Rapper Kevin Gates has opened up about his mental health struggles over the past few years and how he overcame them. The ‘2 Phones’ artist said it was his fans who ultimately helped him overcome his suicidal thoughts, and he believes they are the reason he is alive today. Fair warning: Gates’ comments are a candid discussion of suicide and suicidal thoughts.
Gates was on the Highlights podcast with Big Bank, DJ Scream and Baby Jade last week when he shared his story. He said he had strong suicidal thoughts and even “plans” in 2020, and actually wrote a letter to leave behind. He said things were worse the moment he deactivated his Instagram in December 2020. Ultimately, however, he said his fans turned things around for him.
“See, I don’t do the, ‘Man, I’m about to kill myself!'” Gates said. “I don’t want to be taken care of. I was going the samurai way. I’m just breaking because I got to the point that I didn’t want to live anymore.”
Gates said he was deeply unhappy at this time, noting he felt particular pressure to be “a provider”. He referenced his daughter Islah, saying he believed his birthday party in Cabo would be the last time he saw her. He also said he felt “tolerated” in his family life, never “celebrated”.
“As men, when you’re a provider and you don’t feel like you’re being celebrated in the appropriate way, you feel like you’re just being tolerated,” he said. “When I was on the streets, I hated going home because I felt like I wasn’t welcome there. You act like I’m just doing what I’m supposed to do.” We’re so busy being tough and harboring all of this resentment and emotions and issues that we’re dealing with. This pressure was over my head. I was like, ‘Man, I quit.'”
“I had a raw letter that I wrote about everything,” Gates continued. “I was just saying I don’t regret anyone I’ve stepped on; if I did, your mom didn’t raise you right. I wrote about how I’ve been in love before and I I was heartbroken. How the first woman to ever break my heart was my mother, and the only woman who ever loved me was my grandmother.”
Gates said he wrote this letter after returning from Cabo and then going to the gym. As he was leaving the gym, he said a fan approached him. This meeting may have saved his life.
“The white boy came up to me – kinda big, I see him in there a lot. He said, ‘Can I come over to you? He like, ‘Man, your music [is] the only thing that makes sense of this crazy world. I was like, ‘Man, the world is a cruel place. Trust me, I know,” Gates said. He then actually told the fan about his suicidal thoughts. He recalled, “He cried, and he grabbed me, and he said, ” If you do that, so many people are going to take their own lives because you’re all we’ve got.”
“It shows you how God works through people,” Gates continued. “I said ‘you know what? I guess I’ll stay a while.’ When I disconnected my Instagram and stopped making comparisons to my life and other people’s landmark movie, and started living for myself and really appreciating the good things about myself, and I love that that you have and have everything you need and really engage with myself and the world – that’s what really upset me.”
“If I only help one person with my story, with everything I’ve been through, then I’ve achieved my goal,” Gates concluded. If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.