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They say numbers don’t lie, but there’s room to argue that they don’t necessarily tell the truth either. In this case, New York up and comer Dave East is the guy who lends example to how even great talent can go unnoticed (or overlooked rather). A bona fide street MC whose catalog of gritty music is regularly featured on Hot 97, Power 105 and Shade 45, Dave has got the chops to be on heavy rotation, yet he’s still a well kept secret.

East Harlem’s own, however, has steadily amassed cosigns from the likes of Wyclef Jean and DJ Khaled, both of whom –– after listening to his latest body of work –– were prompted to promote his newly released introductory tape, Black Rose. Coupled with an already solid fan base made up of record executives and music insiders, he might be on to something. But there’s no gimmick to Dave, which perhaps best explains why he’s doing his own thing independently. “If I can’t get somebody that can see my vision and still let me keep my creative process, than I don’t really want to [sign],” explains the 26-year-old.

Starkly opposite of today’s rapper, Dave sets the much-debated “ruler of Hip-Hop” question straight, provided that “ruler” is King and “Hip-Hop” is New York. “Who you stab, who you shot, who you fought ni**a/ Frank White was the only King of New York ni**a,” spits Dave with fierceness in “Gift of God,” a tough tune laden with flowing piano and smooth drums.

To quote Styles P (or KRS): “Kings lose crowns, teachers stay intelligent.” Dave isn’t playing crab in a barrel trying to reach the top for a crown of thorns (ahem, Kanye). He’s first and foremost a student of the game, and to him, there’s room for a Jay Z and Nas. In other words, if Hip-Hop is a comedy show, Dave East doesn’t argue about who’s funnier, he just makes us laugh.

Who: Dave East is an emerging rapper from East Harlem and quickly becoming a New York staple in new school Hip-Hop. His proper entrance into the game comes by way of Black Rose, his recently debuted EP, filled with feel-good, New York nostalgia.

Credentials: He’s received cosigns from top industry vets, including DJ Khaled, Wyclef Jean and Shaheem Reid.

Fun Fact: Dave East’s parents have been married for over 30 years and his father was heavily involved in the Harlem Renaissance.

Photos: Dave East

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