[artist id="2034479"]Plies[/artist] is breathing a little easier these days — his brother, Ronell "Big Gates" Levatte, has been released after three years in prison.
"I thank everybody that continued to support not only me, but my situation. I thank everybody that continued to pray for my situation with my brother," Plies said on Friday, the day after Big Gates' release. Gates began his sentence in 2006 for his involvement in a shooting at a club in Gainesville, Florida.
"I had an opportunity yesterday — April 9, a day I'll never forget — I had a chance to go down to Coleman correctional facility and see him walk out," Plies said. "That meant everything to me. I haven't had a chance to enjoy an Easter with him over the course of the last three years, man. I told him I was gonna take yesterday off — let's take time to smell the roses. But he came home straight in work mode. Thank God for the opportunity, man, and everybody who prayed for the situation around the country. It means everything to me. That was a part of my life I've been missing for a few years. That was his second time in prison I told him either one of us can go down this road. We don't do each other good for me to go to prison or him to go to prison. For me to see him come home was everything to me."
Plies has often talked about his brother — as well as others in the black community who have been incarcerated — in songs such as "100 Years," "Die Together" and "2nd Chance," off his current album, Da Realist.
"I think it's important," he said about addressing the prison system and its inequities. "[Me and my brother] talked a long time yesterday and, like I said, it's so many more people. He gave it to me in the simplest form possible. He said, 'Behind that wall, there's more people who are suffering, struggling, disappointed, sincerely hurting.' People will never understand it unless you are a part of that system. People tell you that some people deserve to be there. I can't never say they wrong. But I do know it's a lot of people in those situations. It's a lot of pain and struggle that they go through. My new vow that I made to myself is that regardless of my situation and my fame, [rapping about the penile system] that's something that's always gonna be a part of me and my responsibility to do everything I can to make sure that those people's voices behind those walls live on. I'll always be a representation of them."
Plies' next single, "Plenty Money," is due later this year, and he also plans to drop a new LP in August or September. The MC's reality show, "Goonette," is currently being shopped to various cable networks.