He knows his lyrical worth.
Being an emcee who is under the mentorship of esteemed hip-hop legend, Nas, it simply screams the certainty of his lyrical clout.
In a recent interview with Canadian magazine SSENSE, Dave East revealed he is not the biggest fan of his collaboration with Lil Uzi Vert, “Don’t Try Me.” He does not find the song a suitable display of his lyrical abilities or persona. It is pretty obvious East is in a completely different rap class as Lil Uzi and fellow XXL Freshman classmates Lil Yatchy and 21 Savage due to their lack of thick verbal expression, which is an artistry he has mastered.
“I just did a track with Uzi, but I’m not the biggest fan of the song, just because that ain’t me. We all could get super high, get an Air BnB, listen to Metro Boomin, or one of these beats that’s killing the club, but that don’t really take too much.”
The Harlem emcee squeals on the reality that his fellow industry mumble rappers truly lack knowledge on hip-hop history and are disinterested in abiding by the scholarship about those who came before them. East finds such tactic instrumental to his stance as a respected, modern-day lyricist.
“For an artist like me that’s lyrical, that likes to write and do research on the dudes before me, I just really want to talk some shit and have you listen while the others are turning up.”
Not only is the raw lyricist in disagreement with the verbal approach of the strictly sound-effect filled mumble rap, but he also acknowledges the detrimental content it hoards, which is primarily drug user music. His experience bearing witness to the lifestyle of mumble rappers such as Future is evident in contradiction. Mumble rappers are fond of spitting references to using unrealistic hefty amounts of drugs, especially that of lean and pills, which will usually leave an individual either dead or comatose. In reality, some of these mumble rappers never consume such absurd amount of drugs, yet, there is the flip side of mumble rappers trying to live up to their extreme drug user lyrics, who end up in fatal situations, ex. Lil Peep.
“Future ain’t popping 40 pills a day and drinking all that. But he’s saying it – ‘I’m on my 15th molly’—and the people that are going to go try that shit are going to end up in a fucking coma somewhere.”
Dave East, who has collaborated with some of the greatest lyricists of hip-hop history from Wu-Tang Clan‘s Raekwon to Brooklyn’s finest Papoose, an emcee who is in his late twenties, is one of the modern-day lyricists who grew up listening to classic hip-hop. The classic hip-hop era, which is currently, dead, was musically geared towards activism, sensuality, and primarily documented the life of the hustler. The genre influenced an entire generation to become self-made and Dave East is striving to accomplish the same impact.
“I feel like when I grew up music was aimed toward the hustlers, the dude that was selling the drug, not the user. Now it’s more the junkie. This is the clientele side! Before you wanted to be that dude who had it and was getting his money. Now it’s the fiends ruling it!”
For an artist like Dave East to hit the surface of mainstream acclaim, nowadays is rare. The account of East, along with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and Joey Badass are unique cases, due to their ability to strategically slither their way into the board circuit of hip-hop listeners. East’s collab with Uzi was basically done out of pure strategy, on his end, and perhaps, the Kairi Chanel lyricist will refrain from taking strategic measures for now on, in order to maintain a discography that is essential to hip-hop lyricism.