Updated: Feb 16, 2018
Label: Def Jam. Mass Appeal. From The Dirt
Producer: Buda & Grandz. Cardiak. Beat Butcha. Citoonthebeat. DaSanchize. DJ Khalil. CritaCal. Humbeats. Illmind. Joe Joe Beats. Kangaroo. MP Williams. Reezy Renegade. Rico Suave. Street Symphony. Triple A. V Don
Highlights: Talk to Big, Powder, Corey, What Made Me
Lowlights: Thank You,
Dave East is an interesting case study in music. He is a traditional true and true New York MC. A lyrical artist, with New York aesthetic who sounds really good on modern trap beats when he chooses to go that route yet he has the appeal of a mainstream artist. His looks suggest hearth throb but his music for the most part is true and blue NY bar heavy rapping. In the past this mesh could occur with no issue but for Dave East at times it seems like a thin line to walk. On the first installment of Paranoia (Paranoia: A True Story), we found Dave East at moments reaching for that mainstream "hit". His single from that project, Perfect feat. Chris Brown, was an obvious attempt to cash in on that appearance and that attempt to solidify Dave East as a mainstream star and it unfortunately sounded like it.
Fast Foward to Paranoia 2 and there is much less of these attempts. Just Dave East how he is meant to be consumed. NY charisma, traditional east coast beats, and incredible rhyming. Paranoia 2 opens up with the stellar Talk To Big. V Don opens with dialed back 808s that leads to an incredibly somber beat that Dave East's completely shines through. "I got niggas thats never coming home, bitches say they love my music, dont know none of my songs". If nothing else, Dave East proves on Talk to Big with lines like that that he is completely self aware.
The album keeps rolling on strong. Prosper and Woke Up feat. Torey Lanez are solid cuts. The latter finds Dave East doing a more organic attempt at a banger in which Tory Lanez is used an unconventional way. Tory Lane could have been used more efficiently as opposed to a falsetto chorus about money being on his mind, but this still does not take away from the record. On Powder , Dave East settles in his strengths, rapping about triumph and how far he has come. " Remember my socks was wet, I fucked up half of my kicks in the snow I used to walk to the train, would only complain, to niggas I know Niggas was cool with me, now I got jewelry, they don't look at me the same "
Dave East even channels his storytelling and creativity in a more succinct way than before. Songs like Corey where he raps about losing a childhood friend due to his success in a creative way, Made Me where he gives shout outs to his Hip Hop inspirations and I Found Keisha where he continues one of his characters from a previous mixtape, all show that the skill set is growing.
The album is not without its faults. Thank You is a horrid excuse of a song with an incredibly cliche concept of appreciating your haters and Annoying feat. TI is mediocre defined. But overall, the Harlem MC is settling into his spot as a superstar in the making.