When Kevin Gates stepped out of jail in 2011, he was surprised to discover that his fan base had spilled beyond the borders of his hometown of Baton Rouge, La.

The 27-year-old had toyed with rapping but didn’t take it seriously until freed from a three-year prison stint for drug and firearm charges. He is now managed by Young Money Entertainment and owns a label, Bread Winners Association, partnered with Atlantic Records. His first album, "Stranger Than Fiction," debuts this week at No. 37 on the Billboard 200 with 8,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

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