Watch Dave East Prove Exactly Why Nas Signed Him

The Harlem rapper just dropped his Hate Me Now mixtape.

For Harlem native Dave East, all signs in his early years pointed towards a career in the NBA, and although that didn't work out, his future's still looking pretty bright. East caught Nas' ear when he dropped his Black Rose mixtape last year, and eventually signed a deal with Mass Appeal Records. In early October, he came back strong with Hate Me Now, and things are just getting started for him.

Don't Sleep On Dave East.

I Started Taking Rap Seriously When...

My father brought a basketball to the hospital when I was born, and he already had it embedded in his head that I would be a ball player. But I decided to take rap dead serious once I got locked up and the basketball dream wasn't really looking [good anymore]. I always wanted to do something I knew I could love to wake up and do every day, and rap was just second nature to me, growing up in Harlem. I never really had to try.

How I Got The Momentum Going...

I was recording in the projects, in Queensbridge -- next to the radiator, leg hot -- and it went from that to me putting music online and then the streets started to talk. Different DJs, like Kay Slay, started to get in tune with it, and once I recorded the Black Rose mixtape, Nas reached out. I knew his brother Jungle, me and him have our own relationship.

The first conversation I had with Nas, he just saluted [the movement]. He said 'I love what you're doing, I [haven't] heard nothing like this in awhile, keep killing it.' Just to be able to save his number, that was crazy. And since that moment, whenever he's in the city we link, and he took on a big brother [role]. It's not just about rap.

What Matters Most In My Music...

What matters with the music I make is the feeling. I want to put out music that everyday people can relate to. The club is only a few hours, a few nights a week -- there's a lot more life outside of the club. I want to make music people could wake up to, live [with through] day-to-day trials and tribulations. Music for the average person, the average dude that's got his 9 to 5, or the single mom, the people that I see every day. The people who really make the world go around.

Where I See Myself In Five Years...

Five years ago I was in jail, and five years from now I see an Oscar, I see Grammys, all of that. Those are things I wanna do. I wanna be in a movie, I wanna have a clothing line, I wanna put myself in a position where, when I'm dead and gone, or I can't rap anymore, that's still moving. Tupac and Biggie, they've been dead 10-plus years and people talk about them everyday. I'm gonna try to speak everything into existence. I know the music is my key to get there.