During a recent conversation on the Drink Champs podcast, Jim Jones reflected on meeting Kevin Gates for the first time. Apparently, he had no choice but to meet the rapper, who was freshly out of prison at the time. According to Jones, he refused to even consider signing to Cash Money otherwise. Ultimately the artist went with Atlantic instead, but at least he got to meet one of his idols.
“Shoutout to Kevin Gates,” Jones started the story. “One of them called me like, ‘Yo, Birdman tryna sign this artist. His name is Kevin Gates and he just came home from jail. He the biggest thing going, and Birdman tryna sign him, but we got one problem: he’s not going to sign to Birdman unless he meets Jim Jones.’” Ultimately, Jones decided to do Birdman a solid and meet with the up-and-coming artist.
Jim Jones Says Kevin Gates Insisted On Meeting Him
“I was like, ‘What?’ They was like, ‘Yeah, he in the city right now. Can we bring him to you? ‘Cause Birdman needs to sign this artist.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, tell him to pull up.’ Kevin Gates pull up. He still had on the khakis, still looking like he was fresh out of jail. I just felt his energy.” Jones says that upon meeting the artist, he knew right away that he belonged. They also went on to work on some music that evening, fulfilling Gates’ demands. “You knew he was one of us. Like, he came from the same places we came from and things like that. We sat in there. Did five records that night. Then after that, Cash Money got to do business with him.”
Though Kevin Gates didn’t end up signing to Cash Money, the encounter with Birdman early in his career still shaped his path in some ways. In an interview with VladTV in 2014, he revealed that Birdman had a major influence on him. Apparently, he even inspired him to start his own label, Bread Winners’ Association. “That’s gonna always be my family,” he said of Birdman, “for what he told me, what he taught me.”