Dave East: “Paranoia: A True Story” Album Review

Written By: Brandon Basile 

Instagram: @RestlessSoul13 Twitter: @RestlessSol13 Blog: brandonbasile.wordpress.com

Carrying On Tradition

Originality: (3.0 / 5)
Vocals/Flow: (3.0 / 5)
Lyrics: (4.0 / 5)
Production: (3.0 / 5)
Average: (3.3 / 5)

  A wicked thing this way comes. A peculiar thing called change. In culture, with the passing of time the legends that we looked up to and set the tone at one time move on to inspire others. That’s how art works. We do it one way showing that it is the “good way”, based on whatever values we deep important. Hip-Hop as a culture has always been fueled by individuality going against the grain, which could be thought of as the facilitator of the growth of the dreaded phenomenon that is Mumble Rap.  But in a world where rappers can’t be encouraged to fully pronounce their words, let alone challenged to wax poetical with complex rhymes and storylines, what is one with true lyrical prowess, such as Dave East to do besides staying in their lane of being true to Hip-Hop and giving the real heads what they want?

With lyricism worthy earning the acknowledgement of being signed to Hip-Hop Legend Nas’ Mass Appeal Records, in the past few years Dave East has been a newcomer to mainstream eyes and ears. Though different in voice tone than that of Nas, Dave East (whose real name is David Brewster, Jr.) maintains solid paced gully New York style rap that has garnered features and acclaim from other Rap veterans such as Cam’ Ron, Beanie Sigel, Raekwon, Jadakiss, as well as new school hitmakers such as Drake, Wiz Khalifa, and Meek Mill. By this point we know that Hip Hop is indeed not dead, but how are things going in Harlem’s beats, bars, and cars nowadays. I bet Dave East is going to tell you.

East got bars, yung. These aint your little brother’s bars with the same ad libs between every line. These are rhythm and rhyme heavy real and raw raps. New York is known for a focus on the street reporter view of inner city life and steady on-point flow and cadence. Dave East brings youthful fervor to the heritage of New York rap with motivational lyrics about the highs and lows of street life.  Dave East presents a perspective of sentimental truth with the gangster gutter aggression and bravado. Paranoia: A True Story is based on being loyal and respectable to the streets more so than the pop life, but Dave East has made a name for himself for doing just that.

One downside, at times East’s consistent steady pace can feel a bit monotonous and predictable.  The album is riddled with concise raps, and songs that mostly all sound alike aside from feature assisted choruses.  East has his own flavor within the tradition, but he still has more depth to show us to separate him from others. Ironically, at times the other mainstream feature artists that are on Dave East’s album seem unaccustomed to complimenting his style of rapping as opposed to high energy club anthems.

Paranoia: A True Story is dope. Definitely dope, but just that. If you grew up on 90s and 2000s rap then there is definitely a lot of bars here for you.  Dave East kills solidly, but he feels so much in his own rap lane mentally that he still has some time to grow synergy with more of his peers. He’s definitely got the steam to be around here for a while so I’ll call it now: Duo album with The Game from the west coast and Dave East representing the east coast would be fucking epic.