The Source caught up with Dave East to talk about everything from his new project dropping at the top of the summer to who everybody should be listening to out of NYC

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We’ve heard it time and time again, those worn out and cliché lines about how New York Rap has lost its “essence” or the most famous one, “New York rap is not the same” seem to be brought up in almost every convo relating to the genre. To keep it blunt, those comments are some of the most monotonous and mundane statements in Rap to date. With New York City ushering new artists in recent years, the days where you pondered if the staple would ever return to its nostalgic sound are over and the new question in people’s minds is, “Who’s next to come out the city?”

Meet Dave East 


This 20-something year old hailing from Harlem, is the new kid on the block and with the buzz he’s been getting as of late, he’s poised for the long run. Co-signed by various Rap greats from Nas to The L.O.X, Dave East is embodying everything old while incorporating the new and some. Dave East paints the picture so vividly with his storytelling and in-depth hard street lyrics and is set to bring listeners into his world, also known as Harlemworld, USA. The Source caught up with Dave East to talk about everything from his upcoming project to who he wouldn’t mind working with in the industry. Check it out below


So first off, your buzz has been getting crazy this past year with the release of your Black Rose project then later in the year your Straight Outta Harlem tape. For the people still not familiar with you or your steady rise, can you give a little background for the readers?

Dave East: Basically, I dropped Black Rose July 2014 and after things started picking up, Nas co-signed and that helped my buzz throughout the year. At the end of the year, I just wanted to do a wrap-up tape of tracks that may have not made Black Rose or stuff I just had been recording throughout the year so I hooked up with Scram Jones and we put out that Straight Outta Harlem tape.

So you just mentioned Nas and it’s no secret other rap notables are feeling your music. How does it feel to get praises from people like Nas to the L.O.X?

Dave East: It feels good. That’s who I listened to when I was young and that’s who I listened to when I was hustling. It lets me know that they respect how I’m carrying it on with my style and lyrics so that’s super dope. They are the reason that I rap the way I rap, so to get love from them is cool.

So since the co-sign from Nas how has life changed? I mean, you’re getting noticed by a lot of people and you’re now the new face of Rocawear Blak. How does it feel getting all these new opportunities?

Dave East: Honestly, I feel like I put myself in the position for people to even notice who I was and it came from what I was doing. Of course, since Nas said my name and associate himself in a way with me, it opened up doors. Honestly, I just feel like all the opportunities that are given came from years of grinding, but definitely the Nas co-sign helped.

So quick question, do you see yourself linking up and making a track with Nas in the near future?

Dave East: Of course. That’s the big homie that will happen sooner rather than later.

Dope. That would be a good collab record when that comes out. So, I’m sure you’ve heard the uninterested words about New York rap and how the quote on quote “essence” of it is gone. With new age rappers out of city like Troy Ave to Joey Bada$$ bringing in their own style while staying true to the original New York sound, who are some other artists out of New York you’re listening to that you feel people should pay attention too? 

Dave East: I f–k with Manolo Rose heavy, that’s my bro. I like Tray Pizzy, Makarel and King Sole out of QueensBridge. I also like Young Lito out of BSB, can’t forget him. As far as new artists, I don’t listen to that many people because I be in my own zone. It’s nothing against them, it’s just I be in such a creative space it’s hard for me to get in tune with em’. The ones I mentioned, I actually have a relationship with them and are actually fans of their music.


So of the artists you named or even mainstream, who you mind working with them?

Dave East: Yea, I don’t have a problem working with anybody if I’m a fan of your music. This rap sh-t is all about schedules. I don’t like emails, I like to be in the studio and see what type of person you are and your vibe. I feel like music is a feeling and if I can’t vibe with you, there is no point of making music. There are definitely a lot of artists I want to work with, some are in mainstream already and others are dope that you may have never heard before. It’s really about timing and if paths cross.

How about you name three artists you wouldn’t mind working with? 

Dave East: First one would be Kendrick Lamar, he’s super dope and I think we could catch a vibe. Next would be Beanie Sigel, he’s one of my favorite rappers. I would say Styles P because he is my favorite rapper, but me and him already worked together. Last, it would be Erykah Badu or like Marsha Ambrosius. If I can pick who I wanted to work with, it would be those people.

Ok, so what about Harlem? You know Harlem is known for rap greats like Big L, Cam’ron to even Immortal Technique. Who are some people out of Harlem past or present if given the chance you would work with?

Dave East: Definitely Big L and Cam. Me and Capo (Jim Jones) got some sh-t already, so definitely Killa and Big L.

So Straight Outta Harlem dropped in December and we’re inching closer and closer to the summer, do you have some new music on the horizon that people can look forward too?

Dave East: Yea, there is a project that I am actually working on right now titled Hate Me Now, I been hash-tagging it on Instagram as “HMN”. Probably early summer or June right around my B-day it should drop. I just feel like with the records I got right now, the streets need and I’m just cookin’ it up and putting the finishing touches on it. I don’t want to mention who I’m doing it with, but the title is Hate Me Now and will be 15-17 all-new original tracks on there. So top of June, be on the lookout for it.

Thanks for the sitting down with us, we’ll be on the lookout for sure. 

Dave East: No problem, everybody be on the lookout for “HMN”

Talk music, entertainment and everything in between with Drew on Twitter @AndrewSomuah

*Photos By Nic Donovan*

About The Author

Hailing from the DMV, Andrew is a writer who's covered everything from NBA training camps to all things hip-hop culture. When he's not writing on everything hip-hop and hoops, he's usually practicing his stand-up.

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