“Everybody Hates Chris,” the latest and perhaps greatest album from Toledo’s heavy-weight artist Swill Gates, is the perfect Christmas gift for Toledo’s Hip-Hop scene. If “everybody” refers to Gates’ competition then it’s easy to hear why he’s so hated.
With production by Scott Lindsey from Big Bald Head Entertainment, DJ Mpress from Soulbeat Music Group and Corey Jones from Space Stacey Productions, Gates has made sure to pack two albums worth of genius into 12 tracks. Hip-Hop fans who miss lyrical content and beats that get the head noddin’ will find this album fresh yet familiar.
With a delivery that is as smooth as it is potent, Gates’ cadence and feel is authentic and overflowing with character. Interludes and comedic punch lines keep the album moving with ease and Gates makes sure to balance dominance with a humble, not-too-serious focus.
Gates, amongst the top tier of Toledo talent, cleverly weaves metaphors and analogies with comedic and socially relevant content, commanding attention.
“This is my first album as a solo artist,” Gates said. “I didn’t want to come with nothing wack, so I took my time. I was with The Basix since ’03 and my partners moved to Columbus. I was the only one left here and as time went on people were telling me to do my thing.”
After a year of production and writing, “Everybody Hates Chris” was complete and immediately generated talk among Hip-Hop fans.
“This is the first time I’ve had top-notch confidence in anything I’ve done,” Gates said. His confidence is justified. From start to finish, the album clearly demonstrates lyrical prowess and an ear for authentic Hip-Hop.
“There’s a difference between Hip-Hop and Rap,” Gates said. “Everything out now is Rap; Rap is mainstream and they’re all followers, there are no leaders. Hip-Hop is a way of life. The mainstream rappers just dress like they’re Hip-Hop.”
Regardless of how you differentiate Rap and Hip-Hop, Gates entertains and keeps the listener’s finger on the rewind button.
“I define success as having peace of mind about whatever your craft is,” Gates said. “People think it’s about money, cars and clothes, but real success comes when you have confidence in what you do.”