If you are from the northeast and have your ear towards NYC, you have most likely heard of the Dave East at this point. Becoming one of the most prominent sounds of his neighborhood, the Harlem rapper has added to the vibe of the city with eight mixtapes, Beloved and Hate Me Now being two of his major highlights. Survival is his first studio album coming in at an hour and eighteen with 20 tracks. There are a lot of notable tracks on here but Colossus’s Chris and Heff wanted to share there own two cents.
It’s almost that time of year again. The time of year that gets every music blogger’s mind going about what should be considered the best album of the year. In my opinion, this album will get the Championships treatment…a great album getting released just too late to get enough attention for consideration for any Top Ten list. However, I’m not counting it out just yet because it is phenomenally well done.
Dave East often struggles with getting attention due to his lack of singable choruses and only giving us hard-hitting lyrics. Beloved was a perfect example as he and Styles P just traded off spitting fire on the mic. This album is a bit different. There isn’t a “radio hit” necessarily, but the storytelling here is extremely well done with tracks like “On My Way 2 School” and “Baby”. Yes it’s hard and still isn’t for your Drake fans but for anyone who appreciates rap just for rap, this is the album for you.
He also gets help from a lot of great features like Teyana Taylor, Rick Ross, and Nas to name a few which definitely props this album. The only one who I feel like could fit perfectly with Dave East’s flow is Joyner, but that might be a pipedream to see happen.
As many readers know, I love skits on rap albums. They convey a story and provide a different side to the rapping or instrumentals. I’ve talked about it on Bandana, The Lost Boy, and countless others. Survival is another great example of how to do this correctly. You don’t just hear the bars, you hear the actual voice of his mom or his daughter…the reasons he keeps grinding and rapping. I also love the introduction of “What You Mad At”. It reminds me so much of the skit on “Have Mercy” from French Montana. All in all, Survival is an extremely well put together record and don’t be shocked if it gets a Grammy Nomination next year.
“Seventeen”, “Godfather 4”, and “Wanna Be A G”
East’s debut album, Survival, was a highly anticipated album for true rap fans from NYC to California. Did it live up to the hype? Some say yes, some say no. Debuting at #11 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums with 24k units sold, I claim that a win. Why? Because it goes to prove that real rap is still alive and relevant. Dave East is a true artist that focuses on the lyrics to convey a message to his audience. In Survival, one aspect of the album that made it whole to me was the skits and storytelling. East locks into a journey of where he’s been and where he’s going.
In “On My Way 2 School”, he uses a skit with his mother’s voice to introduce the track about the everyday struggle of waking up for school. Here, he conveys what it was like trying to go to school every day in the environment he grew up in. East says, “They ain’t teach me shit in here anyway, These teachers is broke, I’m goin’ to the NBA, Fuck this school shit”. That is in fact what Dave East pursued as a young star basketball player, playing with the likes of Kevin Durant in AAU. Instead, he found his true calling in rapping, and although he can still ball, he seems happy with his decision.
Dave East has had some incredible features in the past, but this album is on a whole new level. Nas, Fabolous, Snoop Dogg, Max B, Teyana Taylor, and Nipsey Hussle are just the major features to name a few. The way the album is designed from top to bottom pays homage to all styles of the rap industry from today and yesterday. With the guidance of the legendary Nas, Dave East is still only just beginning and the stories (Marathon) will continue.
“OG”, “What’s Goin On”, and “Nightshift”
Survival is an extremely well put together project and easily deserves a…
– Chris and Heff