Editors’ Notes “I just feel like whatever you put out, it comes back, whether it's good or bad,” Dave East says of karma, the concept for his long-running mixtape series of the same name. “And my karma was getting in the rap game. Like I put in a lot of work, a lot of consistency. Year after year, working in the hood, and the karma of that was me being able to provide for my family, and move out those projects, and take my talents all over the world.” With the third edition of the Karma series, which follows 2019’s Survival album, East found himself compelled to make an adjustment to how this collection of songs is received. “I was going to let DJ Holiday host it again,” he says. “He hosted the first two. But once a lot of them records started coming back, I was like, 'Man, this shit sound like an album. But I'm going to keep the name because I know I got a lot of followers that was big fans of the Karma series.' Like at a lot of my shows, they know them records word for word.” Karma 3 includes plenty more words from East, and then also some from guesting MCs like Benny the Butcher, Young Dolph, and A Boogie wit da Hoodie, to name a few. Below, Dave East tells Apple Music how a few of the project’s standout records came to be.

Handsome
“That's something we say in the hood, like whenever somebody's getting money, it's like, 'Man, they forgot my name, they been calling me “Handsome.”' That's just like shit my uncles and them used to say, like OG talk, shit I been hearing all my life. Older dudes on the block, I'm always hearing them say that shit, and I just put it on a song. And then of course you know I get a lot of female support, so it went with that. But that wasn't the objective of making that song.”

Unruly (feat. Popcaan)
“My father is from Barbados, from St. Michael's. My dad's dad was never a legal citizen of the United States. He snuck into the country through the Panama Canal and went right to Harlem, right to Morningside Avenue. My father's father, my last name Brewster, that's a powerful name in Barbados, but I never really speak on that. People that know know, but I never made that kind of music. And then me and Popcaan connected, and I really was a fan of him. And I said, 'That's my heritage. That's where I come from, so I need to start integrating my hip-hop with that more.'”

The City (feat. Trey Songz)
“Basically, ‘Heart of the City’ is one of my favorite JAY-Z records. Shout my man Dougie, Dougie did the beat [for ‘The City’]. When I heard the beat, I said, ‘I don't know if we're going to get it cleared, but I'm flipping this shit.’ Trey was with me. We did that together in Manhattan at Quad [Recording Studios]. Basically that record is like, it don't matter how far you go. Like four years ago I had a song called 'Hate Me Now.' The love, of course, has grown crazily, and went all around the world, but the hate still be there. So that was just a reminder of me realizing it ain't really no love out here. There's a lot of opportunity, but the love is few and far between.”

Fuck Dat (feat. Young Dolph)
“When I was in junior high school, like the little house parties and shit, they was playing Three 6 Mafia, so I always was a fan of them. Me and DJ Paul been talking for years, and we finally got a chance to get in the studio together. As soon as we did it, I said, ‘We got to get somebody from Memphis on here.’ Paul did the beat, then Dolph…it's like the old and new. Not to say Paul is old, but Three 6 Mafia ran the ’90s. Dolph is the new generation. Shit like that, people not used to hearing me on. So I think that's going to shake some shit up.”

Get the Money (feat. Trouble)
“Trouble, that's my brother there. Me and Trouble actually got a record with Pop Smoke. We did it all together. Right before that happened with Pop, but me and Trouble, we been locked in probably the last four or five years. And it wasn't really on the music shit, we respect each other's music, but once we linked up I'm like, this n***a act just like me. He's just from Atlanta. I fuck with Skoob.”

Thank God (feat. A Boogie wit da Hoodie)
“A Boogie been my guy—QP, Bubba, Don, all of them, Trap Manny, Sosa…I’ve been fucking with them for a while. We did the ‘Gold Digger’ record, but a lot of people ain't even hear that record or never paid it no mind. People in New York, if they don’t see you with [other artists], they feel like you don't fuck with them, or y'all crews don't rock with each other. I support everybody in New York City—minus 6ix9ine. Every other artist got my support. 'Thank God' is going to be good for New York. I think it will be big in the club...if the club ever opens up again.”

Said What I Said (feat. Doe Boy)
“This is demon music. Me and Doe Boy, we did that over a bottle of Patrón. I feel like I'm such a lyricist and I tap into telling the story or really getting personal so much, sometimes I like to have fun on a record and still be rapping. We was having fun just going back and forth.”

Broke or Not (feat. Jozzy)
“This is almost like me speaking to a younger me, or me speaking to a kid in that environment where the older G on the block ain't really giving them no game. They rather give them a pack of drugs or guns, or give them an order to go do some shit instead of really giving them game, and keeping them safe, keeping them out the street to the best of their ability. So it was really just me saying, 'Keep you a hustle, young ’un. If you broke or not, keep you some type of grind that's going to prevail, that's going to get you away from all the bullshit, all the negativity.'”

Stone Killer (feat. Benny the Butcher)
“That's one of them barbershop records, where they gon' argue: 'Dave burnt him.' 'Nah, Benny burnt him!' It's like two pit bulls in a cage. You got his Buffalo n***as in one corner. I got a few Harlem n***as, few Queens n***as in one corner, we got some liquor, some weed, and the beat rolling, and neither one of us write. It's like me and him really sparring, but shit like that is the most fun shit in rap. All the glitz and glam is dope, but shit like that bring you back to the reason you do the shit in the first place. Shout-outs to the whole Griselda: Conway, Westside, Benny. They get busy. I like doing records with them.”

Know How I Feel (feat. Mary J. Blige)
“Mary J. Blige, her music means everything to me. My mom's played it, my aunties, my pops, my uncles, my neighbors. You heard Mary everywhere, I grew up to Mary—but shout to Tina at Def Jam. She made the formal introduction and then we took it from there. That one, I just heard her voice on it. It gave me like a 'Politics As Usual,' 'Can't Knock the Hustle' type of vibe. And she did exactly what I felt on the record. She did the hook and then she did a verse at the end. Everybody don't get that out of Mary. I think that's going to be an eye-opener for the culture—really letting them know who I am. I ain't just playing around. I ain't just in this shit just to be in this shit. I'm really trying to leave a legacy in this shit. That's one of them records that's going to live forever.”

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