Kevin Gates
Instagram / Kevin Gates / @shotbyspencer

Rapper Kevin Gates has been locked up for nearly a year now, but checks in with fans via a letter published on social media.

In an Instagram post, the Louisiana rapper offered words of encouragement. “Disallow yourselves to be troubled in my time of absence,” Gates writes. “All of the great ones who came before and will come after me have had to go through this. By this, I’m speaking in reference to hardship.”

Read the full letter below:

Accompanying the letter is a video for his single, “What It”, which was shot in his hometown of Baton Rouge, LA.

The clip features children waiting for their mother to return from the grocery store, while later, we see a number of men standing up to a police officer who has his gun pointed at a young black man.

Gates is currently serving a 30-month sentence for felony weapons charges. Before that, he was sentenced to six months behind bars for kicking a fan.