20 Songs, 1 Hour 17 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

You can imagine why Dave East might be drawn to the theme of survival of the fittest: The born-and-bred New Yorker is vexingly multitalented, having traded a promising basketball career for a position as one of his city’s foremost Rotten Apple revivalists. The East Coast boom-bap classicism is clear from bar one on Survival, the rapper’s first official album, with a scratch-heavy DJ Premier beat that could’ve been left off Illmatic. (That checks out, considering Nas is East’s mentor; the fellow Queensbridge native shows up to big up his protégé over strings and brass on “Godfather 4.”) As always, East raps like he’s seen some s**t—and he has—but Survival’s the lushest he’s ever sounded, with slinky Jodeci samples (“Alone”) and gorgeous Teyana Taylor guest spots (“Need a Sign”).

EDITORS’ NOTES

You can imagine why Dave East might be drawn to the theme of survival of the fittest: The born-and-bred New Yorker is vexingly multitalented, having traded a promising basketball career for a position as one of his city’s foremost Rotten Apple revivalists. The East Coast boom-bap classicism is clear from bar one on Survival, the rapper’s first official album, with a scratch-heavy DJ Premier beat that could’ve been left off Illmatic. (That checks out, considering Nas is East’s mentor; the fellow Queensbridge native shows up to big up his protégé over strings and brass on “Godfather 4.”) As always, East raps like he’s seen some s**t—and he has—but Survival’s the lushest he’s ever sounded, with slinky Jodeci samples (“Alone”) and gorgeous Teyana Taylor guest spots (“Need a Sign”).

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