Peep This Joint: Dave East – Survival Album Review

The buzz around Harlem rapper Dave East is larger than ever with the release of his debut album, Survival executively produced by the legend Nas himself. 

The album recently dropped on November 8th and features a star-studded cast of guest appearances such as Nas, Rick Ross, Teyana Taylor and Ty Dolla Sign. With a total of 20 songs that run for a little over an hour, it’s clear to see that East came prepared to tell his story to the masses.

He holds respect in the rap game as he has released numerous mixtapes and is adept at collaborating with both veteran guests such as Nas and Cam’ron as well as younger emcees like Gunna and A-Boogie. Over time he refined his signature gritty New York sound and it reflects with how polished Survival sounds. Since the release of his first mixtape in 2010, his debut album clearly portrays a seasoned rapper comfortable in his element as he gives listeners a glimpse into different parts of his life. 

A standout track from the album is the song, “On My Way 2 School” where he invites listeners to be in his shoes as he retells harsh experiences walking to school. East vividly paints how violent and dangerous the journey was just to go to school in a rough neighborhood: 

“On my way to school (On my way) / 

Nike’s and Adidas on my way to school (Either or) / 

You ever seen a homicide on your way to school? (Boom!) / 

You never seen your homie Mama cry on your way to school (Never).” 

Another standout song is “Mama I Made It” which is a love letter to the woman who raised him. The track exudes a classic ‘90s feel as East boasts his admiration for his mother. Reminiscing on the past when his mom slapped him when he “used to try to cuss” to brighter days today where “she aint never gotta worry ’bout no rent,” it’s clear to see the love. Having a song dedicated to your mother on an album is always a respectable and welcomed move and Dave East clearly outdid himself on this one.

The Harlem rapper revealed in an interview with legendary west coast radio host Big Boy that he listened to all of his favorite rappers’ first albums to prepare his mindset for his own.

“I went and played 50’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’. Snoop’s Doggystyle, Nas and Illmatic,” East said. “I played everybody’s first album just to see what their energy was at. Like ‘What time was you on when you knew this was your debut to the world?’.”

Overall the decision proved to be a wise move as his debut album is a shining example of his lyrical gift and vivid storytelling. This album is definitely one of the most solid albums released so far this year and is a must-listen. 

Go peep this joint right now!

Rating: 9/10

Written by: Johann Oribello

21 Questions: Angela Juat Campos

womxn smiling

Inspired by Humans of New York, this is 21 Questions; a fun way of getting to know the students, faculty, and staff of SDSU. This week is Angela Campos.

“My name is Angela Juat Campos and I was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, but I grew up in Patterson, California as known as the central valley (or the butt crack of California, however you prefer).”

How do you feel about the question, “Tell us about yourself?”

“It depends on the context and who is asking. It used to be more of a daunting question, for example, if you asked me this about 4 or 5 months ago, I would have stumbled and been more unsure. Now I feel more confident in answering. Mainly because it is something that I have been practicing in my head and in real life. I want to be seen as someone that is confident enough to know who they are. While sometimes it can be a daunting question it can be empowering—and that’s on period.”

So, tell me about yourself?

“I am a first-generation, American college student and a fourth year at San Diego State University. I am a queer, Filipinx artist, radio personality for KCR college radio, and Creative Director at Egalitarian Magazine. Currently, studying Communication and Art with the aspirations of becoming an educator or working in media or for a company that has morals that I can support. I want to help others realize their own potential in any setting. I want to be someone that can encourage others to be authentically themselves despite people that may want to tear them down or tell them that something is not the standard or norm.

Some people think that I am out of pocket. People tend to react to me in a way that I find humorous and they find me humorous as well. Mostly because I am different and react to things so genuinely it is hard to hide how I am feeling. So, people can see what I am thinking or how I am feeling just from my facial expressions. As much as I hate to admit it, I would say I am a people person, and people make me happy. I want people to know that I am honest, open-minded, and I love hearing people’s opinions and stories. Also, doing my best to learn from other people and my own experiences. I love listening to people… and… I am a clinical Pisces!”

What is something that people usually get wrong about you?

“Damn… I feel like people think I am oblivious to things. When in reality, I am quietly observant. I am very attentive, sometimes too attentive, to the point where it may bother or distract me.”

What brought you to San Diego? 

“Hot ladies’… cool weather… just kidding, but I wanted a change of pace, change of environment, and the possibility of meeting a wide array of people, like-minded or not.”

Are you family-oriented?

“Damn, I don’t know… I want to say yes, but a lot of my opinions and views stray away from my family’s traditional, normalized ideas, but I do think about them a lot. I owe it to them for helping me get to where I am today, and I do appreciate them to an unfathomable degree.”

Do you believe that struggles make you stronger?

“Yes, every struggle that I have overcome has made me a stronger person and from those experiences, I have been able to learn from myself and help others based on what I have gone through—period.”

Do you have an idea of where you will be at the end of this year? 

“I will be feeling more accomplished and more mature.”

Who are you listening to right now?

“Erykah Badu, Alicia Keys (older), Alton Ellis (classic reggae), Yellow Magic Orchestra. Also, some of my favorite concerts have been Vampire Weekend at Cal Coast Open Air Theater and Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals at Golden Gate Park, Outside Lands 2019.”

Do you like who you are now?

“Yes, I love that bitch. I hate her but I LOVE her.”

Do you have anyone to thank for where you are now?

“Yes, multiple people. Both of my parents, my cousins Erin and Lynn, my godmother Adele, and a big one to the friends that have stayed with me to this day—period.”

If you could tell your younger self something what would it be?

“Stop worrying about things that don’t matter, because nothing matters—period.”
– Angela Campos, pronouns: She/Her/Her’s
  • You can listen to Angela’s radio show Angela vs. the World Wide Web on KCR Wednesday mornings at 10am!
  • If you want to keep up with Angela via social media, you can follow her @acjuat and @digitaldater on Instagram.
Written by: Jasmine Alexander
Photo by: Jasmine Alexander

Recent Music Releases and Must-Hears

Looking for new music? Check these out!

This year has been an absolute hit for new music. There have been a lot of new releases within the past couple of weeks and I wanted to highlight some of my favorites. For anyone looking for some new music, I hope you enjoy these!

Tame Impala – “It Might Be Time

I absolutely loved this song and I can’t wait for the rest of the album to come out on February 14, 2020. Tame Impala is coming to San Diego’s Pechanga Arena on March 9.

Arise Roots, Slightly Stoopid, Eric Rachman – “Come and Get It

This one is art. Reggae is good for the soul. 

Frank Ocean – “DHL” and “In My Room

I love these. I’m so excited that Frank is finally releasing new music after his recent album “Blonde.”

Logic – “OCD” (ft. Dwn2earth)

This one is definitely a vibe. I haven’t listened to Logic in a while, but after hearing this one, I have to check out more of his new music.

Tennis – “Runner

This is such a pretty song. Her voice is beautiful. I’ve never h

Louis The Child – “Free” (with Drew Love)

I will always love Louis The Child and their sparkly sound forever.

Coldplay – “Everyday Life,” “Orphans,” “Arabesque

These definitely hit the feels. Coldplay’s music is always so beautiful and needs to be extra appreciated.

Omar Apollo, Dominic Fike, Kenny Beats – “Hit Me Up

Definitely liked the song and its vibe. Omar Apollo has some good music and I love his voice.

Selena Gomez – “Look At Her Now

This release was a huge one for Selena. It is very emotional and vulnerable, and I believe it’s about her ex Justin Bieber. I was a huge Belieber in middle school so this one still hits my heart. I wanted them to be together so bad.

Labrinth – “Like A Movie

I definitely have been listening to more Labrinth lately. Love his style. Go check him out!

These were my favorite song discoveries from the past couple of weeks. I hope everyone enjoyed and saved some of these songs to their music library!

Written by: Alexandra Gex

Peep This Joint: Saba – Care for Me Album Review

Filled with an overwhelming sense of grief and emptiness, Chicago rapper Saba unveils the candid experience of losing a best friend over a senseless murder in his sophomore effort, Care for Me.

The album released last year on April 5 and highlights Saba’s emotions over the death of his cousin, Walter Long Jr.

In a time where mental health awareness is higher than it’s ever been historically, Care for Me provides a refreshing and therapeutic musical experience for those who’ve been through similar grief. 

The project begins with Saba singing, “I’m so alone” on the two-part track “BUSY/SIRENS” featuring R&B singer, theMIND. Lamenting over the loneliness of losing his right-hand man, the rawness of the track is palpable as Saba raps, “Jesus got killed for our sins, Walter got killed for a coat / I’m tryna cope, but it’s a part of me gone / In this packed room I’m alone.” 

Saba’s personal grief intimately captures and processes the darker side of mental health issues that individuals worldwide experience and can relate to. Tracks such as “BROKEN GIRLS,” “GREY,” and “LOGOUT” featuring Chance the Rapper explore notions of heartbreak, loneliness, and insecurities over social media.

Tracklist cover from: Genius

Despite these overarching somber themes, Saba skillfully structures and balances the tracklist with moments of light-hearted nostalgia. One track that exemplifies this is the track “SMILE” which recounts Saba’s childhood experience living with his grandmother. In it he expresses his desire to escape the confines of Chicago that remind him of his gloomier days, “All that I am is my family these days / Moment of madness I can’t seem to evade,” and “Our parents’ parents are from the South / And if I make a million dollars / I’ll vacation in the South.” Songs such as these help even out bleak nature of the album.

The most compelling record overall though is the penultimate track, “PROM/KING” which runs a lengthy seven-and-a-half minutes long. Despite the long runtime, the album reaches a climax with Saba at his most intimate and rawest form as he goes from recounting the details of his prom night where he first met Walter to describing his last interactions with him before receiving the news of his untimely death. 

Saba opens up the first part of the song harkening back to his earlier days as a young high school student rapping, “This remind me of before we had insomnia / Sleepin’ peacefully, never needed a pile of drugs.” Over piano keys and minimal drums, Saba flows effortlessly as he gives listeners the rundown on what happened during prom night. The production then switches as Saba turns the subject matter towards reminiscing on Walter’s final days. In the final bars of the song, Saba paints a vivid picture that reveals how he found out the news of his cousin’s death:

“Ten minutes into the session, I got a call from a number/ 

That I don’t got saved, but I answer anyways/

She says, ‘Hello, Malik, have you or Squeak/ 

Talked to my son today? He was just on the train’/

We got in the car but we didn’t know where to drive to

Fuck it, wherever you are my n–a, we’ll come and find you…”

As Saba spits the final verse, the drums on the beat speed up in an anxiety-inducing pace to convey the same anxiety Saba felt in his chest as Walter’s mother reveals to him that Walter is missing. 

Picture taken from: Genius

Overall, I consider this album to be a perfect 10/10 in my books. Through this album, Saba was able to put words into the same feelings and emotions of depression and anxiety that I’ve been struggling to deal with. In doing so, the Chicago rapper was able to produce a body of work that resonates not only with me, but countless other individuals going through times of grief and depression. If you’ve asked what my top rap album of 2018 was, Care for Me takes the spot.

For the love of hip-hop, please peep this joint if you haven’t already!

Rating: 10/10

Written by: Johann Oribello