Ronell Levatte a.k.a. Big Gates (above, pictured with his brother back in 2005) is the business mind behind Big Gates Records who convinced his brother Algernod (better known as Plies) to rap, linked up w/ Ted Lucas at Slip N Slide, and the rest is history. He says he felt “extremely joyful” upon his release last week and didn’t do anything right away, feeling like it was “a dream.” That moment has passed and this afternoon, Gates is perusing a luxury car dealership in Tampa to pick out an appropriate welcome-home whip (true to form, he didn’t want to say which dealership so as not to give them any “free promotion”).
In case you’re late, Gates has been serving time in Florida due to his alleged involvement with a shooting incident at a 2006 Plies & Lil Boosie show in Gainesville, FL. He was charged with six counts of attempted murder. Firearms were found in the vehicle he was driving, which was registered in his name (and he was a convicted felon already). According to Gates, after being confronted with 90 witnesses the state planned to call at his trial, he took a plea agreement of 3 years (I’m sure some of you would like to meet his lawyer) and although he has now been released, still will remain “heavily monitored” for several months.
Big Gates Records’ upcoming projects include a double CD from Plies, debut albums from R&B singer Chris J and R&B group Unique Image, and the development of a white rapper whom Gates calls “the greatest rapper alive” that he met while incarcerated.
For more details, look out for the full cover story with Gates & Plies in the 7 Year Anniversary edition of OZONE, in stores this May.