Nas is about to hit us with some new music pretty soon, but in addition to his solo work, the Queens native is also building up his Mass Appeal label. After signing Fashawn, Boldy James and Bishop Nehru earlier this year, it looks like Harlem rapper, Dave East, is up next.
Nas made a very brief mention of his new signee during a visit to Angie Martinez's Power 105.1 show on Wednesday, only saying, "that's a real new one, I can't really talk about that one yet." Fair enough. We know it's real though, since East's Twitter timeline is flooded with congratulations on his new deal.
So, who is Dave East anyway? Get acquainted:
He dropped a breakthrough mixtape this summer
In late July, East dropped his Black Rose mixtape. Although it wasn't his first tape, it was his biggest breakthrough yet. The 15-track project included features from RicoBeats, Sean C & LV plus a few limited features that include Smoke DZA and CharlieRED. Stream the project below.
Dave East is a native of East Harlem, and his breakthrough tape Black Rose is filled with tales about his upbringing there. “Black Rose -- I feel like there’s a cloud over the East side [and] just the ghettos in general," he told Revolt. "I feel like I’m a rose trying to get up out of that.” He's already named artists like Ma$e and Jay Z as some of his earliest influences, and he definitely plans to spotlight his city moving forward.
He's got a couple videos in rotation
While he was ramping up for the release of his Black Rose mixtape, East dropped off a couple videos. Check out "Broke" and "Still" below, both of which were shot around the NYC area. "Still" was intended to be a single from his mixtape, but it was eventually cut from the project. If you want more, also check out "Never Had Sh--."
He's not afraid to go off the top
The Harlem rapper made a visit to Shade 45's "Sway in the Morning" in August, where Sean C & LV threw a few original beats at him in the studio and let him take Sway's freestyle challenge in a few rounds.
He's been linking up with the legends
Although East is relatively new on the scene, a cosign from Nas, and a solid project are already paying dividends for him. He's already rubbing shoulders with legends like DJ Premier, and when his Black Rose tape dropped, both DJ Khaled and Wyclef Jean promoted the project from their Twitter accounts.
He wanted to be a baller
He's a pretty tall guy -- 6' 5'' -- and initially thought he had a future in sports, even landing scholarships for his basketball skills. When that didn't work out , he shared some of his earliest music with DJ ill Will back in 2010, and began taking music seriously from that point on.