Dave East continues to reach new heights — this time expanding into the cannabis industry after making his mark in both music and film. The East Coast rapper is the definition of a Harlem, New York spitter, equipped with relentless bars, vivid lyricism, and a spitfire flow that tells his truth with each release.
Creating music for a decade now, East cementing his name as a force to be reckoned with in the rap game with projects such as Survival, Paranoia, and his Karma series. The topics within each release sheds layers of his upbringing on 43rd Street and Lenox Ave, as he navigated life on the streets, losing loved ones, fatherhood, love, and everything in between.
With the help of Nas, who signed him to his Mass Appeal imprint in conjunction with Def Jam, East has worked with everyone from Chris Brown to Wiz Khalifa to Teyana Taylor, and even has a collaborative tape with Styles P titled Beloved. His acting endeavors include playing the legendary Method Man in Hulu’s new docu-series Wu-Tang: An American Saga, which followed his appearance in Netflix’ Beats.
Fast forward to 2021, the MC is putting on his entrepreneur hat and has released his own weed strain titled East Co.
REVOLT caught up with East to discuss his new weed strain, music, playing Method Man in Wu-Tang: An American Saga, being a Black man in America today, and more! Peep below.
How does it feel to have your weed out?
It feels amazing. Me and weed go back a long time. I feel like where I done brought to is dope. To legally have my own strain.
How does it feel to be an entrepreneur in the cannabis space?
I’ve physically been to jail for weed. To be able to have this shit going on, I’m doing it legally. It’s all love, there’s a lot of people getting behind it. I can’t complain.
I seen a photo of you smoking in the hip hop museum. Can you bring us back to that session with Scott Storch?
Oh yeah, we made some shit that day. Shout out to Scott, shout out to Steve. Me and Scott whenever me and him get together, we put shit together. That was for this album, my most recent album. That was an exclusive pic that I didn’t really post on the Gram or nothing. That was something that would’ve been in the archives. Shouts out to the whole team over there.
What are you working on now?
I got a couple projects in the works. I’m working on finishing my next solo album with Def Jam. I got a Styles P project, Beloved 2, coming. It’s the second one, the sequel to the first one. I got an album with Harry Fraud on the way, he produced the whole shit. So I got two or three tapes on the way.
What’s one thing you want fans to get from Karma 3 (Deluxe)?
That I’m still here. I outlasted all the hate, all the sucker shit. I’m still here. I’m still around doing what I’m doing. At this point now, I’m taking it beyond rap. It’s bigger than rap. I’m getting into other things. I’m trying to expand my brand. N*ggas know I can rap, they know me for rap. Now, I want to get into other shit. That’s why I’m doing this East Co. That’s why I started acting.
How was it playing Method Man in Hulu’s Wu-Tang: An American Saga?
It was fire. It’s different. It’s a whole ‘nother type of focus and scheduling, but it’s dope. The outcome of it is always dope.
Did you have to take acting classes?
I had an acting coach one time. We sat for maybe two days, went over emotions and shit like that. Other than that, I’m a big movie fanatic. I watch movies so much. I be knowing how to… alright let me be sad now. I can do it on the whim type shit.
What’s your favorite movie?
My favorite movie is Goodfellas and Casino. [Robert] DeNiro is my favorite actor. I love mafia, mob shit.
Best memory shooting as Meth?
Meth telling me that I did it, I sold his character. Whatever I was trying to do, I sold it. That was the best part of it.
I know Meth got his own weed too, Tical.
I don’t know if it’s better than East Co., but he got the Tical though. I’m just following in the footsteps of the greats and the people I idolized, try to do my own thing with it. It would’ve never even been possible without them guys laying the foundation.
You said you used to listen to Layzie Bone. How does it feel to have him pull up?
Crazy. Grew up on Fredro Starr, all of them. For them to pull up and come support my shit genuinely like that, I don’t really personally know them dudes, but I’ve been a fan of them all my life. That let me know I’m going in the right direction.
You got your family here, how’s fatherhood? How’s the newborn?
All that shit fire. It makes it dope. I got my own little squad now. Fatherhood is doper than all this shit: the weed, the music, all of it.
You’re a big touring artist. How much do you miss the stage?
Oh God, 100 percent. The feedback, the reaction, dropping new music. Making the music is different now. Usually when I make music, it’s to see the response. The crowd, whatever. You don’t get that now. You get an Instagram response, like, “That’s dope.” That doesn’t feel like somebody in the crowd rapping your shit word for word back to you. I miss that shit honestly.
What is your favorite song to perform?
Probably “Don Pablo,” that’s really one of the ones I do a capella. Everybody really knows that shit word for word. “Type Of Time,” there’s a few of them. But that one, they know that shit word for word anywhere I go. Overseas, California, down south, New York…
Last time we spoke on the #P2Tour. How have you evolved since that project?
Since then, I’ve been doing me and moving forward. Trying to keep it going one way, really expanding my brand. I got into a few different things since then to make people more acquainted with me. Just trying to keep that shit going. I lost a few people. I be wanting this shit to keep going as much as I can. You see, I got my kids. They’re my biggest fans. I get a lot of love in the streets, but they’re my biggest fans. I be doing it for them. I want them to grow up knowing that I’ve been doing my thing.
You lost your best friend Shooter. How is music a coping mechanism?
He died last May — May 5, 2020. That was my best friend since I was 13. It helps me vent. Once you get a certain age or you get to a certain point in life, it be hard to vent to people. You don’t know who you’re venting to, they might take that shit and use it against you. So, when I go in the booth and hear the beat, I don’t have to worry about who I’m telling it to because I’m telling it to everybody. I’m venting, that’s how music helps me.
Do you freestyle everything?
Nah, I went back to writing. I go back and forth. I came out writing, I didn’t write for maybe three years. This last album, I’ve been writing. I’m much more detailed and precise when I write.
What did it mean to get Mary J. Blige on the album then?
That was crazy. That’s another bucket list check off. It let me know the people I idolized and I grew up on, the music I was listening to, they fuck with me now. This ain’t in vain, I’m not doing this shit for no reason.
Who else is on that list?
I’ve literally worked with everybody I wanted to, with the exception of JAY-Z. Nas, The Lox, Diddy, Mary J. I went on tour with Lauryn Hill, Snoop, Timbaland, Wyclef, all these people I grew up on. To see them respect what I got going on, get behind what I got going on, wanting to make music with me, alright let me keep doing this shit. It’s a reason behind it now, I’m not doing this shit for no reason.
Yeah, all of them. If I collab with somebody, I’m either a fan of them or they’re a fan of me, or it’s both. I’m definitely excited to work with a lot of people. I just did some new shit with Tyga, first time working. I be fans of a lot of artists that I won’t outright be speaking about, but I’m a fan of them. I’ll be in my crib or in my car listening to these artists.
Who do you like right now?
There’s a lot of different dudes. I like the kid Pooh Shiesty. I like what Yo Gotti got going on right now, a lot of Southern artists and the whole thing.
What does it mean to be a Black man in America today?
Being a Black man is the dopest shit ever right now. We got a target on our back, but we also got the opportunity to go do whatever we want to go do. If you want to go make a billion dollars, you can go make a billion dollars. You want to start a clothing line, you can start a clothing line. You want to start a car company, we got the opportunity to do whatever it is we want to do.
Right now more than ever, we the shit. Even though a lot of bad shit happened — God bless the George Floyds and the Trayvon Martins, the people that died of senseless racism — but all of that even, the world’s starting to see… Whether it’s Black, brown, whatever, that shit’s starting to become the majority in government, in sports, in music, in clothing, in fashion. Everything you look at, the top people are somebody Black. Or somebody Spanish or somebody Asian, somebody of color. With them seeing that, it creates a threat that they ain’t really never seen before. It’s the dopest shit in the world right now, I just gotta keep my eyes open.
Anything else you want to let us know?
Shooter forever man. New album coming soon. East Co. out right now.