Dave East is one of the few successful New York City rap stories of 2016. The ball player turned emcee has become one of the poster boys for Big Apple hip-hop over the last 12 months. With the success of his most recent — and anticipated mixtape — Kairi Chanel, the East Harlem rapper inked a lucrative deal with Def Jam earlier this year.
Along withe announcement, Dave revealed that Nas is on-board to executive produce his official as-of-yet titled debut album on the label. Shortly after returning home from a road trip, which was packed with sold out concerts, we invited the new father down to restaurant Space Nabi in Koreatown, NYC — also home to VIBE — for a conversation about his biggest moments of the year.
His rising stock in the music industry also awarded him overseas shows, opportunities to record with his musical idols, and best of all, the ability to send his parents on vacation for the first time. After discussing the surreal experience he had in Japan and the jubilation he felt after sending his folks on vacay, Mr. East opened up a side of himself often overlooked in media interviews.
When the cameras stop flashing and it’s time to wind down at home, the History channel and Islam are what helps ease his mind, body and soul from the industry chaos. Dave’s strong Muslim faith has guided him through life’s hurdles when there was no one to call on but Allah.
Dave’s debut album is slated for release in 2017 through Def Jam/Mass Appeal.
Videos by Jason Chandler
Photos by Karl Ferguson