Dave East - P2
New York rapper Dave East has had some things on his mind and has been throwing them out into the world at a blistering pace. P2 or Paranoia 2 is East's third release in less than six months putting him into Gucci Mane levels of production. His style is that distinct New York old school hip hop, but rather than talking about how rap isn't rap anymore or bashing anything Trap related Dave East takes you on a journey through his history and mind. This record is not about taking "hip-hop back", East knows how ridiculous of a proposition that actually is, and instead focuses on his personal journey. He dives deep into all the misdeeds and jail sentences. He transports you to the streets of Harlem before brunch or avocado toast when things were bleak with little opportunity for change. Dave East doesn't boast about his criminal past, He more examines it, taking a real look at himself in the mirror. This level of introspection is not common in hip hop, and is often derived, but East makes this vulnerable posture seem like the strongest stance to take. His vocal is so distinct and He speaks in full voice throughout the entire record, making his intentions clear from the first word that comes out of his mouth. The production is classic New York Hip Hop, but instead of that record player fuzz that Wu Tang and others feel the need to employ in 2018 Dave East allows his production to sound modern while still keeping a classic feel. You can't just manufacture history and when you try to do so it comes across as completely ridiculous. East cuts down on the skits with this record which is a welcome break and gives him more freedom to craft his stories through HIS words rather than some extra curricular nonsense.
Opposed to a lot of hip hop today East's record is about substance over style. He can sometimes go for 20 or 30 bars without pause or chorus. This word heavy style feels like spoken word set to music but music that actually works with it. The entire vibe is exactly what Dave East is trying to create. He doesn't vary his delivery much at all, but it makes the words feel more grounded in reality. When rappers through their voice through autotune or use an effect it tends to loose some of the lyrical impact while boosting the "banger" possibilities. Dave East is not trying to force anything here and instead it sounds refined, like each word has a specific meaning. The thing about this ridiculous idea that "real" hip hop can only be one sound is that it never was very true. Throughout it's history Hip Hop has always been ready to move, to change and shift into something new. Dave East understands this but also knows what suits his voice. It's his authenticity and his openness that make P2 a success, and make you excited for whatever is coming next.
8.6 out of 10