Wichita hip-hop artist Sean Gates has just released his fourth album, “Compelling Argument,” which is now playing on all streaming platforms.

The rapper, who uses the stage name IZ-316, urges his listeners to “be more loving, be kind, and take care of your mental health.” 

The soft-spoken Gates is a teacher by trade. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science and ethnic studies from Wichita State University and a day job teaching English as a Second Language at the Wichita Indo-Chinese Center.

“I worked for a while as a truancy officer and I got to know firsthand what some students face everyday,” he said. 

“My music is meant to help them. I address the need for kindness in my music and in the way I live my life.”

The Wichita native’s interest in education is also a family tradition. His dad is an East High grad,  his mother is a teacher at Gordon Parks Academy and a brother has a day program for troubled youth.

“I do rap, I’m a young Black male and that sometimes causes people to make assumptions that aren’t accurate,” he said. “I consider myself a socially conscious rapper.”

He is an independent artist with a recording studio in his home, but said he makes regular networking trips to New York City and he had a chance to work with an artist who has also worked with Whitney Houston.

“So, I’m just a local, independent artist, but I’ve had some national exposure,” he said.

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P.J. Griekspoor is a semi-retired veteran journalist with 55 years experience in writing and editing in Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina and Wichita.  She spent 18 years at the Wichita Eagle...

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