Harlem rapper Dave East has the backing that most New York artists would dream of. After releasing his Black Rose mixtape in 2014, he caught the attention of Nas who was impressed by his skill and signed him to his label, Mass Appeal Records. Since then, East has carved a spot for himself where, due to his New York-centric street storytelling, he earns favor from rap fans of older and current generations. He's joined by a handful of New York newcomers that occupy this space as well such as Bronx-native Don Q, and Brooklyn-natives Cassanova and Young M.A. Last year, he released his most celebrated project to date, Kairi Chanel, which is named after his one-year-old daughter.
One of the tape's highlights was "The Real is Back," where East trades bars with Philly legend Beanie Sigel. "That was like a dream come true for me because Sigel is one of my top three favorite rappers of all time. I grew up on Beans," Dave said in a phone conversation. "Just to be able to be in the same room. He gave me a lot of game that night. We both Muslim so that was another level of respect. It was beautiful man. That whole thing let me know I'm still on pace to be where I need to be." What stuck out to Dave most from their studio session was Sigel's advice to set longterm goals, something he's been making an effort to do more since their exchange.
Today we're premiering the track's video, which was shot on Dave's aunt's block in North Philly, Beanie Sigel's stomping grounds. "That's like their Jay Z," he said when talking about the joy he felt from bringing Beans to his family's house. "It was like I was outside with somebody that's been my man my whole life but it was Sigel. It was crazy. RIP to my cousin Mark aka Mugga. He's in the video. He got killed last week."
When we first got on the phone, Dave told me that he'd just gotten to the studio and had already recorded over 40 songs to choose from for his next project, which hasn't been announced yet. In the next month or two, he said his new work will be out in the world but not until his family approves. "If my Moms like it, it's probably dope. She not really into all the 'shoot 'em up, bang bang' shit," he said. "I just value my family's opinion as far as my music goes because that's the ones that really know you. I got a daughter so I know she gonna be knowing my shit word-for-word in a few years so I try to keep it right." Watch "The Real is Back" below.
Photo: Screengrab of video via Youtube.
Follow Lawrence Burney on Twitter.