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New New York 15: Harlem NYC Style: Dave East

dave intro

Name: Dave East

Stomping Grounds: Spanish Harlem

Breakout Year: 2014


From the Eastside of the New York City fashion mecca, hails one of the more promising prospects from the 5 Burroghs. I was hearing the name “Dave East” for a minute, via blog sites (shout out to 2dopeboyz, catching everything OD early) and word of mouth. But in most cases, unless I trust the opinion of the source, I usually brush it off after years of being recommended and then disappointed. I admittingly did this with Dave East, and it wasn’t untill I saw Nas put him down with his Mass Appeal roster, that I was like “Hold up, if the GOAT co-signs….”

Dave Nas

To get a sense of where his pen was at, I immediatley went to his freestyles and heard him finessing the shit out of classics like NasLast Words” and Beanie Mack’sOnce again its on“.

A marksman with my target, I shoot awkward,

Shawn Marion, Bill Cartwright, by the park light,

It’s 33 for a gram, the shit slow,

Balmain denim lookin’ like I’m sellin’ dope

– “Once again it’s on” freestyle

Once I realized how sharp the sword was, I wanted to see what kind of artist he was. We all know there’s plenty of dudes, from our city particualrly, who can spit really well but can’t put together actual songs. I did my datpiffs and saw his most promising project was “Black Rose” mixtape, with no expectation at all, I sparked some potent product & took some time to see what these mean-internet streets were talking about. The standout factor of the tape & East as an artist, is that it’s well-balanced and diverse in sound. He could go with a banger like the RicoBeats produced “Red Bottoms” , which is more in the trap lane, and it sounds natural. On the other hand, he could spit over a drum-knocking New York record like “Fuck you think” and come with the vintage shit. My personal favorites were “Around here” and “The Town“, where the he takes you on a verbal tour through the not-so-gentrified & still grimey side of Harlem. He could talk the name-brand braggadocio, true to his Harlem roots, he can speak the word of the corner-bodega hustler or he could just let the bars fly to let you know where his minds at.

“Speak my pain
He got game, I feel like Jesus
Just couldn’t relate, ain’t never listened to Yeezus (never)
Still got connects with dope, Sour in the freezer
FoodSaver sealers and some scissors, thank you Jesus
I ain’t meet her once, tatted my name right on her cleavage
Kush got me talkin’ to nutso, like “are we even?”…”- “The Offering”

dave mixtape

Dave East hails very little comparison to anyone I’ve heard. The Spanish Harlem emcee seems more like an effortless fusion of the New York legends blended with today’s era in hip hop. He’s the artist whose got something for pretty much any fan of the culture, no matter what element of the game you fuck with. Get familiar with the name, the boy’s gonna be here for a while….

Dave final

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The Thinker: Part 1: The Curse

the thinker 2

In a fast world, that provokes a living-in-the-moment impulsive lifestyle, being a thinker is a beautiful thing. It allows you to look at the world, and look at decisions in a lot of ways that the majority of people won’t take the time to. Being a thinker is really utilizing the mind for the weapon that it really is, but just like any other weapon, it could be your worst enemy as well. Something as powerful as the mind could be your driving force to success, or the devil in your demise, depending on the way you decide to use it. Somewhere between the pessimist, the realist, and the optimist, the black and the white, is the thinker. We, as thinkers, often live in the gray area of life, the “what ifs”, the “what might be going on”, the symbolism and the not-so-obvious. We’re not easily believers of what seems so black and white in this world, and often take a stance at looking deeper into everything, which once again, could be used to your favor or on the contrary.

the thinker 1

There is a great downfall and dark side to the thinker, who can also become overly analytical, paranoid, lonely and unable to find faith in pretty much anything. Our habit of thinking deep into things may cause us to challenge trust in situations we don’t really have too, or to challenge love, life, death, and religious ideals (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). What separates just having awareness of the dark realities of the world, and the dark side of thinking, is expectancy. For example, everyone’s aware that someone close to them could back stab them, but they have faith they won’t. Now, through the lens of the negative thinker, they’re waiting for someone to do it. In the same aspect none of us have seen God, but a lot of people have faith that he exists, while the thinker needs their evidence. A thinker will pin logic versus the thought of God, and externalizing all responsibility for good and bad to one being, who no one can prove with more than myth of his/her existence. The bible is about as believable as “The 3 little pigs”, to someone whose trying to apply logic to everything. “Miracles never leave the churches”, Nas once said on “Deja Vu”, which reflects the attitude of a lot of thinkers based in logistics, to whom, the bible is a fairy tale story of morality, at best, just as any other with characters, imagination and plots tied together by an underlying message. Me, personally, I dabble in the world of spirituality, but not religion (that’s a different story). This is just one piece of evidence in the art of challenging as a thinker.

the thinker 4

Being a thinker could also interfere with success, if used the wrong way. In a lot of success stories, there is one big risk someone took, that happened to pay off. A lot of those who prospered, may have actually had the vision to see where it was going, but most were shooting in the dark, most likely in hopeless situations, which require a little less brains and a little more balls. The negative thinker doesn’t take that risk, because of the the odds, and the greater possibility of failure. The more you think into the situation, the more real the negative outcomes become, the more doubt plays a role, as opposed to just shooting the dice. The possibility of failure is always there, but for someone who utilizes to their mind to great extents, the sounds inside your head can be too loud to ignore. The reality is, sometimes you just have to go for it, regardless of the odds. That logic in itself may seem stupid, but sometimes the risk is worth the reward, and all that thinking might not get you anywhere. Other times, the risk of failure isn’t that great, but becomes exaggerated by the thought of it going wrong or over-analyzing. In these situations, the thinkers mind works as a rear view mirror, meaning things seem bigger than they actually are. The thought of failure in this specific sense is an embodiment of all the negative outcomes that people who tend to over-think, will become paranoid about. Death, is also a devil in the mind of the over analytical. The reality of thousands of people dying everyday in a number of ways, mixed with the gray area, “what if” nature of the thinker, can formulate into “If thousands of people die everyday, why can’t it be me today?”. Once again, a harsh reality, but what separates most people from the negative thinkers, is that the thinker will let that reality consume them.

the thinker 3

Trust is also something that can be negatively effected by the nature of the thinker, I’ll take this one from a personal standpoint. Coming up I had numerous amounts of substanceless connections with females, we’d talk, mess around a little, but it would never get passed that. Regardless of how cool they were, how attractive they might have been, I never let it get too far. It wasn’t about insecurity in myself, I was fine with myself, what ran through my head was the number of good-for-nothing girlfriends of other guys, who had tried to move in on me, or pass me their number, and I promised myself I’d never be that guy. I was always observant, which is usually a positive characteristic, but it’s the way my mind processed certain instances and happenings, that interferes with my life sometimes. So fast forward to 2011, I’m 21 and I actually do look passed the negative possibilities (or so I thought), and get in a relationship. I had known her for a while, as good friends, there was always a mutual interest as more than that, but once again, I never let it manifest. I had known her through two of her passed relationships, in which, no matter the circumstances, she never did anything disloyal behind their back, which was intriguing, especially in a world where girls behave just like men in the aspect of infidelity. So I gave it a shot. Though, I got passed stage one of the trust issues, the aspect of 100 percent trusting someone was just not realistic to me. It effected our relationship, it prevented me from fully indulging, or expressing real emotion or thoughts of mine, in fear that one day this whole thing would fall apart and my significant other would use my secrets as a weapon. On the other hand, I wondered why it was worth it to give my all to someone, who MIGHT fuck me over in the end, like so many other partners that seemed promising at first. It led to multiple issues within the relationship, whether it was not giving her credit for being loyal, not being 100 percent in on the relationship and not having faith in the future. All the arguments, tension-filled nights, all caused by over-thinking and seeing something that wasn’t there, that’s the poison. You think you’re ahead of the game, but you’re really stagnating yourself.

the thinker 6

The common thread connecting the cursed thinkers negative relationship with love, trust, success and religion, is a type of distorted logic, that may be a product of turbulence throughout someone’s life and it’s aftermath. As stated earlier, the relationship between the Thinker and religion, may not be a product of “distorted” logic in the thinker, it could also be the “distorted” logic of religious doctrines and teachings, but to the masses, challenging God is still not popular. As far as success, love and trust, the problematic logic could cause for a lot of unnecessary stress in your life. Though it may be based in odds, experiences and your surrounding world, sometimes it really is healthier to say “fuck it”, and not be afraid to live and learn. As a thinker who gets effected by it negatively, you may be labeled delusional, paranoid or down right, crazy. But it still speaks to our potential. Though negative thinkers may have once been optimists who are now jaded due to life’s circumstances, imagine staying positive. For our mind to be powerful enough to shape our behavior, personality and our life in general to the extent it does, we can use it for better too. As a matter of fact, being a positive thinker has actually shown results and reflected itself in people’s lives externally, so it’s really all a matter of how you use it. It’s not about being too observant, or being too aware, it’s the way you process the information and whether you use it going forward, or let it discourage you….To be continued.

the thinker 5

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Gentrification: A Plague To The Culture.


If someone who walked the streets of Do-Or-Die Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, or 125th in Harlem, happened to move away somewhere around 1995, and decided to come back without much knowledge of the city now, they would question if they were even in New York City. The buildings may look a little nicer, rent may cost a little more, and crime may be down a bit,  in part due to gentrification. For those who aren’t exactly sure, and just hear it a lot, gentrification is just an inner city area being turned over to wealthier residents or new businesses and increasing property value. Though you look at one side of Gentrification and you see better school districts, less drug dealing on the avenues, and less run down looking buildings and homes, you may think “Well, this is great”. But there’s always two sides to a coin and more than one side of a story.

brooklyn gent

The natives of these neighborhoods, that were once crime infested and run down are being pushed out, instead of reaping the benefits of gentrification after all the bullshit they dealt with in the neighborhood. Their children don’t get to go to the better schools, they don’t get to live in the safer version of their neighborhood, because its coming at their expense. People who have been in these parts of the city for years are struggling to pay rent due to all these improvements in the neighborhood. Gentrification is a plague to the city’s culture. Where there was once ethnic, hole in the wall, African, Soul Food, Italian, Chinese and Spanish spots to eat, there are now organic whole food places, or fast food franchises which took a lot of their places. Bodegas are a dying breed, due to 7-11’s and companies of that nature taking over. I always loved my city because of the diversity, because you can have so many different experiences, depending on which neighborhoods you go to. If you go The Bronx, or Spanish Harlem, you can get some Puerto Rican food at a Cuchifrito, if you go to parts of Brooklyn, you can get some banging West Indian food, or go to Howard Beach and get some real Italian food, you get the point. Instead, we’re in the beginning of an era where the last of the culture is still around, but you’re starting to see the same thing in every part of the city. Not that I have a problem with the city changing or the city improving, because that’s inevitable and positive, but at the same time, let the natives of that neighborhood be a part of it as well. Why does it take people of a higher tax bracket coming into a neighborhood, for the city officials to really make sure it’s a safer place to live? or to really put an effort into bettering the schools?, why wasn’t there just as much of a push for improvement when a lot of these neighborhoods were drug and crime ridden, with statistically the worst schools, from the 70s through the early 90s?. It take’s a couple of people from a different social class to take interest in the neighborhood, to really put fire under the city’s ass to clean it up.


Gentrification is usually in its first stages, when a daring group of young, mostly white, counter culture “Hipsters” move into a neighborhood. They are usually individual thinkers, who are on the cutting edge and like to go wherever the rents cheap and cultures rich. There’s a great concentration of them in parts of Brooklyn, especially Williamsburg, as well as The Lower East Side of Manhattan, which has also transformed. When they start to move into these neighborhoods, they don’t do it for the purpose of gentrification, but the fact that they are mostly Caucasian, it helps wealthier people feel more comfortable with seeing the potential and the overall feel of the neighborhood. When Blacks and Hispanics began moving into white neighborhoods, around the 60’s and 70’s, a lot of the white natives of the area moved out, being dubbed the “white flight”. Now a lot of wealthier (of all colors) people are moving into areas that were predominantly built up of working class minorities, and the natives just get pushed out, with a lack of options.  There should really be some native appreciation, but in Christopher Columbus fashion, there isn’t. Gentrification, isn’t only something going on in the apple, but throughout the nation. The fact that homes are being lost because of changes in rent and taxes due to better school districts, etc, and legendary inner city neighborhoods are being stripped of their identity and culture, this is not going to happen without a huge consequence of tension among the victims of gentrification. But unfortunately, here in America, money talks louder than anything, and there isn’t a real understanding of the consequences until its too late. Sidebar: The New York City Culture also took a big shot when building owners who plan to put luxurious apartments up, whited out all of 5 pointz, the mecca of graffiti, in Long Island City, Queens. This is just the beginning.

5(Rest in Power)

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