Outside of being Kevin Gates’ wife, Dreka Gates is her husband’s booking manager and co-founder of the Bread Winner’s Association, the record label her and Kevin created in 2010. The Hip Hop world first fell in love with Dreka from the imagery of Kevin’s music. Kevin rarely makes a song without mentioning Dreka, now his lawfully wedded wife but whom prior had been his girlfriend for 13+ years and the mother of his two beautiful children, Islah and Khaza.
As Kevin Gates became an Instagram sensation for his compilation of short videos that exude his raw personality and fully expressed emotions on various topics, Dreka received enough cameos to build her own fan base. Everyone fell in love with how much Kevin was in love with Dreka, and he never misses a chance to express that love to his followers. With Dreka not being a social media participant in a day and age where social media is the closest relationship fans have to their favorite celebrities, she ulimately created an aura of mystery.
In November 2015, Dreka finally jumped head first into the social media world, giving a more exclusive look into her lifestyle, and even more so, the personality that attracted the likes of such a hardcore, yet highly intelligent, love-crazed rapper. More recently, Dreka and Kevin have become the epitome of “relationship goals” with their non-traditional ethics and the unique commitment they’ve shared on a true journey from rags to riches.
Upon the release of Kevin Gates’ debut Islah, the album entered the Billboard 200 at No. 2 and debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Rap Albums chart, with his wife playing a major role in its success.
We caught up with Dreka to chat about what factors assisted in the success of such a long lasting relationship, her unique birthing experiences, and who she is outside of being a wife and a mother.
What made you finally jump into the social media world and go ahead and get an Instagram and Twitter after so long? What were your thoughts when you realized people had already fallen in love with you without you even being on any of the social media platforms yet?
It was really, really scary and I actually didn’t create the account. I was kind of forced into it [giggles] by our guy Raheem who handles all of our digital integration. He created the account and was like, “Alright Dreka, you’re live.” I’m like, “F*CK!” I was really, really scared because I’ve heard how critical people were and I was just like, “I don’t want to subject myself to this bullshit, you know.”
But it was crazy to see how many people knew about me for one, and were just that interested in me. I was like, “Wow, this is insane!” My thing is just playing the background, but now its like, “No girl, you are on front street.”
With you now being on front street and knowing how critical people are, what would you say is the key to you doing your own natural beauty thing and not worrying about the criticism and the regular judgment that goes on in an industry where lots of makeup and ‘perfection’ is the norm?
Uhhh, I dont give a f*ck! [giggles] That’s all. I just don’t care. I learned years ago that you can never ever satisfy anyone else. It is not going to happen. No matter how hard you try, it’s just not going to happen. So, why put so much energy into trying to satisfy another person or making someone else happy, or changing who you are when they’re not going to appreciate it or be satisfied with your efforts in the end.
You’ve obviously been down at the bottom and now you’re experiencing the top. What would you say are the highs and lows of fame?
I don’t know. I really live in a bubble. I don’t really know too much outside of what I work on. Even though I have an Instagram account, I’m still not one of those people that go to Instagram to check out other people or anything like that. I’m still stuck in my old ways. I try to put as much as my life on Instagram as possible, but I forget. [laughs] I need to do better with that.
I will say just starting out in the industry, the industry is very cliquish. You will get a lot of doors shut in your face and a lot of people wont f*ck with you just for the simple fact that you’re new. That’s another reason I just don’t care. It’s like now that people know who I am or know who we are, and they know who Kevin is and now you want to fuck with me? It’s like, “No, I’ll just stay doing what I’ve been doing and that’s just what it is.”
Do you admire anybody in particular? Is there anybody you’ve gained a new found respect for after meeting them?
That doesn’t happen very often. I will say there is someone that I have not met that I totally admire. You all are probably going to hate me for saying this. [laughs] I respect that she turned something so taboo into an empire without being an artist or a singer or an actress. Do you know who I’m talking about?
Who is it?
Kim Kardashian. People say all of these crazy things about her but I’m like, Come on! She’s still relevant however many years later after her claim to fame and has built an empire. There is so much to be said about that. That is insane! She sells her lifestyle and that’s amazing to me! That’s one person I admire. It’s not like she can go put out a record and sell a million copies and let the money come to her bank account. She’s selling a lifestyle. I’m truly amazed.
You are the co-founder of the Bread Winner’s Association and one of Kevin’s booking managers, and I know this was not originally your path. What advice would you give to other aspiring artist managers and people who are trying to go head first into this music industry who don’t necessarily have the proper knowledge?
Me and Kevin have been together 13, almost 14 years now. When I first met him he always wrote music and he was always recording, but he was just doing it in a room in his grandmother’s house. Then about 10 or 11 years ago, we were just talking one day and he told me he wanted to take it serious. I was like, “Seriously? Is this really something you want to do?” He said, “Yes.” I basically went out and read every book I could find. I went and talked to any and everyone that I could. Then again, people in the industry shut you out. So you really end up making your own path which is what we did. So I just watched other artists from Baton Rouge [because that’s really all I knew at the time] and just watched and saw what they did and I just did it for Kevin. Yet, all the while I learned any and everything I could learn about the industry on my own because nobody is just going to say,”‘Hey, come on let me show you the ropes!” That’s just not going to happen.
We pretty much just made our own path. We started off so old school, just basically getting any and everyone that we could to hear his music. From then on, we started booking shows. I would go to promoters that I knew who booked other well known artists and try to get Kevin on the stage.
What are your top three favorite reads overall that have helped you become the person you are today?
- The Secret — It’s such a simple read but the law of attraction is a major part of my life.
- Rich Dad Poor Dad — It totally changes your mindset on money and life in general.
Oh, and I used to read Trump books believe it or not. [laughs]
Oh Lord, you voting for Trump, Dreka?
[laughs] I’m sorry but I don’t feel like my vote matters, so I don’t vote. I’m not really into politics, sorry. He was a real estate mogul among other things and that’s what I was into at the time.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned throughout the duration of your relationship that has made your relationship better?
Never expect to change someone. DO NOT try to change a person you plan to be with or are currently with. That is the biggest lesson for me. I let him do him and be him, and he does the same for me. And be super supportive of one another.
Would you say it was always like that? At one point, were you trying to change him?
There was never a point that I was trying to change him. Yet, there were life lessons that I would try to get him to learn, but I realized I couldn’t force that on him either. I really had to allow him to go the path that he was meant to go down and let him figure out on his own.
On the new Islah album, I’m assuming the song “Pride” is about you?
A little bit of it. With Kevin’s music, he will put five different stories in one song. [laughs] Do you know he’s actually talking about a car? Kevin is very metaphorical. I’m dead serious. Me being in the video was just Kevin always wanting me to be in his video. So I’m like ‘Sure, I’ll do this one.” I wasn’t in the video because the song was all about Dreka.
What is the longest you guys have actually been without speaking?
The longest was about three months.
As far as marriage, would there have been a certain time frame you abided by, as far as being married by a certain time or in a certain amount of years or else you would have moved on and moved forward?
No, not really. I don’t feel like you can really put a time frame on that. If you force something like that, you may force something you really don’t want or something you’ll end up not wanting. I just continued to make sure I was growing regardless of what he was into and what he was doing. I just made sure I was always moving forward. I’m going to say this and I don’t mean this like a little puppy dog, but he just kind of always found his way back home [laughs]. He just got with the program and realized like, “Kevin, wake up dude! This is the one right here.”
What moved you to have a midwife and a home birth instead of going to the hospital? I even hear [Kevin] speak on not wanting the kids to be vaccinated. Does that mean they have never been vaccinated in their lives and they never will?
Well, I did my research. I had an incident in the hospital a few years ago where I almost died being under the care of hospital doctors. That was my main motivation. Plus, I’m really big on all natural things. Both of my kids were born in the water. It’s the greatest experience in life, love. It was like euphoric. You’re going to go to another world. You’re going to love it and be like “I can do this again!”
If you breast feed your kids that’s actually where they’re supposed to get their first vaccinations from. It comes from the mother’s breast milk, so that’s where that concept comes from. Sometimes they will recommend you get certain vaccinations. But, my kids have been out of the country and they haven’t had any vaccinations and they haven’t had all of the problems I hear about other kids experiencing. They may get an allergy attack or a little cold from us going from 90 degree weather to 40 degree weather. But overall, my kids are very healthy!
Who is Dreka outside of being Kevin Gates’ wife and outside of being Islah and Khaza’s mother?
I’m like this really laid back cool chick and because we work so much, when we’re down we’re really down. I’m in the house all day doing absolutely nothing! Next week after we get the house setup, I’m going back to doing pole dancing, and I think I might go and do the twerk classes they have here.
Pole dancing will have you in the best shape of your life, and it’s fun! I first started when we were back in Baton Rouge. There was this place that had just opened and it was just something I wanted to try. I’ve always loved to see the way women move on the pole especially if they’re a real pole dancer who climbs and does flips. It’s very sensual and I love it!
What’s one of the darkest moments of your life and what lesson did you learn from that?
One of the darkest moments in which I think had a huge impact on the way I am now—I had everything taken away from me because of lies. It happened my senior year in high school. I grew up well off. Anything I wanted I could have. I was one of the first of my friends to have a car. I had all of that stripped away from me because of lies. It put me in a really dark place. I didn’t trust anyone. I went into isolation. That was extremely hurtful because it was people I considered to be sisters to me. That was probably the darkest time of my life. Before then I used to put a lot into my friends. I don’t do that anymore. I’m going to put it into the people I know for sure love me like my husband, my kids, and work, really. I enjoy what I do for a living so it’s all good.
Your favorite [Kevin] Gates song?
My favorite? You can’t do that to me. [giggles]
Okay, give me your top three.
Top three? My top three songs are the ones that embody Kevin Gates. “Perfect Imperfection” is definitely one of them. That’s all Kevin. I’ll just give you my top three off the new album: “Excuse Me,” “Time For That,” and “Pride.”
Any last words from Dreka? Any advice you want to give to people about life or the music industry?
Always remain positive, no matter the situation. Positivity will get you a long way. Your thoughts do become things. If you’re always thinking negative and always thinking you’re broke, you will stay broke. Those are things that I say because they played a major part in my life and where I am right now.