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[REVIEW] A Deeper Look into Dave East's Album "Paranoia 2"


If we put all the rappers that have produced music into a book it would be a long one, but rappers that have an everlasting impact on the game would be a smaller one. Nas, Biggie Smallz, Tupac Shakur, Jay-Z, Outkast and Snoop Dogg are just some of the notorious rappers that are a part of that small impactful book. What is common between them is the “storytelling” aspect that they bring to the game. They could express the lyrics in a narrative that would jump off the pages and onto a movie screen.

Coming out of Harlem Dave East second EP Paranoia 2 (P2) dropped midnight on Tuesday. In the streets, looking over your back is what seems to be the consistent factor that every gang member has experienced in their lives. East goes further into the Harlem gang lifestyle as he elaborates on topics such as drug selling, money hustling ambitions, haters and even the gratefulness of escaping the street game unharmed.

The 15 song EP digs deep into what experiences, thoughts and feelings East has while he was in the game. East writes his raps from a first-person narrative that allows for the listener to place themselves into his shoes, placing them into song as well as experiencing the song. Some of the top songs I enjoyed and you should look out for are Talk to Big, Woke Up ft. Tory Lanez, Corey, I Found Keisha, and Grateful.

Opening strong with riffs and sixteens that flow fluidly over the melodic musical cymbals allows for the introduction, Talk to Big, to catch the attention of the listener just as every movie does in their opening credits.

'Woke Up'

featuring Tory Lanez brings out another side of East forcing him to switch tempos and match Lanez with the autotuned sound of today’s trap music. Corey brings the reality of how the closest people to you can take your success to heart and push you away, while at the same time making it seem that you were the one pushing them instead.

Finding Keisha is one of my favorites, referring back to the first Paranoia, Keisha seemed to get the best of East and took everything he had out of his hotel. This shines light on how “what goes around comes around” while also explaining, “you never know who knows who.”

Lastly, Grateful is a great outro as he pays respect to all his experiences throughout his life as they have shaped and molded him into the man he is today. The game built him to respect those who are real, as well as grind day in and day out. What is beautiful is that he shows love to all those that has shown respect and love to him as well, ending the album in a manner for those to understand the story and its “moral” meaning just like any book or movie platform.

This theme of storytelling and project themes seems to be a rising factor in the rap game, or better yet a rerising of past OG rappers that utilized their platform to express their stories and experiences being brought back into the game. If you need a little more to listen, the Harlem native has had light shined upon him as the notorious Nas speaks to East pleading his case in “The Hated” (off first EP – Paranoia) which turned into a short film saying, “Hey yo East, it’s ya man ESCO. Keep doin’ what you do. Peace be unto you young brother, young king.”

Music has multiple avenues for everyone to hear and experience in the light that they enjoy the most. For a legend to comeback and speak to a rising artist expresses the respect that he has for him but also to confirm the direction that he is headed in. With other artist, such as drake and Joeybada$$, looking to collaborate with East in the future (Montreality interview) it seems that East will be another storyteller for the industries story time.