By Nadir Roberts
Dave East, one of Harlem’s most talented artists, released his second EP, “Paranoia 2,” on Jan. 16. A 15-track mix of nitty-gritty street rap and New York lyricism, the album details East’s life in the city, his journey to adulthood and his role models.
With strong features from artists like T.I., Tory Lanez, Lloyd Banks and more, “Paranoia 2” is a solid collection of songs, and is exactly what fans were expecting from East.
When scrolling through the tracklist, fans saw a title that would make them even more excited for “P2” — “I Found Keisha” — which details (with exaggeration) the discovery and ultimately the death of a girl who robbed East in a previous song called “Keisha” on his 2016 mixtape “Kairi Chanel.”
The album is well-rounded, as East details the darkest, brightest, scariest and realest moments throughout his 29 years of life. Songs like “Powder,” “Violent” and “Prosper” recount the many struggles East had endure to get where he is today.
“Tryna understand what this pain about, half deaf in my left ear from them shots that them rang out,” rapped East in “Prosper.”
East uses his usual flow throughout the album with the exception of “Thank You,” the sixth song on the project. In 2012, East released a “Thank You” freestyle, which may be where he found inspiration to bring the song back and put it on an album. This song is clearly a jab at those who caused him hardship, in which he thanks his haters for making him stronger and motivating him to rise to fame and success.
“If you hating, I just want to say thank you, know you doing something right when they hate you. Running around telling people how they made you” East raps in the chorus.
“Thank You” is simply not his style, but no one can be upset about East trying to switch up his sound.
On the 10th track, “What Made Me,” East reminisces about how he was introduced to rap. He names rappers that influenced him like Jay-Z, Noreaga and his mentor Nas, who signed East to his Mass Appeal Records in 2014. East then signed with Def Jam Records in 2016.
“P2” stands out from East’s other projects. His previous EP, “Paranoia: A True Story,” was a taste of what East has been cooking in his lyrical kitchen. His most recent mixtape, “Karma,” was a teaser so fans can truly get excited for “P2.”
East has clearly mastered his sound with “P2.” His calm but serious demeanor and vocal delivery allows listeners to truly picture what he has been through in his life.
Many can tell 2018 is going to be a great year for hip-hop, and for music in general. A plethora of artists have alluded to or openly stated that they are going to release new music this year, including Drake, Migos, Earl Sweatshirt, Frank Ocean, Travis Scott and A$AP Rocky. Hopefully, East will continue to stand out amongst such giants in the genre with his affinity for lyricism and storytelling.