Dreka Gates’ parents cut her off because she took her own path
If you’ve ever heard the song “I Don’t Get Tired” or you’re a fan of Kevin Gates, then you should already know who his wife, business partner and manager Dreka Gates is.
But for those who don’t, or haven’t read much about her because she’s private af, we got the chance to sit down with her and learn about her upbringing and how she manages her husband’s career. Check out our interview below to learn all about Dreka.
What’s your background and how would you describe what you do? Tell us your story.
I grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with very hardworking, loving parents. I was the oldest of two kids. My parents were well off so I never really went without. Whatever I wanted, I got.
It wasn’t until I met Kevin that people felt that I started “bucking the system.” People always saw me as this good girl. I never really had any boyfriends. I was the chick that everyone wanted but couldn’t get. I was super cool with all of the athletes. I was the “little sister.” I think this was because they couldn’t have me, lol. Seeing how they were, I vowed to never be with an athlete!
When I met my husband I sort of just wanted to break free. I was about to graduate from high school. I was going into pre-med at Louisiana State University. I did that curriculum for about year but realized that wasn’t what I wanted to do anymore. I love helping people but becoming a doctor just wasn’t the route for me.
So I went into fashion merchandising which I really enjoyed. I’m into anything creative. When I did this, my parents didn’t really like it too much. They thought it was all because of Kevin but really this was something that I realized on my own. I realized that as long as I did what my parents wanted me to do, the money would flow freely. When I stopped, they stopped supporting me financially and I had to do everything on my own.
So I went and got a real estate license and mortgage loan, originators license and worked a few odd jobs. Kevin has always been into writing and he said he wanted to become a professional artist so I was like, let’s do it! I read books, I talked to the people I could talk to, I would get dressed up and go to nightclubs to get the DJ’s to play his music. I would just try to get as many as people as possible to listen to his music. We just worked super hard.
Today, my work load is super crazy. I manage Kevin’s career and run several other businesses such as my clothing line, skincare line, energy drink, dog kennel, rental houses/flipping properties, and our nonprofit. I’m also in the developing stages of two TV shows and apps. I’m like a jack of all trades.
Being married to one of hip hop’s biggest rappers, how do you balance the fame and motherhood?
It’s a little difficult but I’ve learned to accept the fact that there is no such thing as managing my husband and not being “famous.” I don’t really like to refer to myself as being famous or being a celebrity. I still live in my own little box, lol.
As far as motherhood. I try to be as present in my kids’ lives as much as possible, but that is very difficult because they don’t always travel with me or us. Sometimes it’s just too much for them, so they have to stay behind with my mom or the nanny.
When we’re at home I’m like up at 5:30 a.m. and headed off to work out and they go to school and other various activities, so I won’t really get to see them until night time. I just try to do as much as possible with them, like going to Disneyland, having water balloon fights in the backyard, trying out cool new toys, and they’ll come and sleep in mommy and daddy’s room on the weekends, and just little things like that.
You dated your husband for over 10 years before you got married, how did dating for so long strengthen not only your relationship but friendship?
I feel like it’s the best thing we could’ve ever done. Things haven’t always been the best, of course he strayed quite a few times, lol but when he got down on his knees and cried and asked me to marry him, I knew it was real. Just being completely honest, had he asked me to marry him any earlier, I may not have told him yes. He had a lot of maturing to do, as most men do.
At the end of the day, we’ve been through so much. We’ve been broke together, we’ve been rich together. We’ve fought and had amazing makeup sex. We’ve built this amazing life together, just me and him, by ourselves!
He’s my best friend. He knows me better than anyone else and I know him better than anyone else. I couldn’t see me living my life without him being a part of it. We always joke about how if we were to get divorced how we would have these so-called “business meetings” and be hooking up on the low and our new spouses [would be] tripping out on how involved we’d still be in each other’s lives, lol.
What made you forgive Kevin for cheating on you in the past? How did you two get past that as a couple?
I knew that we were supposed to be together. I’m not making any excuses for him but I knew that he needed to get that out of his system.
My dad was the star athlete in high school and my mom was the dance team captain and they had me at a young age. I literally watched my dad mature and grow up. It’s sad to say but I sort of watched my mom go through the same thing with my dad and they finally got to the light at the end of the tunnel.
So, with Kevin, I knew that it wasn’t forever. If he would’ve continued to do it, we wouldn’t be together today. We were friends before we became a couple so I think that played a major part in it. I would break up with him and go on my separate way.
Months passed and he would come back and apologize and realize that I was the best person for him. We worked out our differences! We talk to each other about any and everything and we find solutions to our problems. We may argue or disagree but that usually doesn’t last longer for more than a few hours.
How did your upbringing shape you into the young woman you are today?
My parents were really strict. They taught me the value of hard work and how it really does pay off. They taught me to have a mind of my own and to not be a follower.
My dad would always tell me, “If better is possible, then you’re not your best.” So I push myself to the max every single day. Even though my husband is gone my days are completely consumed with the many different projects and businesses that we have. I’m always just improving things and just trying to make life better for us and our kids.
Being a public figure, you deal with just as much hate as you do love, how do you handle this and how long has it taken you to adjust to this lifestyle?
Oh jeez. I don’t know if I have adjusted to that just yet. I never read any comments. I don’t read articles. I never go surfing on Instagram. I couldn’t even tell you how many likes I get on pictures.
I’m scared, because I’m a really sensitive person and I’m sort of a perfectionist and one thing I hate is for people to speak on things or just make rude comments for the hell of it. So I’m working on that.
I don’t really care what people say about me, which is why I live my life the way that I do. I surround myself with people who are super positive and supportive of what I have going on. If you aren’t, you have to go! I do not allow any negativity into my space!
Tell us about a difficult time in your life that you overcame and explain how you do so.
Damn! I’ve had a lot of those! The one that really shaped me and prepared me for the rest of the hard times to come was when my parents cut me off.
They took my car, stopped paying for school and really cut my ass off because I wasn’t doing what they wanted me to do. I had nowhere to live or anything!
I remember that day like it was yesterday. I had to go drop my car off to my parents, and I had to walk with my bag to meet Kevin to come pick me up. He and his grandmother took me in and let me stay with them. From then on, I had to do everything on my own without any help. That was probably the hardest time in my life.
From then on, I told myself that I would never depend on anyone for financial help or anything. That was a hurting feeling, having everything taken away from you. That shit made me hella strong, though. No matter what, I will always find a way. I will never be without.
It took me years to get to where I am right now. I started off in a one-bedroom duplex and now I own several different businesses, live in an 8,000-square-foot house in Calabasas, have six cars, am married to the love of my life, having two beautiful children with him, getting to travel the world and live this amazing life!
One thing, though, that I feel like everyone needs to know is that this stuff doesn’t happen overnight. I’ve never lived beyond my means. All of the things that we’ve acquired have happened over time and not overnight. The size of homes and number of vehicles and the type of trips and clothing and all of that has grown over the years.
Shoot for the stars and allow yourself to grow! There are levels to this shit!
Did your parents cutting you completely off affect your relationship from them? Are you all in a better place now?
Yes, it did. I went years without seeing or speaking to my parents. I was hurt and I was alone. I was forced to find my own way.
The relationship is a lot better now. When Kevin and I were having our first kid, Islah, that’s when things changed and got better. I love my parents for all of things that they taught me as a kid. A lot of the stuff didn’t make sense then. It wasn’t until I was an adult and on my own that things started to click.
Where did you love for music stem from and what made you decide to be a part of the industry?
Music was always in my household. My dad had me listening to everything from Jazz to Biggie, Tupac, & Warren G.
I remember one of his favorite songs being “Regulators.” “It was a clear black night, a clear white moon, Warren G on the streets.” That was our shit! So naturally I love music and listen to every genre there is.
Kevin is my favorite artist, of course! No bias, I swear. Right now I’m really into dance music, though. Times can be a little difficult for me right now especially missing Kevin, so I prefer to listen to the happy, walking on the sun type dance music to keep my spirits up!
My husband is the reason why I actually work in the music biz though. He’s a real artist. He wanted to make music professionally so I was like “Let’s do it!” I learned the business for myself.
Being a beautiful woman in a male-dominated industry isn’t easy. What tips do you have for women looking to join the music industry as a manager like yourself?
I would tell a woman to stand your ground. I don’t know what it is, but men don’t respect women in the business. You have to let people know that you’re about your business and nothing else. You have to show them that you’re serious and you don’t play!
My story is funny. I learned EARLY on that women weren’t really respected in this business and it made it hard for me to get shit done. So, I always worked through other men. Men that knew me knew that I was the one that really called all of the shots.
For years, people didn’t know who the hell I was or that I even existed. This one time, one of the guys that we had been dealing with, but he always dealt with the guy that I would “work through,” I finally met him in person and he was like, “So, you’re Dreka! You’re the one that everyone’s been telling me about. You’re like this queen that sits up in a castle and making all of the decisions!”
I was like, “Yeah, something like that.” So it may be beneficial to a woman to have a male partner in the very beginning just to start making moves and then be like, “Bam, yeah. I’m the one that’s running shit!” It’s so sad but so true. I need my men to start respecting women as equals in business! That’s something we really need. My husband gets it, though. He got it from day one! We work really well together.
From starting your record label alongside your husband and being where you are now, what are some things you would have done differently?
I don’t know. I feel like the journey is as it should be. I love learning through my own experiences. I know that we could have avoided a lot of things if we would have had the proper guidance but no one was really willing to help us so we had to learn it all by ourselves. Our journey has been a good one. I don’t regret anything that we’ve done.
Recently, your husband has been dealing with a serious legal battle. How have you kept the business going, taking care of your family, and most importantly yourself? What advice do you have for women who hold it down during hard times?
I’ve just been maintaining the things that I can in his absence. We were gearing up to release his next album but we’re missing a few key songs so now we’re working on another mixtape project.
I basically have to stay strong for everyone! My kids, my husband, my employees. It gets overwhelming at times. I’ve started back working out and I try to do as many fun things as possible. I’ve been playing tourist at home in Los Angeles by going down to Hollywood and going to museums and stuff like that. I’ve also been going to theme parks and stuff just to free my mind up and have a little fun. I don’t really feel right traveling and going on vacations and stuff without my hubby.
My advice to women is number one, stay strong. It’s not forever! Accept the situation and look for ways to improve it. All you can do is work your ass off to maintain and to improve yourself and to improve the things that may need improvement so that when your spouse comes back things are just better than they were before.
I don’t just mean this in a financial way. Get yourself together. Show yourself some love. Fix something that you’d been dealing with yourself. But most importantly, have a little fun, do things that allow you to let your hair down. Don’t dwell on the situation and just know that it’s just a test. Don’t fail it! It’s not forever!
What is something about you that people can’t read about online? Something you don’t share with most?
I have a heart of gold which is why I’m so protective of it and the people that I allow into my life. I will go to the end of the world for someone that I care about. I’m goofy as hell and love to have fun. I’m super adventurous! I’m up for just about anything.
I’m also really sensitive to people’s energy. If your intentions are wrong, or if you have bad energy, I sense it immediately!
What do you really want your followers to take away from this interview?
I want people to know that managing my husband is one of my many jobs. I want people to know that anything is possible. I had everything taken away from me but I worked my ass off and knew that it wasn’t the end of the world. I kept pushing and pushing and now I’m living my dream.