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A brother who dotes on his sister is forced into a situation where he has to get her married to a ruffian with whom he is at loggerheads. Can their relationship survive? Director: Pandiraj Writers: Pandiraj (Dialogue), Pandiraj (Screenplay) Stars: Sivakarthikeyan, Bharathiraja, Soori

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Kevin Gates - I’M HIM Music Album Reviews

Kevin Gates - I’M HIM Music Album Reviews
The follow up to 2016's revelatory Islah offers another showcase for the Baton Rouge rapper's fully formed and gloriously weird personality.

Somewhere along the way, Kevin Gates got buff. It wasn't a magical Gucci Mane transformation, but the once dad-bodded Louisiana rapper is now fit enough to be the subject of a Men’s Health video, where he outlined an exhaustive regime that includes rigorous dieting and 2 a.m. weight training. That same dedication he brings to working out—or to practicing oral sex on mangos, as he revealed when that Men’s Health segment inevitably took one of those weird, sexual turns that Gates always seems to invite—permeates just about everything he does, including his music.

The follow up to 2016's revelatory Islah offers another showcase for the Baton Rouge rapper's fully formed and gloriously weird personality. Somewhere along the way, Kevin Gates got buff. It wasn't a magical Gucci Mane transformation, but the once dad-bodded Louisiana rapper is now fit enough to be the subject of a Men’s Health video, where he outlined an exhaustive regime that includes rigorous dieting and 2 a.m. weight training. That same dedication he brings to working out—or to practicing oral sex on mangos, as he revealed when that Men’s Health segment inevitably took one of those weird, sexual turns that Gates always seems to invite—permeates just about everything he does, including his music.

I'm Him is Gates’ official follow-up to his revelatory 2016 album Islah, although that ignores all the very good EPs and mixtapes he released in the interim. Parsing the distinction between albums and mixtapes is usually a fool’s errand, especially for an artist like Gates who mostly works without guest features, name producers, and other big-budget trappings. But I’m Him differentiates itself from his non-album releases in one key way: The hooks are magnificent, his most boisterous and fine-tuned since Islah.

Lots of rappers sing, of course, but few seem to enjoy it as much as Gates. Even the most naturally tuneful SoundCloud rappers from the last few years sing as if out of solemn obligation. Gates bellows with a zeal rarely heard since Fetty Wap’s 2015 singles run; even when he's singing about pain and regret, he offers the go-for-broke gusto most of us save for a hot shower. “By My Lonely” runs a scant two minutes, but its hook is so monumental the track hits like an epic.

Gates has carried a full-length project by himself before, but that doesn't make it any less remarkable hearing him do it again. Seventeen songs with no guest features should be a recipe for exhaustion, yet there's hardly a trace of fat on I’m Him, and most tracks clock in at about the length of a Ramones song. “Push It” belongs in a Rocky montage, while “What I Like” pits Gates’ voice against a blown-out bass rumble. There are fewer sex songs on the album than usual, too, which is nice. Wonderful as it may be, Gates' voice is not the aphrodisiac he thinks it is.

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He includes two bravely sentimental standouts. “Betta For You” is an apology to the daughter he vows to do right by (“Your mother had you waterbirth and I skipped out, I was scared/I was afraid to be a failure, prayed my faith would prevail,”) while on “Fly Again’ he offers a grandiose love letter to his wife. “We the reciprocal of one another, come from the same star/We got the same moles under our nose and we got the same scars,” he raps, his voice dripping with sincerity.

If I’m Him feels just a hair less essential than some of Gates’ previous releases, it’s because there isn’t all that much new to see. Gates folds a bit of DaBaby’s irritable yammer into his flow on “Facts” and on “Pretend” he flirts with a dancehall patois, both of which he more or less pulls off. But innovation has never been integral to a Kevin Gates project. The draw remains, as always, hearing one of rap’s most well-rounded personalities be his unabashed self, whether that means being a hardhead, a hornball, an unguarded romantic, or all of the above.


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