Perhaps it was the cohesiveness, or the overall grandeur of last year's Kairi Chane that makes it difficult for fans of East (Harlem) New York rapper Dave East to forget that his latest offering, Paranoia: A True Story, is actually his first official release. Curiously billed as an EP despite the length, the rapper's first foray onto the iconic Def Jam imprint is everything that long-time supporters could have hoped for.
Minus a Chris Brown chorus on "Perfect" and an epic intro from Nas on the storytelling masterpiece "The Hated," the EP boasts three actual (read: rapping) features. Jeezy appears on the intro, Wiz Khalifa drops in for "Phone Jumpin," which borrows from Busta Rhymes' "Gimme Some Mo'," and French Montana features on the Harry Fraud-produced standout "Maneuver."
The features never out-perform or overpower East, though, and the project is a balanced blend of vibes that show noticeable growth since we last sat with a collection of East tracks. "I've been just exploring me and different sounds," he told Billboard recently. "[The album] was me just growing in life ... my music is gon' grow with me."
This is, though, just an appetizer to his eventual debut album, which as of writing has no set release date. Paranoia does serve as an amazing step forward in the Harlem rapper's career, and — for those just joining us — an introduction to the hype you've been hearing about the 2016 XXL Freshman. (Def Jam)