A staple in modern New York hip-hop is Dave East. The Harlem native has been consistent since his breakout in 2016. On Friday, East returned to the game with Karma 3, his third installment of the Karma mixtape collection that dates back to 2017.
This project comes just 9 months after his debut album, Survival was released, which debuted at number 11 on the US Billboard 200 chart. Within this last year, Dave East started his acting career.
He starred as Method Man in the Hulu exclusive, Wu-Tang: An American Saga. Despite all the work and time it takes to be a lead role in a successful show, the 32-year old has managed to stay consistent in the studio and give us high quality music.
This mixtape didn’t have any type of rollout, just visuals for tracks, “Handsome”, “Believe it or Not”, and Menace. The music videos were all released within the last three months.
The tracks weren’t released on streaming platforms at the time. Before the track list was released two days prior to the drop of the project, if you didn’t follow along with the optics, you probably didn’t know there was a Dave East project on the way. Regardless of the lack of promotion leading up to the release, the music speaks for itself.
Karma 3 is 15-tracks long & a little less than an hour to listen all the way through. East sets the tone with the braggadocious track, “Handsome” which is produced by Little Island and Mike & Keys. It’s followed up by a collaboration none of us would really expect, and that’s with dancehall icon, Popcaan.
The track is titled “Unruly”, and with the OVO-signee on the chorus the two artists together resulted in a stand out track. On “The City” with Trey Songz on the hook, producer Dougie orchestrated his take on the same Bobby Bland sample JAY-Z used on his classic, ‘Heart Of The City (Ain’t No Love)’. This was a special three track run to start off this project.
Dave East pays homage to Memphis hip-hop on “F**k Dat”. The track is produced by Three 6 Mafia founding member, DJ Paul. It features the king of the city, Young Dolph. Los Angeles standout, Bino Rideaux is featured on the heartfelt track “Blue Story”, which marks the second collaboration between Rideaux & East.
The collaboration I personally was waiting for was with Benny The Butcher. The two New York MCs have really been heads of their state over the past couple of years lyrically. On the S.Dot produced “Stone Killer ”, the pair did not disappoint as both rappers go back and forth with hard hitting bars. The outro track, “Believe it or Not” is a track that is perfect for a late night ride in the whip. It was the exclamation point on a superb project.
This is the best installment from the Karma series, and it’s not even close. There was definitely no signs of a sophomore slump, and he put together a mixtape that is better than his debut album. When the title “King of New York” is talked about, Dave East should be in that conversation. Karma 3 is out now on all streaming platforms.
Score : 7.9