HDIGH

Dave East

HDIGH

Since releasing his debut mixtape in 2010, Harlem's Dave East has covered a lot of ground—he’s dropped more than 20 projects, become a father, and held down multiple acting roles. On HDIGH (an acronym for "how did I get here"), he retraces some of his steps while evaluating a few new ones. Coasting over high-tech boom-bap production, East opens things with “Unbelievable,” a street anthem that doubles as a reminder of his deep establishment as an artist; it features Method Man, the rap legend East has portrayed in Hulu’s Wu-Tang: An American Saga (which Method also executive produced). Laced with bravado, dexterous rhyming, and flashes of menace, the track recalls the classic East entries that cemented his status as a torchbearer for Big Apple rap in the mid-2010s. And yet on songs like “John Lennon,” he travels beyond the streets of Harlem as he tackles themes of fame and mortality, while on “After Taxes,” he laments First World issues he never had to contemplate during his bouts of homelessness. “A million dollars ain’t nothing after taxes,” he raps, revealing just how far his journey has taken him.

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