*As a middle-aged individual who has covered hip hop artists since the mid-90s, a time that many feel was in the Golden Age of Hip Hop, it has become increasingly difficult to celebrate some of the best artists of the contemporary era. Quite frankly, my default of the modern era often is one of apathy at best. Enter, Dave East.
The East Harlem resident and former collegiate hooper has been building a very successful hip hop career for over ten years and has since segued into acting as Method Man in the highly successful Hulu series “Wu-Tang Clan: An American Saga.”
It was rather late in the day when a pr representative reached out to us at EURweb.com and asked if we’d liked to interview Dave East. Now, of course, I had heard much of Dave East’s music, his cadence, breath control and lyrical choice, and was always impressed with his mastery of each of those facets of being an emcee.
But when he started showing up on TV, first as a Hashim on “The Breaks” in 2017, then as Mr. Ford on “Beats,” a few years later, Dave East had demonstrated a photogenic quality that Hollywood casting types love.
Recently, EURweb spoke with Dave East about his quest to find a new producer alongside Tracklib.com, his burgeoning acting career as well as why he doesn’t plan on being a rapper for the rest of his life.
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EURweb.com: First, please talk about your collaboration with Tracklib.com.
Dave East: “I’m looking for a producer to come with some heat. I want to bring them to New York, all expenses paid, to come in the studio and work for me and we gon’ cook up,” he explained.
EURweb.com: At this point you can do business with just about anyone you want. Why Tracklib?
Dave East: “I’ve always had love for samples, myself. When I go through my different beats, those always catch my ear. With Tracklib having the largest online platform of samples and different options in that lane, I figured, why not?”
EURweb.com: As a hip hop perfectionist, one cannot help notice your breath control and cadence. It is modern and old school simultaneously.
Dave East: “At this point, yeah, it’s on purpose, he laughed. With my taste in music, being a student of the game and just really having an old soul. I am 33 but I was always into older music. I think that is what really inspired the way I rap, the way I put stories together and just my whole approach to the record. It comes from being a student of the music from the mix of people that I was a fan of.”
EURweb.com: Is this just a one-off situation?
Dave East: “Hopefully, it turns into a relationship, you know? With either one producer or a few producers. I just think this a platform where I can get that together. Not to say I’m lacking in that department, but it never hurts to have a team of new producers that’s hungry, that’s new, that’s trying to get into the game. Because I feel like hunger is something that is different than having a name. That hunger is different, so I always have an ear for that. With the rap, too. I’m always watching and listening to different artists, but definitely on the production side. Because that’s what really keeps my sh*t rolling, the beats.”
EURweb.com: You have been on tracks with some the biggest emcees in any era, yet your blend in well and shine even in a field of diamonds.
Dave East: “I think that’s something that I naturally had. Plus, over the years, being around these artists and being in the studio with Nas and being in the studio with Snoop and being in the studio with, GOD bless his soul, DMX. Just different dudes with different styles, Styles P, Diddy.”
“Being in the lab with these dudes definitely sharpened me up and made me want to approach records differently. I want to make sure I say some sh*t that’s going to be remember or that’s going to stand out on the record. Because when you’re collaborating with these types of artists, you want to be heard too!”
“My name ain’t nowhere near their names, but if I want to be on the record with them, I have to stand my ground and leave my mark on it as well. That’s always been something on my mind that I felt I would grow in to,” he continued.
EURweb.com: You seem to be primed to step into the shoes of LL Cool J, Will Smith, Ice T and many other hip hop artists who made a successful transition from rapping to acting full-time.
Dave East: “That’s another thing, I’ve always been a fan of movies and music, all my life. Even with me playing ball and all of that, I was always listening to something or watching a movie, know what I mean? Me watching Meth and Nas and DMX and Cam, all these dudes that’s superior rappers, I watched them act. In the back of mind, not to take nothing from them, but I just always felt like ‘that can’t be extremely hard to do.’ They’re doing both so naturally that it don’t even look like they’re trying.”
“That was another thing, being a fan of movies and different actors, I just applied that to myself and really locking in and trying to be different from the Dave East that everybody knows from the rap, said Dave. “How can I identify myself differently and really try to sell this Method Man role? It took me locking in and really focusing on the person I’m playing. It was definitely an easy transition but hard at the same time because of the time you’ve got to put into it. Rap comes so easy to me that I can do this shit in my sleep. With that it’s hurry up and wait.”
“I’m one of those types of people where, if I see it or you tell me one time, then I’ll get it. You ain’t gotta repeat shit to me. I get it on the first go. All my life I’ve been like that. With acting it was ‘I gotta remember these lines but I get to say them in my own way?’ Shouts to RZA, shouts to Mario Van Peebles, they let me do me, beyond the script. They still let me inject my own shit! That was dope.”
Dave East released “Hoffa” in July 2021 and features G-Herbo, Jim Jones, Benny The Butcher and many other notables. You can currently catch him starring as Method Man on the hit series Wu Tang Clan: An American Saga as well. For more on Tracklib log on to their website for more information.