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

Sunflower Seeds: Comfort Zones

In this seed, I’m working on getting out of my comfort zone. But just for a second, let’s think about the Cheesecake Factory…

Every time I go to the Cheesecake Factory I always order the Godiva Cheesecake. Not that anyone cares as to what my order is, but this is a habit for me and I’m too scared to try something else that I might not like.

I find myself eager to try new things and see new places, but I also get very comfortable with what works. The whole idea of it ain’t broke, don’t fix it kind of sticks with me. However, I must say that I have been getting better at stepping out of my comfort zone especially in this the past year.

This past March when I went to New York, I didn’t know anyone that was a part of the group. People had familiar faces, but I didn’t really know these people on a personal level. I’m not going to lie at first, I was a little nervous since I ended up getting lost on the subway alone, but I was able to make some great friends from that trip. I saw a city I had never been to with fresh faces. 

I usually don’t make the first move with guys, but within the few times I have, I have been pretty successful. I haven’t had a Cinderella story from my reaching out, but I have had a few fun dates from these. Besides spontaneous trips and flirty moves, I have been saying yes to a lot more in life, and I find myself enjoying life even more. I have done things that I never thought I would do, and I couldn’t be happier! The next time I go get a desert, I might just branch out. 

Written by: Nina Capuani

Sunflower Seeds: New York, New York

New York, New York, I love you! I know that last time I was ranting about how I left Chicago to start a new life in San Diego, but I would move to the East Coast in a New York Minute.

I have never been to such a fast-paced city with so much passion and excitement. Now, before I go off tangent on how much I loved the New York, NY, the Big Apple, Times Square and all those other goodies, I would like to talk about my trip from the beginning.

Approximately 16 of us arrived at the JFK airport after an exhausting morning flight. Some of the fellow travelers had been to the city before, but I would be losing my New York virginity. By the time we got our luggage, we were eager to finally head to our hotel. Unsurprisingly, I somehow managed to lose all 15 other travelers and ended up wandering the subway for an hour. Mind you, I had never been there before, I had no cell phone service, and I wasn’t wearing my glasses/contacts so I was off to a teriffic start. After a few deep breaths, I figured out where I was going and fortunately met up with the rest of the group at our hotel.

I lived in an atrocious, filthy, and cockroach infested apartment this past summer (that is another seed to tell), but this seedy New York hotel was just as bad.

As soon as my three other roommates and I stepped onto our floor, we knew this was going to be awful. The outside of the room doors looked like coffins, so we knew we were entering death. There was mold covering the heater, and the bathroom looked like it was straight out of a horror movie.

One morning I showered so I could refresh after a long night out. I was relaxing and laying down on the bed when I saw something move out of the corner of my eye. I looked up, and what do I see, a RAT!!! This wasn’t a cute Ratatouille situation (even though the rat might have been looking for one); this was a very big problem in my eyes. Frantically, I called the front desk and they let us move up two floors to another room that wasn’t too spectacular either. The appliances didn’t seem to work in this one, but at least it was rat free to my knowledge. Out of my entire time of being in the city and on the subway, the only rat I saw just so happened to be in my room! Needless to say, not a lot of time was spent in that ratty hotel.

Later I ventured out to Central Park with one of my roommates to escape the the rat drama.

We were so shocked as to how elegant and captivating a piece of land in the middle of a major city could be. It had snowed the night before, so it looked like it would be in a Hallmark Movie scene. It was pretty cold, but I kind of missed the brisk air in a nostalgic way. Oddly enough, it was refreshing to be bundled up in three puffy jackets. In the park there is a John Lennon memorial. As an overall big Beatles fan, I was overjoyed to be there (I might have shed a tear or two).

I did a ton of exploring in the city and began to feel a bit like Carrie Bradshaw, but only now can I see why she would love the men there. They all seem driven, and honestly their were some of the most attractive men I’ve ever seen (I really dig a man in an Italian suit). The only thing I didn’t care for was the cost of everything. I might have spent a remarkable amount of money on drinks, and my bank account surely suffered, but I had the time of my life so who can really complain.

There are not enough words to explain how marvelous New York was. I loved it because of the liveliness and motivation the city seemed to breathe; overall, the atmosphere was very energetic and the people seemed to be incredibly hard working. Here, I don’t think anyone could ever be bored, for there is always something to see or somewhere to go. It was bright, it was loud, it was New York City. Like Frank Sinatra, I want to wake up in a city that never sleeps.

Written by: Nina Capuani

Neighborhood Jams: Brian Kapler

Happy Tuesday! I am eager to say that Neighborhood Jams is back this spring! So get ready for some San Diego bands, musicians, and some overall great jams!

On this week’s edition of Neighborhood Jams I am featuring up and coming musician Brian Kapler who was in the band Permanent Me from 2004-2008. Permanent Me came out with an EP  titled Dear Virginia EP, and ten years later Kapler is working on his own path.  One of his first big move is his newest single Falling Apart which you can hear HERE! Not only does Kapler sing beautiful lyrics, but he knows his way around the guitar tabs. He sounds like a combination of Vance Joy and Coldplay.  Falling Apart was released yesterday, March 21, on Kapler’s Bandcamp.  Also on Kapler’s Bandcamp you can check out his five-song album titled Black Lines which was released mid-February of 2016. You can check out those tunes here.

Falling Apart is personally one of my most favorite songs mainly because of the raw and emotional lyrics.  My favorite lines are, thankfully, in the repeating chorus and they go: “You got me falling (Falling Apart). And in the morning, You go and Break My heart.” Kapler got me falling apart, and this new single is perfect in every way. Another single that I really appreciated was Until You Love Me which again gives me the feels and is like a window into Kapler’s heart and soul.

 

Brian Kapler is located in Brooklyn, New York. He will be performing at The Bowery Electric on March 31st and at Pianos on April 15. This is just the start, but I have a good feeling that Kapler will be able to tour all the way out to San Diego one day. Let KCR know when you’re in town! And lets all give him a follow on Facebook, too!