject matter switches from fucking different girls, trapping and driving fast fancy cars
  • Hook/Songwriting: Empassionately sings about people that are locked up and how they are people too, well crafted
  • OVERALL: 4/5

18. M.A.T.A.

  • Play on the Make America Great Again (Make America Trap Again)
  • Instrumental: Beat is heavy with bass and hi-hats, watery synths in the background that allow Gates vocals to come through
  • Rap: Speaks on political issues, different for Gates; wants the Mexican families reunited from their families and eliminating jail time for first time non-violent offenders
  • Hook/Songwriting:  References his origins in the trap and what goes on where he comes from, “Make America Trap Again” is stupid though considering the dangers of the trap
  • OVERALL: 3.5/5

Final Thoughts

  • Decent first full solo project from Gates considering his release from prison early this year. Shows he’s still committed to feeding his core fans, only one forgettable song in “Me Too.”
  • Still shows his willingness to get deeply personal with his subject matter and connect with his listeners as a human being
  • Sticks to the script; doesn’t really do anything too risky or beyond his brand regarding his sound; instrumentals do get redundant at times minus a few that had different elements to it
  • No features! Impressive and definitely is capable of doing so due to his ability as a songwriter but at times his flow got stale and could’ve used someone to help spice it up every once in a while
  • The project was on the long side, he could’ve left off at least four or five tracks off of it


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