Next Up: Dave East


With the West Coast resurgence happening in full bloom as of late and the south cranking out hits left and right many have been looking to New York for that next BIG thing.

The conversation is becomes controversial when you start to discuss talent or even the city’s own radio stations showing little in the way of love for local artists. If a rapper takes a more traditional, Big Apple route when it comes to sonics he/she often gets labelled as a “nostalgia” act. It’s as if New York sound is something that should be left in the past. Some artists like the A$AP Mob or even French Montana steer clear of sounding like their backyard, for better or worse. And then there’re guys like Dave East.

The 26-year-old emcee isn’t your garden variety New York rapper. He isn’t the stereotypical boom bap seeking backpacker so many newer artists are sometimes shamed out of being. He’s just him and it’s starting to pay dividends. Growing up in Harlem but spending a lot of time on the 41st side of things, Dave and his affiliation with Queensbridge and Ravenswood landed him a lot of relationships aside from music. Those relationships culminated in a large co-sign, but it would be his music that ultimately attracted the attention of one of the city’s legends.

Last October news broke that Nas had signed East to Mass Appeal Records, a deal that ultimately started with Dave’s friendship with Esco’s brother Jungle. The Bravehearts member showed Nas his music, and it would be the culmination of all the hard work Dave East put in up until that point. It would also be the platform he needed and the guidance he craved. Dave has since walked those Mass Appeal claims back a bit, but a deal still seems imminent.

“The realest shit [Nas] told me was just, ‘Kill, don’t let up.’ More than to lock in and work with me and be a part of what I’m doing he just told me to keep doing what I’m doing but turn it up.” Like Nas, hip-hop isn’t the only thing Dave East wants to change. If it isn’t the world it’s his home he wants to improve. It’s bigger than hip-hop and New York but not bigger than his community.

“I want this to be much bigger than New York. I feel like that’s up to the people to decide. They’re always going to have who their ‘King of New York’ is… Of course you’re going to hear a New York element every time you hear me but I don’t just want to be that New York rapper.

“Anybody that gains a certain percentage of power through rap and doing what we’re doing, we’ve got a lot of power in our communities if we want to claim it or not. Anyway I can change or help out or bring back to where I’m from. It ain’t about changing the world, if you help change where you from maybe that’ll help spark someone to change where they from.”

– Paul Meara (@PaulMeara)

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Related: Video: Dave East – Toca Tuesdays Freestyle | Video: Dave East – Around Here

Previously: Next Up: CozzNext Up: DeJ Loaf | Interview: John Buccigross is ESPN’s Biggest Hip-Hop Nerd | Next Up: Rome Fortune | Interview: Prodigy & Boogz Boogetz’ Young Rollin’ Stoners Album showcases two Generations of Queens Hip-Hop | Interview: Theophilus London “Vibes” with Kanye West & Leon Ware for Sophomore LP

View all Next Up features HERE.

Catch up on all NahRight interviews and features HERE.

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